5 reasons 49ers should shine in primetime

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan watches during the second half of an NFL football game between the 49ers and the Pittsburgh Steelers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

SANTA CLARA — Losing to the Browns would hurt.

Sure, losing wouldn’t crush the 49ers. They still would be 3-1, which is an excellent start to the season.

But, losing at home on national television to the 2-2 Browns, who haven’t had a winning season since 2007, could damage the 49ers psychologically. The 49ers haven’t been good for a while, either. Maybe they’re not so hot if they can’t beat Cleveland. Doubt could creep into their minds.

The 49ers need to win this game. And they absolutely should win it.

Here are five reasons why:

This article has 77 Comments

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  1. 1. Shanny made a wise decision by scheduling those practices during the bye. I think it keeps them focused and sharp.

    2. The 49ers should run right at Garrett and Oliver, and by the 4th quarter the Browns pass rush will be diminished.

    3. The Browns backups in the secondary are good tacklers, but average in coverage. Expect at least 4 deep shots.

    4. The 49ers defensive front will leave an offensive odor in the Kitchens.

    5. Kitchens lacks the mental utensils to toss Saleh.

  2. I hope they can get to Baker early, and rattle him.
    .
    I think delayed blitzes up the middle with Kwon may be very effective.
    .
    The Browns will copy the Steelers, and blitz like crazy with loops and stunts. This might put a defender out of position, so the Niners need to exploit those tactics.
    .
    The Niners should send a player deep every time, and rotate in players, so they have fresh legs in the 4th quarter. I hope Matthews plays, and they use him in the red zone.

    1. Delayed blitzes would be the worst thing.

      They can get home with the dline bringing pressure. Running a delayed blitz will just give the WRs that extra bit of time to get open. With these WRs you want Baker on the run ASAP! Don’t give him time to scan and find OBJ cutting free. Don’t give him any extra time.

      If they are going to blitz, its going to be instantly so he has no time to and feels the need to scramble right…right into Dee Ford.

      Just like against Pitt, bring pressure from the front 4 and drop those LBs into coverage so Mayfield won’t have the passing lanes open, and if he chooses to run, Kwan and Fred are fast enough to get to him before he gets but 3 yards.

      Sometimes its as if you aren’t aware of the tactics of the game.

      1. Sometimes? It’s as if he hasn’t seen Mayfield play a single game. You’re right though the immediate pressure has shown to be quite effective and until Mayfield proves anyone wrong just keep pressuring him fast and often and force him into single reads and mistakes.

      2. eM, why do I want the delayed blitz up the middle?
        .
        Sure, it would be ideal if a 4 man rush can collapse the pocket and sack him. I am not advocating that they blitz every play, but in unexpected moments.
        .
        The reason why I am advocating the delayed blitz, is because the O line gets their assignments at the snap of the ball, and the O linemen are engaged with their man, and are not looking to see some one coming a split second later. The delayed blitzer will be shooting a gap, and is usually coming free of a blocker. Up the middle, is because Baker tends to step up, and escape from the pocket by moving upfield. Kwon would greet him, and give Baker a pancake. The DBs should play aggressive, by disrupting at the line of scrimmage. This will force Baker to hold onto the ball.
        .
        Bill Romanowski was very effective as a delayed blitzer. It is a tactic used all the time in this league, trying to catch the O line by surprise. Maybe you should research this defensive tactic more thoroughly, and not only assume it will never work. Sure, the O line may be able to pick up the blitzer, but if it is effective, it can sack the QB and put them on their heels.
        .
        Yes, Kitchens is scheming to have Baker get rid of the ball quickly. I am well aware of the tactics involved. The delayed blitzer up the middle can hold up his hands, and possibly tip the pass. Kwon seems like the logical rusher, but Warner could blitz in opportune times.

        1. “In unexpected moments”…

          Nah, I’d rather they blitz when its completely expected.

