If the 49ers were handing out game balls on Sunday, hopefully they gave one to coach Kyle Shanahan, and that's because he put together a nearly perfect game plan for the team during its 41-17 blowout win in Cincinnati.
In a game where the 49ers racked up 572 yards -- the team's highest total since 2012 -- Shanahan had the Bengals guessing on nearly every offensive play that San Francisco ran. The 49ers were basically able to do whatever they wanted in game where they totaled 313 yards through the air and 259 yards on the ground.
It was pretty clear in the first quarter that the Bengals were overmatched against Shanahan's offense. On Jimmy Garoppolo's first touchdown of the day, the quarterback found Marquise Goodwin, who couldn't have been more wide open on a score that came from 38 yards out.
Opening drive results in this @JimmyG_10 to @marquisegoodwin 38-yard touchdown 👏#GoNiners pic.twitter.com/TgoCV6Ct7j— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) September 15, 2019
Week 2 is in the books and there's a lot to go over. Fortunately Will Brinson, John Breech, Ryan Wilson and Sean Wagner-McGough are here to break everything down on the latest episode of the Pick Six Podcast. Listen to the full show below and be sure to subscribe right here.
Shanahan wasn't just dialing up the long ball though.
On their next possession following Goodwin's score, Shanahan called a screen that caught the Bengals completely off guard. The 49ers ran it to perfection and Raheem Mostert ended scoring on the play from 39 yards out.
#49ers scoring drive: 8 plays, 84 yards, 4:07 resulting in the 39-yard TD for @RMos_8Ball! #SFvsCIN pic.twitter.com/Xvy10clTIz— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) September 15, 2019
For 49ers fans, the biggest highlight of the win was probably watching Garoppolo, who looked confident just one week after struggling through San Francisco's opener. The 49ers finished the first half against the Bengals with 291 total yards, which was more than they put up in the entire game against the Buccaneers in Week 1 (256 yards).
Overall, Garoppolo threw for 297 yards and three touchdowns.
With Garoppolo on fire, the Bengals never seemed to have any idea what was coming next, which allowed Shanahan to get the 49ers ground game going. Led by Matt Breida, who rushed for 121 yards, the 49ers totaled 259 yards on the ground, which was their highest rushing since December 2014.
Although the 49ers struggled during Shanahan's first two years with the team, it's starting to look like this is going to be the season where he's finally able to put all the pieces of the puzzle together after nearly 24 months of building.
The thing about the 2019 49ers is that they're already doing things that the team hasn't done in years. The win against the Bengals means they're now 2-0 in the Eastern time zone, which doesn't even seem believable when you consider they went 0-12 in Eastern time from 2015 to 2018.
The 41 points against the Bengals means the 49ers have scored 30 or more points in back-to-back games to start the season for the first time since 1998. Also, the 49ers' first two wins also came on the road, which marks the first time San Francisco has won back-to-back road games to start a season since 1989, and as 49ers fans know, that 1989 season ended with a Super Bowl win. And not just any Super Bowl win, but the most dominant win in Super Bowl history (55-10 over the Broncos).
The 49ers front office has shown plenty of patience with Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, and that patience is now paying off with a 2019 season that's starting to look like it could turn out to be special. The 49ers will be hosting Pittsburgh in Week 3 and will be gunning start off 3-0 for the first time since 1998.
