49ers biggest stud, dud from Week 3 loss to Broncos

Talanoa Hufanga #29 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Talanoa Hufanga #29 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

It shouldn’t surprise you that the 49ers’ biggest stud from Week 3’s loss to the Broncos was on the defensive side of the ball and not on offense.

A Week 3 primetime Sunday night showdown between the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos saw good defense mixed with extremely poor offensive execution. It was a disappointing outcome for the boys from the Bay Area, but let’s nevertheless discuss the Niners’ studs and duds from their loss to the Broncos.

Even though it’s been an ugly 1-2 start to the 2022 season for San Francisco, all has not been lost in the midst of disappointment. The one element that has been consistent from Week 1 is the defensive. This group has yet to surrender 20-plus in a game this season and is holding opponents to 3.9 yards per play.

And while there are plenty of contributors on that side of the ball, second-year safety Talanoa Hufanga has been nothing less than special and is perhaps the lone bright spot for the team right now. If you turn on any of the tape, you’ll notice No. 29 flying around all over the field making plays.

Hufanga leads the team in tackles with 17, and his field awareness makes him an indispensable piece of the defense, one that didn’t deserve to lose two of its first three games of the season because of its stellar play. Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans has done an outstanding job bringing the best out of all this talent on the roster.

As long as the defense continues doing its job and improving on a weekly basis, it won’t be long until the offense catches up to match their level of play.

The injury bug has once again become a thorn in the side of San Francisco. The team was already without running back Elijah Mitchell and quarterback Trey Lance, but then it lost linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair along with All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams against Denver, and both are expected out for multiple weeks.

Replacing a player like Williams is hard to do. However, once he went down with a high-ankle sprain, the Niners initially went with backup lineman Jaylon Moore.

Unfortunately for Moore, he had a poor performance in Week 3, which earned him a “dud” label for the week. He was only in the game for seven plays before the coaching staff saw enough and benched him in favor of fellow backup Colton McKivitz.

During his brief appearance, Moore was beaten badly on two specific occasions that resulted in a sack and an errant throw.

Things are not as perfect as many anticipated, but it’s still very early in the season and this team has a championship pedigree.

The 49ers will have another primetime chance to show the world what they’re truly capable of when the defending Super Bowl champs Los Angeles Rams, come to town for a Monday night showdown.

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