3 minor (but important) concerns 49ers must fix entering Week 2 vs. Rams

What would you say the 49ers need to fix despite dominating the Steelers in Week 1?
San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams
San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams / Michael Owens/GettyImages

Fox. 49ers -8. 49ers Rams opening. 1-0. 51. 4:05 p.m. ET. 1-0. 42. Sunday, Sept. 17

The 49ers look to improve to 2-0 in the young season and want to do so against the Rams. But they'll need to clean up some pieces first.

The San Francisco 49ers have to be feeling pretty good in the wake of their one-sided Week 1 road victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday.

After all, that 30-7 victory catapulted the Niners into the top spot in most NFL power rankings entering Week 2. And with another "road" matchup on the docket, heading to Southern California to take on the 1-0 Los Angeles Rams at SoFI Stadium... er... Levi's South, head coach Kyle Shanahan's squad can ensure that top spot stays theirs with another victory.

Pound for pound, San Francisco outclasses LA in nearly every aspect. Plus, with Los Angeles' top wide receiver, Cooper Kupp sidelined with an injury, it'll be even more challenging for head coach Sean McVay to test the 49ers defense.

That said, the Niners could easily be at risk of defeating themselves in this one, and there are also some potential weaknesses Shanahan and Co. will want cleaned up now ahead of Sunday's contest.

Let's take a look at three that'll need some attention.

49ers must first fix their penalties

San Francisco isn't the worst in the league after one week, but it's close.

The Baltimore Ravens committed 13 total penalties in Week 1, the most in the NFL so far, yet the 49ers rank second most with 11 for 85 yards, and five of which were of the frustrating presnap variety.

Cornerback Deommodore Lenoir was flagged twice, while right guard Spencer Burford (more on him in a second) was flagged thrice.

A common thought is 100 penalty yards almost is equivalent to giving the opposing team seven points.

While the Niners weren't quite at that point, it was close. And giving up penalty yardage in key situations may be the lone way Los Angeles stands a chance at an upset.

Second, 49ers must shore up right side of O-line

Burford had a tough time in the penalty department last Sunday, and he also gave up four pressures, according to Pro Football Focus.

But the linemate directly to his right, Colton McKivitz, easily had a worse game.

PFF blamed McKivitz for all three sacks given up to Steelers edge T.J. Watt during the contest, and now, the first-year starter faces the prospects of lining up against a perennial Defensive Player of the Year in Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who can play on the inside or outside.

McKivitz is looking to bounce back, however.

“Now the biggest thing is going out there in practice and working on those, getting more depth on the sets and using the length I do have,” McKivitz said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “Those are the biggest things going into this week is having a bounce-back game and playing with length.”

Considering Donald is still a player who can wreck an offensive game plan by himself, both McKivitz and Burford will need to be on point.

Third, 49ers must shore up special teams to prevent long kickoff returns

San Francisco dominated essentially every aspect of its Week 1 win, yes. But special teams, primarily in kickoff returns, weren't exactly great.

The 49ers kicked off a lot on Sunday, but 91 yards on three takeouts equate to an average of 30.3 yards per return, which is second most behind the Philadelphia Eagles' 31 yards allowed per return from the opening week.

Granted, LA's return specialist, Kyren Williams, had only one kickoff return for 8 yards in Week 1, so that doesn't say much.

But what could say a lot is if the Niners' kickoff coverage units are lackluster, as that could potentially point to notably better field position for Los Angeles when the two teams kick off on Sunday, Sept. 17 at 4:05 p.m.

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