San Francisco 41-17 over Cincinnati
|Kyle Shanahan clearly knew what he was going when he decided to load up the 49ers roster with running backs. Although the 49ers didn't have their top two highest-paid backs -- Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon -- that didn't matter, because they had Matt Breida (12 carries, 121 rushing yards) and Raheem Mostert (13 carries, 83 yards), who combined for 204 yards on the ground. Jeff Wilson Jr. also got in on the rushing action with 34 yards and two touchdowns that probably didn't help your fantasy team.|
|Apparently, Cincinnati's opener in Seattle was fool's gold for Bengals fans, because if Week 2 proved one thing it's that the team's biggest problems from 2018 -- their defense and their offensive line -- still haven't been fixed. The Bengals, who had the worst defense in the NFL last season, looked helpless against the 49ers, surrendering 572 yards of total offense to San Francisco. It was the second highest yardage total the Bengals have given up since 2007. The Bengals offensive line also struggled. Not only did Andy Dalton get sacked four times, but the Bengals only got 25 yards on the ground, their lowest rushing total since 2012.|
Buffalo 28-14 over N.Y. Giants
|Giants coach Pat Shumur is probably already regretting everything he said about Josh Allen in the lead up to this game. Although Shurmur isn't sure if Allen is an NFL-caliber starter, the Bills are definitely sure, especially after what they saw at MetLife Stadium. Allen led the Bills to touchdowns on three of their first four offensive drives against the Giants, and the impressive part is that all three of those drives went for more than 70 yards, including a seven-play, 98-yard drive in the second quarter. Allen finished with 253 passing yards and a touchdown, and although he cooled down in the second half, that didn't matter, because the Bills defense stepped up.|
|It might finally be time for the Giants to bench Eli Manning. Manning started the game 0-for-4, didn't complete his first pass until the second quarter, and things only got uglier from there in a game where Manning threw for just 202 yards along with two interceptions. The only offense the Giants got came from Saquon Barkley, and although he had a big game with 107 yards, only 46 of those came after the first quarter. Basically, the Giants fell apart once the the Bills figured out how to contain Barkley.|
Houston 13-12 over Jacksonville
|With a sixth-round rookie starting at quarterback and multiple starters out due to injury, the Jaguars had no business keeping this game close, but they were able to do that thanks to a gutsy performance from Gardner Minshew and the team's defense. After watching the Texans explode for 414 yards in Week 1, the Jags managed to hold Houston to just 263 total yards. Of course, the best news for the Jags is that they look like they're going to be in good hands with Minshew. Not only did the rookie quarterback throw for 213 yards, but he threw a TD pass with just 30 seconds left to play that could have won the game, but the Jags weren't able to convert their two-point conversion.|
|One day, the Texans offensive line will actually protect Deshaun Watson in a game, but this wasn't that day. For the second week in a row, Watson got hammered by the opposing defense. Against the Jaguars, Watson was sacked four times, marking the eighth straight game that he's been sacked four or more times, which ties an NFL record. Although the Texans struggled on offense, their defense came through in the win. Whitney Mercilus forced a fumble on a huge fourth quarter sack and J.J. Watt ended up recovering it at Jacksonville's 11-yard line, setting up Houston's only touchdown of the game.|
Baltimore 23-17 over Arizona
|The Cardinals might have been able to win this game if Kliff Kingsbury had been willing to take any risks against the Ravens. On three different drives in this game, the Cardinals drove inside Baltimore's 5-yard line, but didn't come away with a single touchdown due to Kingsbury's conservative play calling. Kingsbury probably should've had shown a little more trust in Kyler Murray, who diced up the Ravens defense for 349 passing yards.|
|In Week 1, Lamar Jackson was unstoppable through the air. This week, the Ravens quarterback was unstoppable on the ground. The Cardinals defense had no answers for Jackson, who rushed for 120 yards on 16 carries, which is an absurdly impressive 7.5 yards per carry. Jackson also did some damage with his right arm again, throwing for 272 yards and two touchdowns. The Ravens have now put up 1,083 yards of total offense through two weeks, which is the third most in NFL history. The two teams in front of them on that list both went to the Super Bowl (1991 Bills, 2011 Patriots).|
Dallas 31-21 over Washington
