Sunday night in Minnesota, the 49ers achieved something we haven’t see much of the past couple of years — they played an entertaining game.
The offense looked NFL-like the entire game, and the defense was good in the first half. There was no running game, other than Raheem Mostert‘s second half out-of-the-blue efforts against the Vikings’ bench warmers. A poor running game will no doubt be a problem as the season progresses.
It looks like we will be seeing some shoot-outs this year, instead of the blow-outs we’ve become accustomed to. Don’t get me wrong, the blow-outs were quite satisfying when viewed as a slap fest against Jed York. But, negative viewing fun eventually leads to Cleveland, a dark and foreboding place full of existential angst and suicidal gloom.
So, yeah, let’s try some positive viewing this year. Having a QB who stays in the pocket and scans the field for open receivers was a blessed relief from the stare-down-one-receiver pose that became so significantly annoying. In fact, we seem to have TWO viable QBs this year in Brian Hoyer and CJ Beathard. What a glut.
It’s possible no one will mistake either of these gents for the second coming of Joe Montana, but a baby steps approach is defensible at this point in 49er history. Each QB threw for over 150 yards, which was a full game normal stat from the two previous QBs.
The first half defense pitched a shut out, stopped the run, and got some pressure on the Viking QB. That kind of well rounded decency hasn’t existed the past two years. Except for the opening game in both 2015 and 2016. So perhaps we should contain our enthusiasm just a bit longer — at least until the second game of the season, the down the toilet moment in each of those years.
Not to throw water on this roaring spark of optimism, but it did seem like HC/OC Kyle Shanahan game planned for the Vikings. This is normally not done in the exhibition games, nor is a blitz heavy defensive assault. Maybe it was more important for Shanahan to impress in this game than it was to simply prepare for the season. That would be understandable given the unimpressive nature of the first two preseason games and the general air of skepticism among the fans and perhaps even the players.
At any rate, we shall see in two weeks what Alfie wants to know.