The San Francisco 49ers steamrolled the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2, and it feels amazing being on the winning end of matchups once again. There were two key turning points which sealed the Niners’ dominant victory.
The San Francisco 49ers set the tone hard and fast early into their Week 2 road game against the Cincinnati Bengals, and they did it on both sides of the ball.
On the very opening snap, no less than four 49ers defensive linemen swallowed up Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton inside their own 5-yard line, resulting in a Bengals punt shortly thereafter. That sent a message.
That message was clear: This is a brand new team and one which means business.
Initially, it looked like a high-scoring match was on tap, as the Bengals answered back with a Dalton touchdown to tight end Tyler Eifert. On the second possession, Garoppolo tossed a second touchdown to speedster running back, Raheem Mostert, on a nifty screen play.
Then both teams slowed down a bit.
The 49ers defensive front brought the pressure, causing the Bengals’ next three drives to stall. All they had to show for it: a punt, a missed field goal and three additional points on the board.
Fresh off the practice squad, running back Jeff Wilson Jr. punched in a touchdown, but the 49ers kept tripping on themselves and had yet another touchdown called back due to penalty, and Garoppolo threw his only interceptio.:
The Bengals’ drives looked sluggish and taxing, while the 49ers looked spry and determined until their next drive about halfway through the second quarter when the Niners had to punt.
First turning point
The bad news is the 49ers had to punt. The good news is the team invested a 2019 fourth-round NFL Draft pick on stud punter, Mitch Wishnowsky. The former Australian rugby player pinned the Bengals deep in their own 1-yard line.
On this drive, the Bengals struggled mightily to cross midfield. It was a barrage of pressure and hits on Dalton, the kinds which get inside a quarterback’s mind. By the time the Bengals crossed the 50-yard line, they looked exhausted.
It was a long, hard-earned 50 yards, and the fruit of their labor was a Dalton interception. By all accounts, it looks like that fourth-round pick is paying dividends early on. Coupled with a solid defense, those punts are downright demoralizing to opponents.
Second turning point
On the flip side, the 49ers looked invigorated and ready for action getting close to halftime. They sandwiched the half with a field goal to close the first and a touchdown to open the second half of the game.
This moment sealed the fate of the Bengals.
From this point on, the Bengals looked checked out of the game, with no drive or rhythm. With the Niners leading 31 to 10, it’s hard to blame them. Consequently, Dalton got sacked twice, and three drives stalled on the bad side of the 50-yard line.
The 49ers offense preyed on the Bengals’ apathy. They pounded the ground game and targeted seven different receivers to make it a final score of 41-17.
While the Bengals did manage to add a garbage-time touchdown with 45 seconds left in the game, it was mostly against Niners defensive backups.
There is no denying, the 49ers are a different team this year: exciting, talented, and competitive.