|At first blush, you'd think the Cowboys deserve an A for what they did against the Redskins in Week 2, but you'd be wrong. They suffered a sloppy start offensively as well as defensively, and allowed the Redskins to fire out of the gate early to a 7-0 start. Credit them for shaking off the early cobwebs and locking back in, though, because they found their groove in the second quarter and never looked back after rattling off 21 unanswered points. On the heels of a 51-yard touchdown pass from Prescott to Devin Smith, the Cowboys used the stretched field to attack underneath and rack up rushing yards against a suddenly nervous Redskins team that began to play off in coverage. Kellen Moore looked just as sharp as he did in his Week 1 dismantling of the Giants, and notice has been served that he's no fluke. The same goes for Dak Prescott, who didn't need a 400-plys yard passing game to win, because he showed he can do damage on the ground as well. He combined with a 111-yard outing from Elliott to make for one of the most balanced offensive attacks you'll see this week. Once the defense cleans things up -- which includes not dropping two interceptions -- the Cowboys will truly be a force.|
|It wasn't all bad for Washington, but it was bad enough they coughed up an early lead to lose 31-21 on their home field. Case Keenum and Adrian Peterson got off to solid starts but once the Cowboys began pulling away, the latter was negated as the Redskins tried to climb over a two-touchdown hump. Once they became one dimensional, the only way to prosper would've been for Keenum to find another gear and for his questionable wide receiver corps to play outside of themselves. Neither of those two things happened, and although Keenum threw for 221 yards and two touchdowns on 26-for-37 passing, much of it came when the Cowboys dropped back into more of a prevent defense to prevent the big play from swinging momentum back in their opponent's favor. Peterson ended up leading the Redskins rushing attack with only 25 yards, and the highest receiving yard tally came by way of rookie third-round pick Terry McLaurin -- who had 62 yards and a touchdown -- making it clear just how much the Redskins struggled to keep things moving in their favor offensively.|
Cowboys-Redskins grades by Patrik Walker
New England 43-0 over Miami
|A 43-0 win normally warrants a A+, but the opponent needs to be accounted for in this game. Miami is an inferior opponent and the Patriots still have areas they could have improved on. Sony Michel put the ball on the ground and Stephen Gostkowski missed two extra points and a field goal attempt in this win.|
|Miami couldn't get into New England territory for the bulk of this game and was never able to hit the end zone. Defensively, Tom Brady sliced them up all afternoon. They're just not a good football team right now.|
Patriots-Dolphins grades by Tyler Sullivan
Detroit 13-10 over L.A. Chargers
|The Chargers could have been 2-0, but Anthony Lynn's decision before the game proved costly. Starting kicker Mike Badgley was questionable prior to the game with a groin injury and Lynn did not sign a kicker as an insurance policy. The result was punter Ty Long missing 39- and 41-yard field goals in the comfy dome of Ford Field on kicks that weren't even close. In addition to those special teams mistakes, Austin Ekeler fumbled at the 1-yard line that would have given the Chargers a two-score lead in the third quarter. Philip Rivers also had a costly mistake with the Chargers down 13-10 with under two minutes left. taking a delay of game penalty that pinned the Chargers to a third-and-19 at the Lions 28. The next play, Rivers forced a ball up to Keenan Allen that was intercepted by Darius Slay. Mistakes badly cost the Chargers a 2-0 start.|
|The Lions had their share of mistakes in this one as well, but the Chargers made more mistakes that Detroit was able to take advantage of. Matthew Stafford and the Lions took the lead for good on a Stafford 31-yard pass to Kenny Golladay with 7:29 left and Darius Slay had the end zone interception off Philip Rivers with 1:03 left to get Detroit its first win of the year. The defense allowed 424 yards and 6.8 yards per play, but forced two critical turnovers deep in their own territory. Stafford threw two interceptions, but was 5 for 5 on the game-winning drive and completed a third-and-6 pass to Jesse James for seven yards to seal the win. Matt Prater missed an extra point and 40-yard field goal, but this was a resilient win for the Lions, who could easily be 2-0.|
Chargers-Lions grades by Jeff Kerr
Indianapolis 19-17 over Tennessee
|Jacoby Brissett threw for a career-high three touchdowns, but the Colts' first victory in 2019 was not pretty. They got off to a fast start and held a 13-7 halftime lead, but allowed the Titans to score 10 unanswered points in the third quarter. Indianapolis rallied, however, and scored a fourth quarter touchdown to seal the deal. They played inconsistently on both sides of the ball, but it was good enough to get the win, and that's all that matters. The Colts got the win despite another ugly performance from Adam Vinatieri, who missed two extra points.|
|What happened? This sure doesn't look like the team that blew out the Cleveland Browns by 30 points last week. The offense couldn't move the chains, Marcus Mariota made some questionable decisions and they looked uncomfortable playing with a lead. They had a chance to orchestrate a game-winning drive, but failed to do so. The defense played fairly well, but it just wasn't enough. We've seen two different Titans teams through two weeks, which has all of us wondering what we will see next week.|
Colts-Titans grades by Jordan Dajani
Seattle 28-26 over Pittsburgh
|Seattle got a win on the road in a tough environment. You have to give them credit for that. But they were extremely sloppy in this game (10 penalties, four sacks allowed, two fumbles), and almost let a backup quarterback make a comeback on them. Still, they're now off to a 2-0 start.|
