How the 49ers can beat the Bucs

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle catches a pass against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

SANTA CLARA — Not a must-win game for the 49ers, but close.

They open the regular season Sunday in Tampa against one of the weakest teams on their schedule, the Buccaneers. The following week, the 49ers will play the Bengals in Cincinnati, which will be the 49ers’ second straight game in the Eastern time zone — a brutal task for a West Coast team. And Week 3, they will play their home opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the best teams in the AFC.

After that, the 49ers’ schedule only becomes more difficult. A win Sunday would make their path to the playoffs much easier.

Here are five things the 49ers must do to beat the Bucs.

This article has 92 Comments

  1. And #6 — You guessed it Grant, the 9ers punt team having a strong performance–pinning the Bucs well inside their 20 when opportunities allow. Punts with distance and placement, coupled with great coverage.

      1. Converting 3rd down > awesome punt.

        Even the leagues top teams don’t do that every single drive. It’s good to have that extra weapon in the arsenal when needed.

        1. Great punting is a sort of weapon, I suppose and teams don’t convert every third down. Of course, converting third downs enough leads to great scoring opportunities. The latter just puts the onus on the defense to force a punt.

          Which is why I’m glad they got Gould back as good kicker > great punter

            1. Because there are limits on resources. True every drive can’t be converted but isn’t it better to allocate resources so that more are converted ?

            2. I put a good kicker is greater than a great punter in the same way that a good quarterback is greater than a great guard.

    1. NFLTVNOW .COM gives you versatility, month by month television at a fraction of the cost. You can add or take away packages that you want or have no longer use for. I would and have recommended this to friends and family .

    1. Awesome hacksaw! Yes it is time to start winning again. And if they do lets hope there isn’t a Preston Riley, Kyle Williams, Colin Kaepernick, (or even god bless him Roger Craig) to end the season in ignominy.

  2. One play I would like to see that will be hard to stop, and have little chance for a pick, is a play for Toilolo, because he is 6′ 8″. I thought Armstead would also be a good target, because he is tall and has basketball skills, but Toilolo is paid to catch the ball.
    This play should be used when confronted with a third down and short. They may be expecting a running play. They should line up Toilolo wide, let him take a few steps past the first down marker, then head towards the side line. JG needs to throw the 10 feet ball high, and let Toilolo high point the ball. Ideally Toilolo could screen the DB away from the ball. If Toilolo cannot catch the ball, it will go harmlessly out of bounds, so it is a low risk, high rewards play. It will be hard to defend, move the sticks, and be a low risk of a pick.

              1. No, you were thrilled being named the Frisco Kid. You own it, because I do not like the term- Frisco.
                You think I am going to be hurt by your juvenile name calling? Guess again. It just shows how thin skinned you are, and how you are an immature obnoxious pseudo fan.
                The Frisco Kid, aint a friend of mine…..

              2. Paul are you ever going to grow up?
                If you don’t like a word, why do you keep using it? Childish no?
                Just replace Frisco with the N-word and see how puerile your infantile argument is!

              3. Doxxy Dee, I certainly did not use the N word, like the Frisco Kid did.
                Puerile, infantile?
                You should look in a mirror.

              4. Frisco Kid, I never click on those links.
                Waste of time, like you are.
                I would much rather be discussing ways that help the Niners to defeat the Bucs.
                However, I cannot even do that, without my usual detractors, snarking away.
                Maybe this is a good time for you to rip Jed, and cry about losing.

    1. Great, then what happens when they carry Toilolo out of bounds on their shoulders as you’ve suggested, Schlebbie?

  3. Same story it has been since this regime took over.
    1. Convert red zone trips to touchdowns not FGs
    2. Win turnover battle.
    3. Hope the injury gods are good to us.

  4. Keys to today’s game:

    1) Putting pressure up front – a great pass rush masks all sorts of evils (bad DBs).

    2) Forcing 3rd downs – and then forcing the team to punt.

    3) Converting 3rd downs.

    4) Actually scoring in RZ.

  5. Third installment on Jimmy G. First was the “good”, second was the “bad and ugly” and this installment covers his mechanics. New concepts in teaching QBs don’t necessarily require that a QB have great footwork (although it’s desirable). They often have to make throws with defenders in their face making it impossible to step forward and follow through.

    1. They often have to make throws with defenders in their face making it impossible to step forward and follow through.

      Hasn’t this always been the case? And good mechanics are always desirable in any QB. Can’t always have it (given certain skill sets), but it is always the optimum for the best.

