Well, that was crazy! The Lions and 49ers opened up the season with one of the most bizarre endings. In what should’ve been a complete blowout, the Lions fought back until the last play. They scored 16 points in about 50 seconds and had a chance to tie it at the end. The final score of the game was 41-33. Here are some takeaways for both teams after watching. If you want to see the highlights click here.
Jimmy Garoppolo and Deebo Samuel absolutely torched the lowly Lions secondary. Garoppolo threw for 314 yards and a touchdown on only 25 passes, and Deebo accounted for 189 of those yards. He showed why he’s the YAC king, getting 109 out of his 189 yards after the catch. The two showed a great connection that should only become stronger as the season continues.
Defensively, Dre Greenlaw and Arik Armstead had big games for San Francisco. Greenlaw made a game changing play, taking an interception back to the house late in the first half. This made the game a three score affair going into half, giving the 49ers a lot of momentum. Armstead was everywhere on the defensive line. He gave guards Hal Vaitai and Jonah Jackson fits all game, garnering 10 pressures on only 27 pass rushing snaps, according to PFF.
For the Lions, T.J. Hockenson and running backs Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift stood out offensively. All the offseason hype surrounding Hockeson was validated Week 1. He looked like the best Lions receiver by far, leading the team in yards with 97 on 10 targets and 8 receptions. Williams and Swift both accounted for over 100 yards, respectively, and will be a tow headed monster all season.
There wasn’t much to like defensively for the Lions, but Tracy Walker and Romeo Okwara stood out on film. Walker had the only sack of the game and posted the best coverage grade from his safety spot. Okwara posted 4 pressures and 3 hurries in only 21 pass rushing snaps, en route to a team high 78.2 pass rush grade.
Standout Rookies for Both Teams
When Raheem Mostert went out early with an injury, it opened the door for 49ers sixth round pick Elijah Mitchell to have a breakout debut. Against what could be the worst rush defense in the league, Mitchell ran free for 104 yards on 19 totes. That’s a very efficient 5.5 YPC, and Mitchell was consistently hitting holes hard and making people miss on his carries.
For the Lions, seventh overall pick Penei Sewell had a dazzling debut. When word broke that Taylor Decker would miss the game, no one really knew what the Lions offensive line would look like. They ended up moving Sewell from RT, which he had been playing throughout his pro career, to LT. With that move, he had to line up against superstar Nick Bosa every single snap. What could’ve been a disaster turned into praise from national media, Dan Campbell, and Bosa himself as Sewell only allowed 6 pressures in 57 pass blocking snaps. He also showed his athleticism in the run game, getting to the second level with ease and giving Williams and Swift room to run.
The injury bug hit big for both teams’ cornerback room. Already thin at that position, both teams lost their #1 corner, with Jason Verrett going down for the 49ers, and Jeff Okudah for the Lions. Both are gonna be out for the year and are huge losses for their teams, respectively. Expect both teams to make internal or external moves to help the losses.
The 49ers are currently in a stacked NFC West, as all teams ended with wins. They are traveling to Philadelphia to play an up and coming Eagles squad next week. Expect to see a lot of Elijah Mitchell that game, and continue to monitor the Trey Lance situation as Kyle Shanahan continuously tries to integrate him into the offense.
The Dan Campbell era continues on Monday night next week against conference foe Green Bay. The Packers are coming off of a horrific loss against the Saints, so this may be a chance for Aaron Rodgers and his Packers to get back on track, or will prove to be a fatal blow to his “Last Dance”