As the final whistle blew in MetLife Stadium on Sunday, the 49ers walked off victorious against the Jets in a 31-13 rout. However, it was those Niners who hobbled off (or were carted off) the field, that made Sunday a loss for the Red & Gold.
Bosa A Big Loss For The Niners
The Niners looked to make amends for their Week One defeat right away as speedster Raheem Mostert torched the Jets defense for an 80-yard touchdown run. Mostert hit a lightning-fast top speed of 23.1 mph on the score.
The celebrations would soon be cut short, though, as 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a high ankle sprain on a Quinnen Williams sack. Then, shortly after, the 49ers best defensive player, Nick Bosa, tore his ACL – ending his season. To make matters worse, former third overall pick, Solomon Thomas, badly injured his knee and is expected to be done for the season as well. As if i wasn’t enough already, the final kick in the gut was added. Raheem Mostert damaged his knee and is expected to miss some time.
When it rains it pours and it was a tsunami on Sunday for the 49ers.
Is this dose of the injury bug only affecting the Niners or is it endemic of a wider problem around the NFL? Well, around the league on Sunday; Saquon Barkley tore his ACL, Drew Lock injured his shoulder, Malik Hooker tore his achilles and Davante Adams strained his hamstring, just to name a few.
It’s clear then that Week Two was one of the most brutal Sundays in modern NFL history. This injury bug was to be expected with the lack of preseason preparation. Yet, it’s not the NFL’s fault that a global pandemic struck.
According to multiple Bay Area reporters, fear over the poor field turf at MetLife Stadium was rife throughout the 49ers locker room before and after the game. Defensive end Arik Armstead had this to say:
Fellow 49ers defensive lineman, D.J. Jones, echoed Armstead’s statement, tweeting:
Furthermore, 49ers head coach, Kyle Shanahan, told reporters ‘Unfortunately, this [MetLife Stadium] is a place we have to go back to next week’.
To sum up, the current injury list for the Niners reads like so:
- George Kittle: knee sprain.
- Richard Sherman: calf injury (IR).
- Deebo Samuel: Jones fracture (IR).
- Nick Bosa: ACL tear.
- Solomon Thomas: suspected ACL tear.
- Raheem Mostert: minor MCL ailment.
- Jimmy Garoppolo: high ankle sprain.
- Richie James Jr.: hamstring (IR).
Has a contending team ever sustained this many injuries by Week Two? Probably not.
Comeback Players Impress
Injuries aside, it was an easy victory for the 49ers. By the fourth quarter, San Fransisco had the entire ‘B team’ out there. 49ers quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, silenced his critics by delivering a gutsy first-half performance on one ankle. Garoppolo completed 14/16 passes for 131 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first-half before being replaced by Nick Mullens at the break.
Nick Mullens did enough to help the Niners coast to victory, although there is a marked step-down in quality at the position when Mullens is behind center over Garoppolo.
Jerick McKinnon and Jordan Reed both contributed to the highlight reel as McKinnon ran for 55 yards, converting a 3rd & 31 in the process. Reed looked like his former self as well, acting as a lethal scoring option in the red zone for Garoppolo, scoring two touchdowns in George Kittle’s absence.
On the defensive side, Fred Warner had another stand out performance in his quest to become the best mike linebacker in the NFL, stopping the Jets early on a 4th & 1. Defensive lineman Kerry Hyder continues to impress as well, the former Cowboy registered 8 tackles and 2 QB hits on Sunday.
Little Solace In Victory
‘The 49ers had one of the most solemn blowout victories in the history of the NFL on Sunday,’ wrote The Athletic’s Matt Barrows. The mood at the final whistle was that of a bloody battle. The 49ers had won the skirmish, but at what cost?
From this point on, the 2020 season will be an uphill climb for the snakebite 49ers. With one the games premier pass rushers out for the season, defensive coordinator Rob Saleh now shoulders a great deal of responsibility in getting this 49ers defense right. There are talented players at linebacker and defensive back, however, Saleh must prove that this team is built on scheme, not just talent.
A silver lining for the Niners? Their next three games come against the 0-2 Giants, 0-2 Eagles and 0-2 Dolphins. If the team in Red & Gold are to stand a chance in the ruthless NFC West, then they have to run the immediate table – injured stricken or not.
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