Playing NY Jets may be just what SF 49ers need to rebound in Week 2

The San Francisco 49ers versus the New York Jets (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
The San Francisco 49ers versus the New York Jets (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) /

After the SF 49ers’ tough Week 1 loss at home to open the season, a road game versus the NY Jets may be just what the Niners need.

Super Bowl hangover or rust?

Hard to say after just one week, but either way, the SF 49ers looked less than ready in their season-opening 24-20 home loss to the Arizona Cardinals. And while there was plenty of blame to go around, Week 2 is already on the horizon.

And a road game at the New York Jets could provide the Niners a chance to break into the win column if they take advantage of a few opportunities that could present themselves this Sunday.

SF 49ers winning on third down

San Francisco’s offense was just 2-of-11 on third down against the Cards, and the 49ers defense allowed quarterback Kyler Murray and the Cardinals offense, mostly Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, to convert 7-of-14 on third down.

If the SF 49ers want to earn a road victory at MetLife Stadium this Sunday, that cannot continue.

Thankfully, the Jets defense yielded a first down 39.1 percent of the time last season and started 2020 by allowing the Bills to convert 50 percent (7-of-14) on third downs last Sunday in their 27-17 loss at Buffalo.

Advantage: San Francisco.

SF 49ers Jimmy Garoppolo playing better

Head coach Kyle Shanahan was direct when commenting on the play of his starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, stating in his post-game press conference Garoppolo needs to play better.

Shanahan and Jimmy G will most assuredly make some adjustments, and there will be some plays designed and called to get him in a rhythm early against the Jets. That should hopefully include some play designs for easier third-down conversions.

The team’s injury-depleted receiving corps added a veteran presence this week with Mohamed Sanu signing, and his familiarity with Shanahan from their time together with the Atlanta Falcons can only help in acclimating him quickly to the offense.

And with rookie Brandon Aiyuk scheduled to play or the first time this season after tweaking his hamstring in training camp, Garoppolo may have another playmaker at his disposal this week.

SF 49ers defensive front gets to face Sam Darnold

Who could forget how a mic’d up Jets quarterback, Sam Darnold, confessed last October in a game against the New England Patriots to “seeing ghosts.”

The Patriots won that game 33-0, and Darnold took quite a bit of heat for his blunt self-assessment.

Well, he may be seeing even more Sunday, as defensive linemen Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Arik Armstead and Co. will be looking for some redemption after struggling with Murray’s scrambling act in Week 1, allowing 91 rush yards and a touchdown to the second-year signal-caller.

Thankfully, Darnold could be considered a statue in comparison. He ran just one time for 6 yards against the Bills.

The Niners defensive front struggled last year against mobile quarterbacks, including both Murray and the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson twice apiece and the Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson, allowing a 71 QBR in those contests. However, the 49ers feasted on pocket passers in 2019, allowing just a 28 QBR, according to ESPN Stats Info.

With Darnold still struggling with consistency (just 215 yards, one touchdown, one interception in passing mode while trailing the majority of the game), San Francisco should be able to get to him and finish off some tackles and sacks the defense otherwise struggled to close out while facing Murray.

The 49ers were definitely off their game against the Cardinals in Week 1. But it’s too early in the season to tell if that was an anomaly or a trend.

Let’s hope for the former rather than the latter. Starting the season 0-2 is nearly a death sentence for teams seeking to earn a playoff spot.

Next. 3 bright spots from 49ers' Week 1 loss vs. Cardinals. dark

If this team is intent on making a deep playoff run and finishing it with a Super Bowl win in February, the road to recovery starts Sunday against the Jets.