          Oh brother…

          With this wisdom you should be the greatest D-Cor since Buddy Ryan…I mean such great wisdom as to explain the purpose of a delayed blitz. I mean, it must be so easy, just send LBs after the Oline have engaged and boom, sack or pick every time…right?

          1. No, there is no guarantee for success when there is a blitz, even though you may think it is automatic.
            .
            A blitz is a gamble, because there are less defenders in coverage. Maybe you are not aware of this, but that is why they want to let only 4 defenders to pass rush, and keep 7 in coverage.
            .
            However, the gamble may be worth the risk. Maybe you did not know this, but it is really hard to throw while on your back.

          2. Looking back at the play, K’Waun Williams did come on a delayed blitz, and he and Kwon got the sack.

        1. They moved, and changed their name, so they are no longer the Browns.
          .
          Baltimore does not claim to have won the 2006 SB, even though the Colts moved to Indianapolis.

  3. I think we should think about moving Sherman to safety and trade soliman Thomas for another cornerback seen how’s verrett didn’t pan out. I don’t see any reason that we can’t go 13-3 especially if kentavius Street can get back healthy. He’s a beast

  4. Ever since 1990 when the NFL built bye weeks into the schedule, the 49ers have struggled in the game coming off the bye week. I’m sure some of you nerds can provide some stats to prove or disprove that claim but my observation is the 49ers struggle coming out of a bye week. That has me a little worried about this game. The other thing that worries me is the 49er safety play. Everyone knows Baker is a one read guy who lives and dies by the RPO and the scramble drill but at some point the Browns coaching staff is going to open up the deeper passes. Moore and Tartt are not good safeties. They both take horrible angles and are liabilities in coverage. I honestly think they may be in the bottom 5 in safety tandems in the NFL. Don’t get me started on the 4th round punter who has only punted 7 times and his net average is, well, average. We could have drafted a viable safety but instead we drafted a guy who has played 7 snaps in 3 games. Anywho, my biggest worry in this game is if the 49ers press the CBs up to take away the quick RPO play and the Browns are smart enough to get a matchup of OBJ or even Landry against Moore or Tartt deep. That could be disastrous for the 49ers. I expect quite a few defensive holding penalties on Sherman and Moseley and I’m perfectly fine with that. I’d rather have a 5 yard holding penalty than a 70 yard TD where Moore and Tartt are totally exposed to the rest of the NFL.

    1. Good points on that safety weakness, Houston. I just don’t see Baker having time to exploit that. His accuracy on the scramble isn’t nearly effective as it was in college. I do think we will get stung deep a time or two, but Baker Mayfield gets frazzled way too quick, and gets the yips….. he won’t beat us consistently and will force passes that lead to Ints.

      1. I hope you’re right. A great pass rush can negate poor play on a defense’s back end but it really only takes one or two plays to make or break a game. Hopefully, the defense holds up. The thing I’m really looking for from the pass rush in this game against the Browns is to see how the 49er defense may fare against Russell Wilson. The Rams were extremely undisciplined in their pass rush against Wilson. The DEs and even Aaron Donald ran way too far upfield and it created wide open running lanes for Wilson. It was really too easy for Wilson to demolish the Rams on his scrambles. The 49ers need a disciplined pass rush where they bottle the QB in the pocket and then collapse the pocket. This is what worries me about the Wide 9 concept. It seems like a halfway decent tackle can simply use the momentum of the DE to run him upfield and out of the play creating a wide open running lane for the QB to scramble. The 49ers have not played a mobile QB this year so this is a great test. Baker is a mobile QB who likes to get out of the pocket just like Russell Wilson. This game should be a precursor to what we can expect in the games against the Seahawks this year. Extremely valuable learning opportunity for Saleh and this defense.

