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Week 2 Game Recap: San Francisco 49ers 41, Cincinnati Bengals 17


What you need to know

San Francisco 49ers

Four things to take away from this game are as follows. First, rather than increasing Matt Breida's workload, it appears Kyle Shanahan has chosen to replace Tevin Coleman's 60 percent of snaps with a combination of Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson, the latter of which serving as the de facto goal line back. Second, although Jimmy Garoppolo played better than he did in Week 1, he still left a ton of yards (and potential points) on the field with errant throws. Third, George Kittle's quiet game was simply a matter of run-blocking more and playing more of a decoy role due to Cincinnati's hyper-attentive coverage. Finally, although left tackle Joe Staley's injury is going to hurt, the running game didn't falter at all after he left the game.

Cincinnati Bengals

-Andy Dalton made a couple costly mistakes when the game was still competitive that put an end to promising drives deep in San Francisco territory.

-Almost every solid gain by Joe Mixon was called back due to holding and he was visibly frustrated. He looked fully healthy.

-Through two games, the Bengals have just 59 rushing yards and are averaging 1.79 YPC.

-Tyler Boyd was every bit as good as his 10 catch, 122-yard stat line would indicate. He had a touchdown called back due to a hold or would have had an even bigger day.

-John Ross had a meaningless 66-yard touchdown catch in the final minute of the blowout loss to turn a forgettable performance into another big fantasy outing.

San Francisco 49ers

QB Jimmy Garoppolo, 72 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 25 - 297 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 8 - 0
Garoppolo's stats may have rebounded back to above-average against Cincinnati, but his non-box score performance did not. He can thank Kyle Shanahan's play design and play-calling for many of his long gainers, what with 49ers receivers running wide-open all over the field, and Bengals tacklers repeatedly engaging in defensive indifference. He also repeated many of his Week 1 mistakes, i.e., throwing behind receivers rather than hitting them in stride, as well as making incredibly ill-advised throws into double-(or triple-) coverage. Throwing for 297/3/1 was just about the floor of what Cincinnati offered up for the taking.

RB Raheem Mostert, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 83 - 0, Rec: 3 - 68 - 1 (4 targets)
Mostert actually out-snapped starter Matt Breida against Cincinnati. On his receiving touchdown, which came on a deceptive, one-lineman screen pass, Mostert scored because he had three blockers against three defenders in front of him, and linebacker Preston Brown, who actually went mostly unblocked, gave a lackluster effort in his tackle attempt. Similarly, Mostert's 20-yard run in the third quarter resulted from a wide-open running lane off right tackle, as well as a feeble tackle attempt by cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. He even ran untouched for a 29-yard score that was nullified by penalty.

RB Matt Breida, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 121 - 0, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (1 targets)
There are three main takeaways from Breida's performance against Cincinnati. First, although he started, he played only 29 pecent of snaps; fewer than "backups" Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson. Relatedly, Breida came off the field when San Francisco advanced into the red zone. Finally, and on a more positive note, what with play-calling producing wide-open running lanes and receiving routes on play after play, Breida had the single-most impressive display of individual skill among the 49ers' skill position players. On 3rd-and-1 at Cincinnati's 49-yard line midway through the second quarter, Breida took a handoff and immediately ran into the backside of center Weston Richburg. However, he saw a cutback lane to his right and took it, but cornerback William Jackson III had him dead to rights on backside contain. No worries, Breida jump cut to the right as Jackson III dove at his legs, then jump cut back to the left to juke linebacker Nick Vigil out of his shoes. After that Herculean effort to gain that first yard, the final 33 yards of the run were a relative piece of cake.

RB Jeff Wilson, 15 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 34 - 2
Wilson only played 21 percent of snaps, but an inordinate amount of them were in the red zone. With the 49ers advancing the ball easily against Cincinnati, it makes sense that Mostert would have two rushing touchdowns on only 10 carries. It should be noted, however, that, as was the theme of this team performance, the touchdown runs themselves weren't particularly difficult individually.

