3 Takeaways from 49ers' Week 5 Win vs. Panthers
The San Francisco 49ers turned in their most complete performance of the 2022 NFL season in their 37-15 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
The 49ers jumped on the Panthers from the opening drive and did not allow Baker Mayfield and Christian McCaffrey to make much of an impact on the contest.
Kyle Shanahan's offense did exactly what we expect it to. The ground game put up over 150 yards for the third time this season and it had an old friend to thank for part of that production. Tevin Coleman had 67 total yards and scored the opening touchdown.
Jimmy Garoppolo did not have eye-popping passing numbers, but there was one aspect of the aerial attack that was developed more and could be important in tighter games.
Sunday's win combined with the losses elsewhere in the NFC West placed the 49ers on top of the division with a 3-2 record heading into a Week 6 clash with the Atlanta Falcons.
49ers Defense Did Exactly What Was Expected of It
The 49ers defense punished a weaker offense on Sunday.
That was exactly the performance the 49ers were hoping for to have as close to a stress-free day as possible inside Bank of America Stadium.
San Francisco sacked Baker Mayfield on four occasions, produced a pick-six through Emmanuel Moseley to start the second half and contained Christian McCaffrey to 54 rushing yards.
The 49ers got production from all around their defense against Carolina's quarterbacks. P.J. Walker was sacked twice after Mayfield left the game with an injury.
Seven different players played roles in the six sacks and the cornerback duo of Moseley and Charvarius Ward combined for six passes defended.
Moseley's pick six late in the second half allowed the 49ers to open up a 14-point advantage at halftime. That proved to be an important score since Carolina answered right out of the half.
The offense answered Carolina's only touchdown right away and then the defense did not break for the rest of the half.
San Francisco's unit held firm despite an early second-half concession and it allowed the offense to cruise through the fourth quarter.
The 49ers have held all five of their opponents under 20 points and four of those foes failed to hit the 100-yard mark on the ground. The one triple-digit ground concession was a 101-yard outing from the Denver Broncos in Week 3.
If the 49ers defense continues to be this effective and the offense comes together more, they could be the favorite to win the NFC West.
Tevin Coleman Provided Depth on Offense
San Francisco's coaching staff dialed up an old friend in Tevin Coleman a few weeks ago to help with the injury crisis at running back.
Elijah Mitchell went down in Week 1 and Tyrion Davis-Price's injury affected the depth behind Jeff Wilson Jr.
Coleman provided some solid depth from the running back spot with 67 total yards and two touchdowns.
Coleman gave Wilson a rest on the opening drive after the starter broke loose for a 41-yard run. Coleman finished up the series with his first touchdown back in the 49ers offense, a nine-yard pass from Jimmy Garoppolo.
He finished off the victory with a five-yard touchdown run on a short series that followed a stop by the defense on the Carolina 10.
Wilson is still the featured back in the offense, but Coleman's presence is important so that the ground-heavy attack does not skip a beat when Wilson is off the field.
George Kittle Continues to Find Rhythm in Passing Game
San Francisco's offense can be even more threatening in the coming weeks if George Kittle's production continues to increase.
Kittle caught five of his six targets for 47 receiving yards on Sunday. All of those totals were season highs for the 49ers tight end.
Kittle had 28 and 24 receiving yards in Weeks 3 and 4, which were his first two contests of the 2022 season.
The team's top tight end was involved in the ground game with his blocking, but he had not made a significant impact through the air yet.
A 47-yard game is still low by Kittle's standards, but it is a step in the right direction for the effectiveness of the 49ers offense.
Garoppolo will have Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk to work with in the air and two effective running backs behind him.
At its best, the San Francisco offense could rival some of the better units in the league, and it performs at a 25-30-point level all season, the NFC West and a high seed in the NFC postseason are more than possible.