Sunday’s game was as ugly as a Mike Singletary game plan.
In fact, that’s exactly what it was. Kudos to Kyle Shanahan for eschewing his ego and going with the smash-mouth approach. The 49ers had a superior team and let the full game prove it. Turnovers were all that could cause them to lose and they did not make any.
The first half looked a little dicey for this approach, but in retrospect, perhaps it was more of a rope-a-dope effort, absorbing all the Eagles had and turning them away with a mere three points at the half, thanks to a blocked field goal and a four down stuff on first and goal from the one. The second half was all Niners, grinding their way to a 17-3 lead late in the fourth quarter and completely shutting down the Eagles.
The team may finally have found a way to convert those pesky third-and-one situations that have been an ongoing embarrassment. Three times Sunday, Jimmy Garoppolo ran a QB sneak to convert two critical third and short plays as well as punching in the second TD. Not sure if this is a hidden Garoppolo skillset, or something center Alex Mack brought with him from Atlanta.
Shanahan’s small, quick, plug-and-play RBs usually makes for a devastating running attack, but these tiny guys sure are injury prone. We’ve already lost Raheem Mostert for the year and his backup Jeff Wilson has another four games before he can come off the PUP list. Sunday, Elijah Mitchell lasted until mid-way through the fourth quarter before exiting with a shoulder injury. JaMycal Hasty replaced him, but sprained his ankle after a few efforts and then he was replaced by Trey Sermon who lasted one play and left with a concussion. That left NO RBs available, so back in came Mitchell for one more play before the game mercifully ended with a Garoppolo sneak for the clinching first down.
Maybe we need like at least ONE big back sort of fella to always be there. Just a thought.