  6. Not a must-win game for the 49ers,

    This is a puzzling statement especially combined with the next observation

    ” inTampa against one of the weakest teams ”

    If they want to have an even remote chance at the playoffs, this IS a MUST WIN game.
    And every game after that!

    1. Exactly. We have to pick off the low hanging fruit like Tampa. Realistically it will take at least 10 wins to secure wild card and possibly 11. No game can be taken for granted.

    2. Yes they need to get to 2=1 before the bye week….if they win it sets the tone…JimmyG must have a good game (no boneheaded pics) and team needs to play clean low penalties turnovers etc…..If this team is to have any chance they MUST win on the road

  7. It should not be considered a must win, because what happens if they lose? Do they have their morale crushed? No, they just need to learn from their mistakes, stop the unforced errors, and move on.
    Starting out this season, they should not be thinking about the schedule, they should take these games, one at a time.
    This may not be a must win, but winning this game is the most important thing to be concentrating upon. How they win is what is important now. Playing aggressively, putting out maximum effort, and working together as a team, should be common sense tactics to employ. Coaching smart, efficient, innovatively and deceptively should be standard goals to aspire towards.
    I may cheer madly for this team, but I also see this game as a daunting challenge. East Coast curse, Arians having the Niner’s number. Top 10 passing game. Drafting 4 DBs to fix the defense. Facing not only Mike Evans, but Terry Godwin, too. The Niners need good game plans to negate those obstacles.
    How can they defeat their opponent? By playing Niner Football. By playing like Champions.

      1. Doxxy Dee, just ignore me, and stick to football. If you continue, you will be deleted again, so what you write is pointless, and a waste of time..

    1. I agree with taking it game by games. Can’t get too hung up on arbitrary win requirements that we don’t even know yet. Let’s see where we’re at in the bye, until every game is crucial. We won’t get the playoff picture until late november. That’s when games become “must wins”.

  8. Finally, the NFL is back. Thank God. No more “Practice” dissection from Coach/GM GC, no more “The good and the bad” from “Preseason practice games”, no more draft advise and condemnation in its aftermath. No more “What they should have done, and why I would have done it better, because, as I have told you, I’m “Infinitely” better”. I’m sure Kyle grabbed the PDYNT on line this morning in Florida so he could get Coach’s “Five things the Niners must do to beat the Bucs” advise. God forbid he would miss those nuggets. Thank the good lord that Coach gives this valuable advise for free. I’m sure Kyle called the team in for a emergency meeting and changed his game plan immediately upon reading this profound guidance, looking at his coaches and team, and saying, “Why didn’t I think of that”? Ok, enough of that nonsense and on with the important stuff!

    Time to fill up the coffers. 5 wagers x 100. Let’s win some money.

    SF +1 over the Bucs O/U (501/2)
    The NFL helped the Niners by moving the game later. I think Jimmy will still show some signs of rust (Perfectly reasonable) but will play well enough to win. The defense will impose it’s will on the Bucs down the stretch. I’m taking the Niners with the point (don’t need it) and the under to outlast Tampa, 23-20.

    Other three winners.

    Taking Seattle -9 1/2 vs CIN SEA 30 CIN 17
    Taking LA Chargers -6 1/2 vs IND LA 28 IND 13
    Taking the under on the Charger/Colts game (44 1/2)

    Good luck. It’s never easy! :)

  9. If the Niners control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball Niners win this game going away. 31-6 Niners.

    I am already prepared when the Niners win this game, some others will point out how bad the other team was and this game was by no means a measuring stick of this team’s projected greatness. Every game is important.

    Bet the Buc’s fans are saying what a lucky break to draw the Niners for the first game. They and some Niner fans are going to be surprised.

    19-0 baby 19-0.

            1. A sliver of info…

              Matt Maiocco

              Updated PROJECTION on six of the #49ers seven inactives after watching early, early warmups with P-squad:
              QB C.J. Beathard
              TE Kaden Smith
              WR Jalen Hurd
              WR Trent Taylor
              OL Daniel Brunskill
              DB Jimmie Ward

              Not sure about No. 7.

    1. The game plan on offense will be to wear down Suh/Vita by forcing them to run sideline to sideline with the outside zone, and then hit them with some play action passing downfield.

      The game plan on defense will be to consume the Bucs offensive line with concern off the edges, while Buckner infiltrates their interior keeping Winston wincing….

    2. 1. Take advantage of a weak Buccaneers secondary and OL.
      2. Win the turnover battle.
      3. Get to Winston often.
      4. Keep the penalties to a minimum, and do not commit one that will give the Buccaneers new life on offense or defense.
      5. Finish.

