5 refreshing takeaways from 49ers' season-opening win over Steelers

Christian McCaffrey is good, and so is the 49ers defense. But what other takeaways revealed themselves in Week 1?
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) celebrates with wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) and fullback Kyle Juszczyk (44)
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) celebrates with wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) and fullback Kyle Juszczyk (44) / Joe Sargent/GettyImages
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49ers Steelers score. 30. 42. Final. 7. 55

The 49ers dominated the Steelers in Week 1, pulling off a 30-7 victory, which leads to these takeaways fans will want to know.

It appeared as if any concern about the San Francisco 49ers' historically slow starts under head coach Kyle Shanahan dissipated as soon as quarterback Brock Purdy found wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk in the end zone to wrap up the Niners' first offensive possession of the 2023 season in the Week 1 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

That seemed to open up the floodgates, as San Francisco's offense kept rolling, while the 49ers defense smothered quarterback Kenny Pickett and the Steelers' own offense to the tune of a 30-7 finish.

About everything that could go right for the Niners went right, especially All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey dominating the action on the ground with 152 yards rushing and a 65-yard score that put a dagger in the dwindling hopes that Pittsburgh could stage a comeback.

While Aiyuk and McCaffrey dominated the show, what other takeaways emerge from this contest, and why should fans feel so good about what took place for a Super Bowl-hopeful San Francisco squad?

Let's take a look.

49ers takeaway No. 5: Brandon Aiyuk is going to 'take off'

Despite leading the 49ers in receiving yards a season ago, Aiyuk is still viewed as arguably the fourth most important skill player on his offense behind McCaffrey, tight end George Kittle and fellow wideout Deebo Samuel.

Heading into his fourth season, the former first-round NFL Draft pick should be highly motivated as he campaigns for a new contract. Earlier during the offseason, Aiyuk promised to "take off."

With eight catches and 129 yards, plus two touchdowns, it's safe to say Aiyuk did just that. It's also hard to knock down this particular contested catch over Steelers cornerback Patrick Peterson either:

It sure appears as if Aiyuk is going to be trending in the direction of a superstar this year, especially if he continues to have games like he did today.