Believe the hype — the 2019 49ers are legit

The 41-17 win in Cincinnati was the best in the Shanahan era

Tommy Call
September 15, 2019 - 4:17 pm

The minute Kyle Shanahan stepped in Santa Clara there was a sense of hope the 49ers haven't seen in years. The young offensive guru with deep coaching bloodlines erased a dark cloud left behind by Chip Kelly and Jim Tomsula. Swagger, moxie, hype or whatever you want to call it, Shanahan had enough of it to inspire belief.

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When the 49ers acquired Jimmy Garoppolo the hype grew around what the 49ers could be, but they never answered the bell. Injuries and underwhelming rosters derailed the 49ers immediate plan, but each offseason, the tandem of Garoppolo and Shanahan still brought hope. 

After two-straight road victories to start 2019, for the first time, we can officially buy the hype. The 49ers 41-17 win in Cincinnati was their best performance in the Shanahan era. 

Shanahan finally lived up to his "offensive guru" mantra. We’ve seen flashes, but haven’t seen a complete game like today's bout.

Shanahan was hitting on all cylinders. There was creativity installed into the run game and passing attack while the defense dominated. Shanahan seemed to be on the same page with every unit. 

The Bengals rookie head coach Zac Taylor was praised for his gameplan against the Seattle Seahawks in week one. Shanahan essentially dunked on Taylor in week two. Shanahan threw the kitchen sink at Taylor and it resulted in a blow out victory for the 49ers. 

It looks like he finally has confidence in the team he has on the field. The 49ers performance in Cincinnatti should be a tipping point for not only the team but Shanahan himself. Shanahan, similar to the rest of the 49ers needed a game like this to build confidence that they’re worthy of the hype.

Many national analysts and 95.7 The Game insiders labeled the 49ers as a team to take the next step. On the opening road trip of the 2019 season, they took that step. 

With each prediction, there was a stipulation— Garoppolo needed to bounce back, the rookie wide receivers needed to step up and the defense needed to hold their own. All those boxes were checked in Cincinnati.  

Garoppolo did have one gaff but was able to clean things up to turn in a solid day with 297 yards passing and three touchdowns. Garoppolo spread the ball around hitting eight different receivers all over the field. Garoppolo had five passes down the field for 10-yards or more. Garoppolo’s connection down the field with several different receivers is a positive sign after his up and down day in Tampa Bay. 

Rookie Deebo Samuel stepped up in a big way versus Cincinnati. He led the way for the 49ers with eight catches for 87 yards and one touchdown. Samuel also led the team in targets with seven. This is important because the 49ers were able to put 41 points on the board without having to force the football to George Kittle. Kittle caught all three of his targets for 54 yards. 

On the other side of the football, the 49ers defense flat out dominated. It’s only week two, but in two weeks the 49ers defense looks like it’s a top-five defense in the league. The 49ers only allowed 25 yards rushing while harassing Andy Dalton every time he dropped back. 

If you have your doubts about Garoppolo or the 49ers offense there’s nothing you can say about the 49ers defense. They're legit.

After two games Robert Saleh’s group looks like one of the best in the league. It’s simple— if this unit continues to play this way the 49ers should be in every game they play. 

The 49ers now head to Santa Clara for their home opener with a 2-0 record. It’s the first the 49ers first 2-0 start since 2012. Levi’s Stadium should be on a level we’ve never seen before.

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