*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
This game was 13-10 SF at the half, with the 49ers outplaying the Lions but San Fran still looking sluggish too often in the red zone, again. The next thing you knew it was 30-13 for the 49ers with 10 minutes remaining...the game seemed very much in-hand.
Because the 49ers aren’t very good on defense, the Lions mounted an all-pass comeback and with 3+ minutes remaining it was just 30-27 Niners. With two minutes left on a 3rd & 2, the 49ers decide to throw the ball and JG was pick-sixed and the Lions comeback looked complete but a flag on the play for a defensive penalty saved the 49ers arse…and San Francisco held on to win it 30-27. A game the 49ers pretty well controlled, but they almost lost it.
The Lions are a sloppy, bad football team.
The 49ers are a sloppy, not-as-great as advertised team, but showing occasional flashes of being a playoff contender. If San Francisco is to be taken seriously, games like this cannot happen – they were the better team, and playing at their home, and let a bad team in the backdoor late and got lucky to hold them off in the end. The 49ers just do not seem ‘ready’ yet.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- What’s wrong with Jimmy Garoppolo (18-26 for 206 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT)?
I feel like if your FFM-fave QB isn’t throwing for 6 TDs in a game, we now deem them ‘a problem’; they are ‘killing you’…if only you had drafted sweet Ryan Fitzpatrick…
From the live watch, I saw some of the Week 1 problem here in Week 2 – Garoppolo pressured in the pocket, holding the ball (what looked like) ‘too long’ and either getting sacked or making a duress throw to no avail.
When I watched the ‘all-22’ view of a lot of the 49ers’ passing plays, I see the problem I see with a lot of teams right now…’five wide’, and then five receivers running basic timing routes and completely engulfed by the DBs on a five-step QB drop. The receivers all run their routes and stop at the appointed area standing next to their coverage. The QB scans 1-2-3 of the options and freezes…literally nowhere to throw the ball and nowhere to run. They either eat a sack or throw it away…or, worse, force a throw to what they hope is a mismatch and their guy makes a play.
I’m watching this ‘all-22’ view and wondering…why is it again that people think Kyle Shanahan is a genius? The best play the 49ers have is JG with a deep/seven step drop and let him read all this and make throws. When it’s a short drop, ‘timing’ robotic play…guys are covered (I saw this with Trubisky on MNF). Either bad receivers or boring/easy to cover routes. Give the QB some time and options, and he’ll do something with it. The quick timing pass looks very stiff and usually open.
I was worried about Garoppolo going into this tape watch, I leave with no concerns at all…just concerns that the big upside is limited on this offense. I was hoping full a radical, high-flying affair…but in this game the 49ers got up on the Lions and then slowed everything down. 26 passes for Garoppolo is kinda unusually low. It’s the lowest of his career in a full game played…and he still hit 2 TD passes, and had the potential for 3-4.
-- Things might change when Marquise Goodwin returns, likely this week. It can’t hurt, but it may be what’s holding this passing game back a click. Marquise is Jimmy’s guy, so get ready for a Brandin Cooks-type event…6-8 catches, 100+ yards, an no TDs.
The status of the other 49ers’ receivers…
Pierre Garcon (4-57-0/4) appears somewhat shot. He has not picked up any slack at all with Goodwin out. At minimum, there is no great pass game relationship here.
Dante Pettis (1-35-0/2) caught the very first pass of the game, and then no more. He’s obviously not ready for this yet. He will be someday, not today.
Trent Taylor (0-0-0/2) is dead. They are not using him anything like a Welker-Edelman-Beasley type weapon on purpose. Until I see signs of it, I’m not messing around waiting for it…and it probably never happens.
George Kittle (2-22-0/4) IS the guy, after Goodwin. When Marquise returns – it will help Kittle. Kittle not Garcon is JG’s second favorite option. Kittle has the 2 catch line, but he also had two other possible catches taken by defender P.I.’s because he’s a mismatch…one was a potential medium-range TD pass. Kittle is more a top 5 fantasy TE threat than not.
-- Kerryon Johnson (8-43-0, 5-23-0/6) started this game, but was rotated out quickly with the other guys. He’s clearly the Lions best weapon in the backfield. He’s got a bounce to his step but he’s a terrible craftsman at this. People see the bounce or the burst at times and they fall in love with that…they miss all the nuances.
One run in this game encompasses everything I see with Kerryon…handoff going right off-tackle. The line is congested. If KJ kicks out to the right -- there is no one there and he might have a 50+ yard score, but stuff like that is rarely going to happen with him because Johnson runs with his head down (no vision) and goes straight to the play call. In this case, he put his head down, crashed into the line, turned his back and eventually fell over when the pile fell over. Real star RBs would have kicked that to the outside with grace and then taken off for a big gain. Johnson is only as good as the hole that’s created for him.
-- The Lions started the game in a two-WR set for a few plays. The two WRs: Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay (6-89-1/9). Golladay is the clear #2 WR option, now, and I’d argue he might be the secret #1…when Stafford gets in trouble, Golladay is a big target to throw to…and KG is making plays.
I think Golladay is a clear WR2 this season, possible WR 1.5 because Detroit will be down a lot and throwing a lot this season.
Despite not starting, technically, Golden Tate (7-109-0/13) is still #1 target for Stafford
-- Matt Breida (11-138-1, 3-21-0/4) will be the ‘man of the hour’ after this performance. Remember, two things here…
1) Breida is not a real RB. He will not be a lead RB because he’s a worse Kerryon Johnson…not an instinctual runner, just a guy running fast through space. No space, no production. Breida got two sweet holes in this game racked up 89 of his yards on two carries.
2) The Lions currently have the worst run defense in the NFL, with distance from #31. Of course, there were holes for Breida.
If I had Breida, I’m selling high this week. He works for now in a crisis need situation.
-- TE Michael Roberts (1-15-1/1) had a sweet TD in this game. Blasted off the line, was uncovered going to the end zone. Stafford tossed up in the air so that Roberts had to go up for it and thus keep the safety away from making a play. Roberts flew into the sky and made the great grab. He may have earned more playing time with that moment…showing play-making ability the other Lions’ TEs are not.
-- Lions LB Devon Kennard (4 tackles, 2 sacks) may not be great playing the run but he now has 3.0 sacks on the season.
-- DeForest Buckner (5 tackles, 1.0 sacks) now has 3.5 sacks this season, as he continues his ascent to the top of the DL IDP rankings.
Snap Counts of Interest:
56 = Pettis
50 = Kittle
49 = Garcon
16 = Taylor
10 = Bourne
31 = Alf Morris
25 = Breida
77 = Marvin Jones
71 = Golladay
65 = Tate
40 = Willson
22 = Toilolo
07 = M Roberts