        1. Agreed and great points. So if you’re Saleh, you tell those DEs to keep contain and hope that pressure up the middle gets there? It’s almost as if you want some pocket integrity to avoid broken lanes… I’m thinking if the front 4 isn’t get it done, commit a 5th (LB) Spy. Still leaves you 6 on the back end?
          One other thing Houston, we’ve left several sacks out there, especially Bosa. He’s healthy and a quick learner, I think he’s gonna convert some of those pressures/hurries into big sacks sooner rather than later. This just feels like a game where we put it all together on both sides of the ball. This team is chomping at the bit to get some respect.

          1. Everyone is chomping at the bit to gain respect. I think the more important thing for the 49ers is confidence. This team is in that transition phase where they don’t really know if they can play consistently at a high level against the upper echelon’s of the NFL or if they are pretenders who’ve been lucky in 2 of their 3 games. This is a game the 49ers should win. The 49ers are better than the Browns but if they have another turnover fest or a penalty party then they could lose this game. If they win it, then they add another notch in their confidence bedpost and they start building some fan excitement so home games will be much more fun for the players. IMO this is sort of a confidence transition game for the team. Are we good enough to be 4-0 or are we pretenders.

            1. I think that’s true. Blowout or close game, we have GOT to demonstrate that we can play with focus and avoid negative plays. We simply aren’t going very far the rest of the season if we lose the TO and penalty battle. Clean that up, and we are a handful for anyone in the league.

  5. Nice breakdown Grant.
    For us on D it starts with Buck and Armistead etc….. If they can get consistent pressure up the middle, weve all seen how quickly Baker spooks and rolls right. Keep containment on that, and Mayfield simply doesn’t have any other go-to move at this point in his short career. I expect our d-line to harass Baker into SEVERAL bad choices.

    On offense, again, you’re right. Pound the rock. Right down their throats. My money says they can’t stop our o-line. Then, watch for them biting hard on our (often-used) misdirections and play action, they’re a young D that will be susceptible to over aggression. Especially playing under the Prime Time lights.

    Niners simply too much for the Kitchens led Browns. Defense gets 3 takeaways, Run game opens up play action, offense puts up nearly 500 yards. Jimmy G has a big night. Throws for 300 yards and 3 TDs.
    Niners cruise 41-17 and the hype train picks up major steam…

  6. Interesting weekend. My prediction came true, with Jay Gruden being fired. Of course, that was picking the low hanging fruit.
    .
    Glad to see the Cowboys lose. The Packers defense did their job.
    .
    Cards actually won a game against the winless Bungles.
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    I am happy for Vic Fangio, finally winning after a couple close losses.
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    Raiders won against Chase Daniel, so they are probably delusionally thinking they are a playoff team.
    .
    KC looks vulnerable. Bills defense looks stout. Falcons defense sucks.
    .
    Christian McCaffrey is having an MVP season. Watson looked good, beating up the Falcons.
    .
    QB attrition is continuing, with Kaep still being blackballed. Do not know why Earl Thomas was not ejected for knocking out Rudolph. Brissett and Bridgewater are looking good, the other backups, not so much.
    .
    Niners have broken the norm by winning on the road on the East coast Now they need to win after this bye. I agree with Grant, the Browns have talent, but they also have some glaring weaknesses.
    .
    GO NINERS !!!!!!

    1. I dunno if the Chiefs looked vulnerable really. The Colts deserve all the credit in the world. They’ve been putting together a lunch pail and hard hat team ever since Grigson left town. If Luck was in there this team would be viewed entirely differently. Plus they were without some major pieces (Hooker, Leonard). The Colts are nobody’s pasties and will be in the conversation by week 17

      1. I will respectfully disagree. The loss of Justin Houston and Dee Ford has weakened their defense.
        .
        However, I will also agree that the Colts have improved, greatly, even with the loss of Luck. Brissett has been a good replacement, and they have drafted well.

        1. Oh you’re right for sure. Frank Clark does not make up for losing Houston and Ford. I just don’t think that makes them “vulnerable*. They still have a pretty talented roster and the narrative hasn’t changed, the Chiefs will go as far as their offense takes them. They can win with a mediocre D.
          Now if Mahomes got hurt? They have problems at that point.

