The San Francisco 49ers lost a tough game to the Minnesota Vikings, falling 24-16 in Week 1. However, Niner Noise breaks down why this loss was good for the team and good for the fans.
That’s a lot a jargon to say, “What were your expectations for the 49ers this year?”
If you were expecting a guaranteed playoff berth and a potential Super Bowl winner, then of course this was a terrible outcome for the team. It was certainly a winnable game and definitely something to be disappointed about.
If you were a little more moderate with your expectation, like expecting 9-7 as a high-water mark, then this game gets a little more interesting to dissect. For starters, the Vikings are an exceptional football team, ranked second in Niner Noise’s Peter Panacy’s Week 2 power rankings.
Plus, the 49ers have a lot of things to build around. Let’s take a look at some of those.
The 49ers defense was supposed to be the question mark entering the season, but they played quite well against a stacked Vikings offense. Although the Vikings are known for their defense, wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are no joke.
Even though the Niners allowed 343 total yards to the Vikings, there were a lot of good things to build upon. The pass rush, specifically DeForest Buckner, finally got home.
Buckner finished with 2.5 sacks and was a menace throughout the game.
That is a really big thing being forgotten under all the issues with the offense. If Buckner continues to finish his pressures, the entire defense will play better as a result.
Warner led the team with 12 tackles and one forced fumble, and he just oozed talent and potential. Imagine him with fellow linebacker Reuben Foster, and I see a very similar comparison to make:
Lofty comparisons for sure.
A potential Hall of Famer in now-retired linebacker Patrick Willis (who should be a lock, but that’s for another day) and a would-be Hall of Famer in NaVorro Bowman if that fateful 2014 knee injury didn’t occur.
Sherman, on the other hand, was rarely involved in the game, which is a great thing for a cornerback. He essentially took out an entire side of the field, allowing only one catch.
These are the things that make a fan excited, even though the result was a loss. The offense had a rough go, but with head coach Kyle Shanahan at the helm, that’s not something to worry about. The gains of the defense are the reasons why this game was a good thing for the 49ers. It gave them something to build on.
Why it’s good for the fans
You’re probably thinking that a loss can never be good for a fan. Well, you’re probably right.
Still, this game was really important to temper expectations for the 49ers. Fans always fall for the hype; it’s part of our job. But at some point, we have to understand where our team is on the rebuilding scale.
The 49ers are not a top-10 team by roster talent. They might reach that status with this group, but as of now, they don’t match it. You saw that play out against the Vikings. The Vikings didn’t really win the game on their own merits; they were just more talented. If fans accept that reality, and that the 49ers are still in a rebuild that was just accelerated by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, then there is a better chance to enjoy this season.
Or not. You do whatever you want.