  10. Looks like Jennifer Chan is in Tampa. Where are you, Grant?

    Jennifer Lee Chan

    It’s currently 89° and 59% humidity here in #Tampa 3.5 hours before kick off of Week 1 #49ers #Bucs #SFvsTB

    1. Hey, and ANOTHER Bay Area sports media personality is in Tampa. What the….? C’mon Grant!

      Matt Barrows‏

      Science experiment: I walked for an hour in Tampa in a dark t-shirt and another hour in a white t-shirt.

      Conclusion: I need to do laundry.

  11. Bold predictions for the game: 49ers get at least four sacks, and Verrett replaces Witherspoon after halftime.

  12. I agree with Grant’s 5 takes. But I think he may have missed the biggest issue — avoiding penalties that leads to third and long.

  13. Lol. Is there really an argument out there that this game is not a “must win” game. I beg to differ. This isn’t the NBA and their 82 game schedule. This isn’t MLB and their 162 game schedule. This is the NFL. 16 games. Every game, especially at the beginning of the season is a must win, period. Every game you lose decreases the odds of making the playoffs dramatically. If you start the season 0-2 you are probably not going to the playoffs. Even the difference percentage wise between 1-1 and 0-2 is huge when talking about playoffs. This is exactly what makes the NFL the best of all the pro sports. The pressure to win each game is breathtaking, and the affects of a loss are dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking. There is nothing like the pure excitement and pressure to win every NFL game. Of course it’s a “must win” game today.

    1. The KC-Jax game is getting rough. Miles Jack taking swings and ejected. Mahomes has an ankle injury that is limiting his ability to run. Pushing and shoving after plays even after Jack was ejected.

      Gardner Minschew looked good in his first series (4 for 4). Now Minschew just threw a 45 yard plus pass that went for 69 yards.

        1. Mid: I think you live in Kansas, right, so you’re probably watching the game. I’ve never seen a player react like Jack after said player was ejected. It’s almost like he was having some kind of breakdown. Did you think that as well?

  14. 5 things I am wondering about this game.
    1, I hope JG is fully recovered from his ACL, and can lead his team to victory.
    2. I surmise the coaching has improved, with Kocurek and Woods, but need to see how effective their tactics are, on the field. Has KS learned how to finish Games?
    3. I am interested in seeing how cohesive the Niner O line will be. That will go a long ways to seeing improvement in the running game, and pass protection.
    4. On defense, seeing how effective the DBs play, will probably determine the outcome of the game. The passing game is TB’s major threat.
    Will they be able to play focused and with discipline, so they can reduce their mistakes. That alone could be a huge factor between success and failure.

    1. Sebbie….

      We’ve all seen lots of video footage of players with headphones/earbuds on–vast majority of players. See them on when players exit the team bus, in individual warm ups on the field hours before kickoff, etc. What do you suppose they are listening to? Music? Audiobooks (Sun Tzu, etc.)? The day’s game plan as voiced by a celebrity? Readings of your blog posts? Nothing–just noise cancellation?

    2. 1. JG was a little off on a few of his passes. He did throw a pick six, but he recovered and led his team to victory. Glad to see him running, because it means his knee has rehabbed well.
      2. The coaching improved greatly. Woods has his players performing cohesively. They were ball hawks, and won the game with their pick sixes. Saleh was the best coach on the field, according to Grant.
      3. The O line, and Richberg, did well. Not too many holes for the running game, but only gave up one sack.
      4. The DB plays helped determine the outcome of the game.
      5. They did play focused, and I liked how they were punching at the ball. However, Sherman said that he needed to be better disciplined, and reduce his mistakes. There still were too many pre snap penalties. However, TB was even less focused and disciplined, and Winston made way too many mistakes, which helped the Niners succeed, and the Bucs fail.

  15. The 49ers are actually playing 90 minutes from now. Happy opening day everyone.

    The Bucs listed their inactives before the 49ers. We are keeping them on their toes.
    QB Blaine Gabbert
    G Zack Bailey
    S Justin Evans
    OLB Demone Harris
    T Jerald Hawkins
    TE Tanner Hudson
    WR Scotty Miller

    But if the 49ers don’t list their picks soon, they will be fined all draft picks for ten years.

    1. 49ers inactives
      QB C.J. Beathard
      WR Trent Taylor
      WR Jalen Hurd
      FS Jimmie Ward
      OL Daniel Brunskill
      CB Jason Verrett
      TE Kaden Smith

      Was hoping Verrett would suit up.

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