It was supposed to be a close game. It was not.
There was hardly a moment when the 49ers lacked full control over the Carolina Panthers in their 51-13 win. While the start of the second half suggested the 49ers might not be as domineering as they were in the all-encompassing first, the Panthers’ push to close the gap in the second was short-lived.
The defensive line, near-faultless to this point, crescendoed into their best game yet, smothering Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen, while Tevin Coleman and George Kittle ran rampant. Oh, and Emmanuel Sanders made an immediate impact as the 49ers’ No. 1 wide receiver, catching a touchdown pass on the opening drive.
Nick Bosa runs absolutely wild
Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead have gone back-and-forth for the team sack lead. Bosa finished the day on top, sacking Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen three times, bettering Armstead’s two. Bosa now has seven on the season. D.J. Jones had a sack of his own, too, and may have surprised a few people with his speed, relative to his size. Even Ronald Blair III got in on the action with a sack on fourth down, though that took place only after the game was decided.
Bosa was brutally dominant. After sacking Allen thrice, he picked him off in what was the play of the season thus far. He jumped a screen, returning the ball for 46 yards, stiff-arming Allen twice on the run back and shrugging off D.J. Moore once before being brought down just inside the 10-yard line.
Nick Bosa through three quarters:
• 4 tackles
• 3 sacks
• 1 interception
• 1 massive stiff-arm
— KNBR (@KNBR) October 27, 2019
… and so does Tevin Coleman
Remember when the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Jones had four rushing touchdowns two weeks ago against the Dallas Cowboys? It seems like Tevin Coleman did.
Coleman had three rushing touchdowns (11 carries, 113 yards) and one receiving touchdown (two receptions, 13 yards) against the Panthers. He had the lion’s share of touches after Matt Breida exited the game with an ankle injury which he sustained on the final play of the first half. It wasn’t as heavy-handed as the way the Panthers use Christian McCaffrey, (14 carries for 117 yards and a touchdown, four receptions for 38 yards), but it was just as consistent.
Jeff Wilson Jr. was evaluated for a head injury on a kickoff return, leaving Raheem Mostert to carry the ball once the game wound down and both second units took the field. Like Coleman, who was untouched on two of his touchdowns, Mostert got to enjoy some free rein of his own with Nick Mullens at the helm, and picked up his own rushing touchdown on their first play together.
… and so does the rest of the 49ers defense
It seemed like it was squaring up to be something of an even matchup with a pair of tremendous running games and defensive fronts. At the start of the second half, the Panthers looked to turn the tide. After punting on their first drive of the second, they forced a safety on the 49ers and followed up with a Christian McCaffrey touchdown. But that comeback threat ended as quickly as it had begun, in large part, due to the defense.
Here’s how the Panthers’ next four drives played out:
That second interception came from Richard Sherman, like Bosa, nearly brought it back to the end zone.
Sherman should’ve called a fair catch pic.twitter.com/M7PQYSUrDh
— KNBR (@KNBR) October 27, 2019
… and George Kittle, on his holiday, and Emmanuel Sanders, on his debut
With the smackdown the 49ers provided, you could almost forget that it was National Tight End Day, a holiday brought about by George Kittle. While his action diminished as the blowout reigned on, he was crucial. His first catch of the day saved an interception off the hands of Kendrick Bourne, turning it into a first down on the opening touchdown drive, which was capped off by Sanders catching his first touchdown as a 49er.
Sanders looked immediately like a player who will provide the 49ers with offensive dynamism in a way they’ve lacked on the outside this season. In combination with Kittle, the 49ers now have an impressive receiving duo.
Kittle finished with six receptions for 86 yards (both led the team) and a had a negated touchdown (at least his third of the season), while Sanders was second in receptions (four) and receiving yards (25).
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