WR Deebo Samuel, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 7 - 0, Rec: 5 - 87 - 1 (7 targets)
No doubt Samuel had a productive game, especially for a rookie playing his second game in the NFL. Having said that, his gaudy stats owed more to Kyle Shanahan's play design and play calling than extraordinary individual feats of skill from Samuel himself. His first target was a play-action, throw-back pass off of his own jet-sweep action, which Shanahan had set up with several fakes on previous drives. All 49 yards of run-after-catch were due to the Bengals biting hard and having a caravan of blockers in front of him. Similarly, Samuel's 2-yard touchdown in the third quarter resulted from a broken coverage at the goal line. All of that said, one of Samuel's big plays was indeed a great individual effort. On the first play of the second half, Samuel had cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick spinning like a top on his deep dig route, such that his break inside created five yards of separation, which in turn allowed for 19 additional yards after the catch.

WR Marquise Goodwin, 37 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 77 - 1 (3 targets)
Goodwin started once again, but ceded a higher percentage of snaps to San Francisco's backups than he did in Week 1. He was wide open on both of his long receptions, though one required enduring a hard hit from safety Jesse Bates III to hold onto the ball. On the other, his touchdown on San Francisco's first drive, Goodwin didn't have a Bengals defender within 15 yards of him in any direction when he caught the ball at Cincinnati's 15-yard line. This was a result of one of Kyle Shanahan's signiature play, called "receiver gets lost in the sea of scrimmage-line humanity on a play action; then emerges wide open on the other side of the field.

TE George Kittle, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 54 - 0 (3 targets)
Kittle had less fantasy production than in Week 1 because a) San Francisco repeatedly exploited his advantage as a run blocker over Cincinnati's outside defenders, and b) he was seemingly priority number one for Cincinnati's safeties regardless of what else was happening on the play. To this latter point, Marquise Goodwin's wide-open, first-quarter touchdown was thanks in part to Jessie Bates III, who was the last line of defense as a single-high safety, biting hard on Kittle's short route across the middle.


Cincinnati Bengals

QB Andy Dalton, 70 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 42 - 311 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 2 - 0
Penalties on the offensive line directly caused a number of drives to stall and were the biggest offensive problem for the Bengals. Daltonís inconsistent play didnít help matters. He made a couple poor choices late in the first half that contributed to the game getting out of hand. On a third and long from just outside the red zone, Dalton scrambled and could have picked up at least five yards to setup a short field goal attempt. Instead, he ran three yards past the line and then lofted it up over the head of a tight end down the middle of the field, drawing a five-yard penalty for an illegal pass. Instead of a 40-yard field goal, it was pushed back to a 53-yard attempt that was missed. It was a momentum swinging play. Dalton also threw an awful interception on a 2nd-and-5 just outside of the red zone near the end of the first half. He rolled to his right and threw it towards Tyler Eifert who was bracketed with a safety over top and a linebacker underneath. The pass had no chance and was easily intercepted by Kwon Alexander. Dalton was lucky to have thrown just the one interception. A 49ers cornerback undercut a short out route along the sideline and should have had a pick six but dropped the ball. Dalton had an easy 1-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Eifert off of play action and a meaningless 66-yard touchdown to John Ross in the final seconds of the game. He had a touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd that was called back due to holding.

RB Joe Mixon, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 17 - 0, Rec: 3 - 10 - 0 (5 targets)
Mixon barely practiced in the week leading up to the game due to an ankle injury he suffered in Week 1. He showed no ill effects from the injury, looking as quick and explosive as usual. Mixon had to work for every yard. Even when he made the first man miss, he was still picking up minimal gains. Mixon had a couple impressive runs down near the goal line in the first quarter to pick up positive yards. On 2nd-and-4 from the 5-yard line, he ran through an arm tackle in the backfield, juked a defender with a nice cut back to the inside and ran for a 3-yard gain. He powered through a defender to pick up a first down just short of the goal line on the next play. He was stuffed in the backfield for no gain on 1st-and-goal and missed out on a potential score when the Bengals scored on a 2nd-down play action pass. The few times a hole actually opened up and Mixon was able to break off a solid run, the offensive line was called for holding. He burst through the right side of the line for a 12-yard pickup that was called back due to a hold by the left tackle. He also had an 11-yard reception called back due to a hold. Mixon was visibly frustrated with some of the flags and the body language wasnít great at times. His lone positive run that wasnít called back was a 9-yard burst up the middle when the Bengals were backed up near their own end zone. Mixon played just 54% of the snaps but his usage was pretty typical until the game got out of hand. There was no reason for the Bengals to put him out there on a tender ankle in the fourth quarter while trailing by 30+ points.

