49ers dominate Steelers early, Brock Purdy tosses early TD & defense forces INT

There's still a lot of game left, but the 49ers are off to about as hot a start as possible versus the Steelers.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages
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The 49ers couldn't have asked for a better start than what they've done against the Steelers in the first quarter of Week 1.

The San Francisco 49ers aren't acting as if they want to start off the 2023 season on a slow note.

As the road team for their Week 1 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Niners got off to a strong defensive start by forcing a 3-and-out after Pittsburgh opted to receive following the opening coin toss.

It was also second-year edge Drake Jackson getting San Francisco's first sack of the year, too, not All-Pro edge Nick Bosa.

That was fine and all, but the true domination started to reveal itself on head coach Kyle Shanahan's first offensive possession with quarterback Brock Purdy, running back Christian McCaffrey and wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk putting together an impressive seven-play, 54-yard drive.

Don't overlook tight end George Kittle hauling in a key 4th-and-1 pass from Purdy that went for 11 yards either.

Brock Purdy finds Brandon Aiyuk for 49ers' 1st touchdown of 2023

A couple of strong runs by McCaffrey helped get San Francisco into the red zone, which led to Purdy finding Aiyuk on a play-action pass for an 8-yard touchdown score that put the 49ers in a 7-0 lead:

Aiyuk beat veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson, who called out Purdy and the 49ers earlier in the week as having "tells" and also predicted an interception.

Purdy later replied, "We'll see," when he heard about Peterson's comments.

So far, advantage Purdy and the Niners. Especially with Aiyuk hauling in an impressive contested touchdown from Purdy to put his team up 17-0 just minutes into the second quarter:

Through that point, Aiyuk had four catches for 60 yards with the two scores.

Charvarius Ward picks off Steelers QB Kenny Pickett

San Francisco's defense forced one 3-and-out to open up the game, which has to be a great feeling for the team's new defensive coordinator, Steve Wilks.

But what was easily more impressive and reassuring was cornerback Charvarius Ward intercepting Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett on Pittsburgh's second offensive possession:

While San Francisco didn't turn that turnover into a touchdown, it did manage to get into field-goal range for rookie kicker Jake Moody to connect on a 41-yard field goal to put the 49ers up 10-0 early before the conclusion of the first quarter.

Pittsburgh had 2 net yards of offense and minus-2 yards rushing through that first quarter.

So far, it's all Niners. And they want nothing more than that trend to continue.

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