  7. Kyle Shanahan is 3-7 coming off the bye over the last 10 seasons, 0-2 in SF. In those 3 wins his offense averaged just under 33 points per game.

    Those 3 wins also came with what were for the most part his better teams.

    Going with: SF 30 Browns 13

  8. It seemed like the past couple of weeks were eerily similar to the off season – too long.

    The Browns offense will succumb to the Niners D line.
    The Niners offense will finally play mistake free ball and continue to put up lots of points.
    The Niners are vying for their 49th victory on Monday night football.

    Niners 49 Browns 13.

  9. We know E-Man is as fast as OBJr., but is he as agile?

    E-Man 3-Cone-6.84
    OBJr. 3 Cone-6.69

    Burst?

    E-Man 10 yard Split-1.50
    OBJr. 10 yard Split-1.50

    1. Meh, call me nuts but something tells me Skule could stone Mack too. I guess we’ll get some verification one way or the other this evening….

      1. Yup, I do. It seems downright silly to me to quibble about the money paid to Juice considering how his speed, athleticism and pass-catching ability is integral to the success of Kyle’s offense. Juice is not your old-school FB like Vonta Leach. Kyle’s offense doesn’t need a “bell-cow” back or a “#1 receiver” (although it’s nice to have the latter). His offense needs role players with certain skill-set and mental discipline. Sometimes these role players are more expensive because of their rarity, especially in the FA market like Juice, but generally they are cheaper (mid to late round draft picks or UDFAs).

  10. That sounds great Under! I hope that (your prediction) comes to fruition! However, I think it’ll be a little tougher, and closer. Going undefeated in the NFL is tough, similar to trying to sweep teams in baseball. Yesterday was a good example with KC losing. If the Niners lose, it won’t affect in the slightest their psychology. That’s nonsense! You could actually say the opposite, that getting a slice of “humble pie” will benefit the team in the long run. Coach just likes to add in a slice of negativity. The schtick you know. It’s gonna be a close one tonight fellas! The Niners are going to get a big heaping helping of Chubb. The game will be shortened with both teams running the ball exclusively. 47 points seems to be right in the ballpark. It’s going to be a mighty struggle to get to 4-0, but I think it will happen, as predicted in my pre-season premonition.
    I’m taking SF -5 and the over.

    SF 28 CLE 20

    1. Niners, 24-23. It will be closer than an 8 point win.
      .
      I do agree with the over. JG may be able to light them up, since their defensive backfield has been injured.
      .
      A pick six against the Baker might also pad the score.

  11. Just read that Ward and Williams are expected to sit against the 49ers. Hopefully the 49ers can take advantage of their absences.

    1. When I first read this I thought you meant Jimmie and K’Wuan were out! Was then thinking it was pretty harsh to say the 49ers should take advantage of this :-P

      But no, Denzel and Greedy are out. Yes, hopefully this is something the 49ers can take advantage of.

  12. I dare say this is totally absurd . AJ is at least 4 years removed from this valuation. Plus he is 31.

    https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/27785915/barnwell-10-nfl-trade-candidates-proposing-deals-make-sense

    The trade: San Francisco 49ers trade a 2020 first-round pick and a 2021 second-round pick to the Bengals for Green and a 2020 second-round pick

    The plan has always been for Kyle Shanahan to have a dominant wide receiver in San Francisco. For the majority of his career as a coordinator, he was able to funnel targets to his “X” receiver. In Houston, it was Andre Johnson. After two years in Washington, Shanahan and his father signed Pierre Garcon. Josh Gordon was supposed to be that guy in Cleveland, then Jones was the prototypical wideout for Shanahan in Atlanta. Shanahan signed Garcon to join him in San Francisco, but injuries limited him to just 16 games over two seasons with the 49ers before the team declined his option in February.

