The San Francisco 49ers nearly played a perfect game against the Cleveland Browns in Week 5. But even then, there’s always something to improve. Niner Noise breaks it down.
The San Francisco 49ers played one of their best games in the last four years, and that probably isn’t an exaggeration. The offense commanded the game, the defense stifled the Cleveland Browns all night in Week 5 and the special teams didn’t royally mess it up.
In games like this, the good performances clearly outnumber the bad. On offense, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was sharp in his limited opportunities, but the real star was the running game. Under head coach Kyle Shanahan, running backs Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman both scored at least one touchdown each and rushed for over 250 yards in total. In the passing game, tight end George Kittle continued to cement his place as an upper-echelon threat.
And above all, the vastly underrated offensive line of the 49ers, sans left tackle Joe Staley for the second week, played incredibly, allowing only six pressures, according to PFF (h/t The Athletic’s David Lombardi):
On the defensive side, things were even better. As Niner Noise’s Jeremy Wolfhart mentioned, the Niners defense was solid all around. The defensive line, except for maybe one run, was electric, stifling Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. The secondary was clutch and managed to limit Cleveland wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to just two catches. The linebackers were the worst position group on the field, and they played well above average.
Special teams was where there were some issues, although they didn’t come back to hurt the team in this game, but could very well affect the 49ers against a better opponent like the Los Angeles Rams or Seattle Seahawks.
Keep in mind, these “underwhelming” players are within the context of a 31-3 victory. The fact there are things that could be improved only show that the sky’s the limit for the 49ers.