RB Giovani Bernard, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 6 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (3 targets)
Bernard played 28 snaps but many of them came in garbage time. Three of his seven touches came late in the fourth quarter when the Bengals were trailing by 31 points. He did get a full drive to himself midway through the second quarter, carrying three times for eight yards on the field goal drive. Bernard managed just 13 yards on the day despite a game script that was just about perfect for him. In this offense, he doesnít have much fantasy value while Mixon is healthy.

WR Tyler Boyd, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 10 - 122 - 0 (10 targets)
The lone offensive bright spot for the Bengals was the play of Tyler Boyd. He was fantastic, catching every single target and consistently converting on third downs to keep the offense on the field. His first catch of the game was his easiest. The Bengals lined up with a bunch formation to the left and a busted coverage left Boyd wide open down the sideline for a 47-yard catch and run. Boyd setup the Bengals first touchdown with an 8-yard catch on 3rd-and-7 in the red zone. He held on with a defender draped all over his back. It was the first of many 3rd down conversions for Boyd. He was schemed open for an easy 9-yard catch on 3rd-and-1. Then went low to grab a pass over the middle for a 12 yard gain on 3rd-and-12. He picked up 15 yards on a 3rd-and-6 screen pass. Boydís big fantasy day could have been even bigger but he had a 16-yard touchdown catch wiped out by a holding penalty. Boyd played 79% of the snaps for the second straight week, which is a bit less than last season (when he had 8 straight games with 92% or more) but not a cause for concern.

WR John Ross, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 112 - 1 (8 targets)
Ross led the receivers by playing 86% of the snaps and is the clear No. 2 target in the offense behind Boyd while A.J. Green is sidelined. He didnít have much success against Richard Sherman, who was able to stick right with Ross on a couple deep ball attempts. Ross was credited with a short reception on a jet sweep that Dalton tapped forward into Rossí hands as he cut across right in front of him. Ross had a long catch and run of 34 yards on a 3rd-and-2 slant catch. He was able to get inside the cornerback for the easy catch and then showed tremendous burst to pick up a big chunk of yards after the catch. He had a bad drop on a short pass but it probably wouldnít have gained yardage anyway. Ross scored a garbage time 66-yard touch-down against the 49ers backups in the final seconds of the game. He caught the ball on a post route about 20 yards downfield and then accelerated past the safety and was off to the races.

WR Damion Willis, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (3 targets)
Willis played 64% of the snaps (down from 90% last week), losing playing time to Auden Tate. He made a short catch but wasnít able to come up with either of his other targets. One was thrown low on a comeback route and would have been a tough catch. The other incompletion was on a deep ball down the left sideline that was fairly well covered where Willis wasnít able to come up with the contested catch. The two incompletions werenít exactly poor plays by Willis but he wasnít able to make the play when given the opportunity. He has a limited window to make an impact while Green it sidelined and hasnít been able to take advantage of the opportunity.

WR Auden Tate, 25 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (2 targets)
Tate played 25 snaps and ate into the playing time of Damion Willis. He had a physical run for six yards on a quick screen in the red zone. With Willis not showing out early, Tate could see a few more opportunities next week to make his case for playing time once Green returns.

TE Tyler Eifert, 19 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 9 - 1 (5 targets)
Eifert was targeted on 5 of his 19 snaps. We are seeing that when he is on the field, he is going to be one of Daltonís first reads. Eifert caught a one-yard touchdown, leaking out into the flat after a play action fake and making the easy catch. His other two receptions were both short in the flat and he wasnít able to make anything happen running after the catch. Eifert probably would have played a bit more but there was no reason to risk an injury to him in the fourth quarter with the Bengals trailing by 30+. Most of rookie Drew Sampleís 19 snaps came in relief of Eifert in garbage time.

TE C.J. Uzomah, 42 offensive snaps
Uzomah led the tight end group with 42 snaps but wasnít targeted.