    While the 49ers are 3-0, they don’t have much of an identity at wide receiver. No wideout has played more than 62% of the snaps for the 49ers this season, and Shanahan has given each of the five wide receivers on his roster meaningful playing time. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that plan, but it’s not how the offensive guru has approached his receiving corps in years past.

  13. I think Grant’s analysis is spot on. I only want to emphasize turnovers and penalties.
    They must avoid multiple turnovers to win tonight. I am also concerned about the penalties. If I remember correctly, after byes their focus seems a little off and the number of concentration penalties (false starts, off sides, two men in motion) go up. I think we’ll know by the end of the 1st quarter if they are ready to play or not.
    Good 49ers show up: 27-13 Niners

    Evil 49ers show up: 24-13 Browns

    1. Seb hates Wishnowski because he was drafted in the 4th Rd.

      Having seen him punt, and having a friend who had Ute season tickets when he punted, I guarantee Wish will be one of the NFL’s better punters this season.

      Punting, in Seb’s mind, is for the Bill Belichick’s of the world….As long as Seb’s man crush, ‘Uncle Billy’, drafts a punter earlier than normal it’s okay; Seb even said so
      When a poster pointed out that Billy drafted a punter in the 5th, so Shanny was forced to draft Wish in the 4th Seb’s response: “Belichich’s won more Superbowls so it’s his perogative.”

      This was an ill conceived response by an the illiterate football minded Sebby.

      He had not factored in our stout D-Line and that punting is an extension of the defense, therefore, having a solid punter forces the opponent on longer drives vs. that D.

      When a poster and Head Coach tell Seb he’s wrong, about this, and Seb claims he’s right what do we make of this?

      Personally, I want opponents to have to go on long drives vs. our defense because the turnover percentage works in favor of the 49ers, regarless of what the bloviating blowhard Sebnarcissist said.

      1. I do not hate Wishnowsky at all. I am glad he is punting for the Niners.
        .
        My big quibble was that they should have been patient, and waited until the 5th round to select him. Considering the Pats selected a punter 15 spots after the Niners picked in the 5th round, the Niners very easily could have waited, been patient, and still could have selected him in the 5th, ahead of the Patriots.
        .
        Considering that James Gillian, the punter for the Browns, was an UDFA, and he out performed Wishnowsky, the need to draft a punter in the 4th round looks even more like a reach.
        .
        Gillian had 7 punts for 397 yards, for a 56.7 average, and put 4 inside the 20.
        Wishnowsky had 4 punts for 176 yards, for a 44 yard average, and put 2 inside the 20.
        .
        Considering TrollD is wrong in so many ways, what do we make of this? Maybe he should stick to the real facts. Maybe he should try harder.
        .
        TrollD fantasizes about breaking into gun safes, and creating nightmares, so he should be one under scrutiny.

    2. I hope they ‘focused ‘ this week to prevent penalties/TO’s ect…for a clean hard game, pedal to the metal. Make the Browns turn it over….SF wins 30-24.

  14. The 49ers are the better team, but the following makes me a Nervous Ned

    – Rookie emergency substitute CB starting his first NFL game against one of the best receivers in football
    – Rookie emergency substitute OT starting his first NFL game against one of the best pass rushers in football

    A hole in the bottom of the boat sinks trash barges and luxury liners alike

    The Niners should win, but I’m not confident at all.

  15. Tonight’s inactive

    QB C.J. Beathard
    CB Ahkello Witherspoon
    RB Jeff Wilson
    OT Sam Young
    OT Joe Staley
    DT Jullian Taylor
    WR Jordan Matthews

    1. No, not Wilson…wow…But Wilson is not active for tonight’s game with Tevin Coleman making his return from an ankle injury. In two games this season, he’s rushed for 52 yards and 4 touchdowns on 18 attempts. It’s Coleman’s turn now, lets see how he does. Maybe KS uses him for some receiving out of the backfield.

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