3 Takeaways from 49ers' Week 2 Win

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2021

3 Takeaways from 49ers' Week 2 Win

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    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    For the second straight week, the San Francisco 49ers failed to shine for full four quarters. For the second consecutive week, though, the team walked away with a victory.

    While the 49ers allowed the Detroit Lions back into the game late in Week 1, it was a slow start that plagued them on Sunday. San Francisco's first four drives resulted in punts, and the 49ers took a 7-3 lead into halftime.

    However, the Niners were stout enough on defense to overcome that slow start, and a 10-point fourth quarter was enough to put away the Philadelphia Eagles. San Francisco now owns a share of the NFC West lead.

    Here's what we learned during the 49ers' 17-11 win over the Eagles in Week 2.

The Defense Is Back in Playoff Form

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    Injuries derailed the 49ers' 2020 campaign, and they've already started to take a toll in 2021. Starting cornerback Jason Verrett is out for the year with a torn ACL, forcing the 49ers to play Josh Norman, who was signed just before Week 1.

    Still, DeMeco Ryans' unit showed against the Eagles that it is ready to take San Francisco to the postseason. The defense did surrender a 91-yard pass from Jalen Hurts to Quez Watkins. However, the unit stood firm when it mattered most.

    Though the Eagles outgained the 49ers on offense with 328 yards as opposed to 306, Philadelphia didn't find the end zone until the game was already in hand. While the defense didn't shut down Hurts, it also didn't allow him to take over the game—as he did against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1.

    Players like pass-rusher Nick Bosa, who missed the bulk of 2020, are already rounding into form.

    "I thought I rushed better," Bosa told reporters after the game. "I think every week will get better."

    Bosa finished with two sacks and five quarterback pressures. He and the 49ers defense are capable of carrying San Francisco into the postseason.

Trey Lance Is Not Going to Make Weekly Appearances

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    We saw a bit of rookie quarterback Trey Lance in Week 1. He didn't make an appearance on Sunday. While Lance did suffer a finger injury in Week 1, it wouldn't have been a shock to see him on the field after the offense's early stumbles.

    According to longtime 49ers standout and NBC Sports Bay Area 49ers analyst Joe Staley, though, there was never a good opportunity to insert the rookie.

    "It was a game where there really wasn't an opportunity for him to come in," Staley said on 49ers Postgame Live. "Once they operated and started moving the chains, Jimmy [Garoppolo] was operating very effectively in the offense. It's a completely different dynamic, especially playing on the road in a hostile environment to bring Trey in and have the mesh points."

    The reality is that the 49ers are in no hurry to start the Lance era. They're going to play him often enough to force opponents to prepare for both quarterbacks, but we're not going to see San Francisco platooning its quarterbacks every single week.

    This is still Jimmy G's team, and barring injury, it may be his team for the remainder of the season.

Injuries Could Again Be a Significant Issue

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    While a 2-0 start will help the 49ers' playoff chances, the injury bug is already snacking on San Francisco. The 49ers lost Verrett and starting running back Raheem Mostert in Week 1. Three running backs—Trey Sermon, JaMycal Hasty and Elijah Mitchell—exited Sunday's game.

    Sermon and Hasty did not return. While Mitchell did get back in the game, the 49ers are not taking his healthy for granted.

    "He said he was good enough to come back in, so that's when you think it's a stinger, but until you have time to go and get an MRI and stuff like that, you never know," coach Kyle Shanahan said, per ESPN's Nick Wagoner.

    Fans will once again have to follow the injury report throughout the season. The NFL is a league of attrition, and that will be especially true with the new 18-week format. San Francisco should feel good about its 2-0 start, but it has to be concerned with how quickly the injuries are again mounting.

       

    Advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference.

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