|Well, things could get interesting in Pittsburgh pretty soon. The Steelers are 0-2. Ben Roethlisberger and James Conner exited this game with injuries. So did Vince Williams and so did Sean Davis. The Steelers get a poor grade due to the loss, but Mason Rudolph looked pretty nice in relief of Big Ben.|
Seahawks-Steelers grades by Jared Dubin
Green Bay 21-16 over Minnesota
|The Vikings deserve a ton of credit for fighting back after falling behind 21-0 16 minutes into Sunday's game. Dalvin Cook rumbled for 154 yards, while the Vikings' defense didn't allow a single point on Green Bay's last 11 possessions. While their defense made the right adjustments against Aaron Rodgers in the second half, Minnesota never found an answer for running back Aaron Jones, who amassed 150 all-purpose yards and a score on 27 touches. The Vikings will also need to work on Kirk Cousins' accuracy, with Cousins failing to complete half of his 32 attempts while throwing a crucial end zone interception to Kevin King with six minutes left.|
|Green Bay's defense has now strung together two impressive efforts in their first two games. After holding the Bears to a field goal in Week 1, the Packers held Minnesota to just 16 points and 4 of 13 efficiency on third down. And while they did make the critical plays to pull out the win, Green Bay did allow three big plays that allowed the Vikings to get back into the game. The Packers' passing game cooled off considerably after coming out red hot on Sunday. Rodgers, who finished the game with just 209 yards passing, has yet to truly settle into new head coach Matt LaFleur's offense. Green Bay's rushing attack took a big step forward, however, as Jones looks like he will bring balance and stability to the Packers' offense if the passing game stalls.|
Vikings-Packers grades by Bryan DeArdo
Chicago 16-14 over Denver
|The Bears offense didn't do much in this game, but Matt Nagy probably doesn't care about that after watching his kicker actually come through for once. Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro went 3-for-3 in Denver with field goals from 40 and 52 yards. The only thing more impressive than Pineiro was the performance the Bears got from their defense. Not only did they keep the Broncos out of the end zone until late in the fourth quarter, but the Bears also came up with a key interception earlier in the fourth quarter after Denver had driven all the way down to Chicago's two-yard line. As for the Bears offense, they should just burn the film from this game and move on.|
|Broncos fans probably thought this game was being played in the upside down with the way it ended. For once, their offense, which has been horrible this year, came up in the clutch, only to watch the usually reliable Broncos defense melt down at the worst possible moment. This is going to be a tough loss to swallow for Broncos coach Vic Fangio, who was the defensive coordinator for the Bears last season. Through two weeks, the Broncos have more questions than answers. Their offense is struggling and their defense doesn't look to be as good as it has been in the past.|
Kansas City 28-10 Oakland
|After watching the Chiefs be held scoreless in the first quarter, Patrick Mahomes caught fire in the second quarter and then burnt the Raiders defense to a crisp. Mahomes responded with 278 yards and four touchdown passes in the second quarter, which turned this game into a blowout. With Tyreek Hill sidelined, Mahomes found a new weapon in Demarcus Robinson, who caught six passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Before Sunday, Robinson had never topped 100 yards in a game.|
|After carrying the Raiders to a win in Week 1, Derek Carr might have cost his team a shot winning in Week 2. Although Carr got off to a hot start in the first quarter (6 of 9 for 71 yards and a TD), he went ice cold after. Over the game's final three quarters, Carr threw for just 127 yards while also throwing two ugly interceptions, including one in the end zone that was so badly thrown, it seemed to upset Tyrell Williams. Although the Raiders defense got shredded for 28 points in the second quarter, the unit held the Chiefs scoreless in three different quarters, which is a rarity when you're playing a team led by Patrick Mahomes.|
L.A. Rams 27-9 over New Orleans
|Yes, they were robbed of a touchdown by another bout of poor officiating. But even with that score, they would've mustered zero offensive TDs. You obviously also can't knock them for losing Drew Brees, their most important player, but Sunday showed how paper-thin they really are without No. 9. Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, all the weapons just disappeared. Their D-line had some promising plays, but all in all, the Saints were not very good in Week 2. Considering the circumstances, it could've been worse.|
|Another week, another wave of inconsistency from Jared Goff, who faced quite a bit of pressure up front. The Rams also obviously benefited from the blown call that stripped the Saints of a score. This week, however, Goff also came through when it mattered most. Couple that with Sean McVay finding a way to showcase almost every one of his many weapons and the defense forcing Brees replacement Teddy Bridgewater to dink and dunk for the entirety of his playing time, and it was a really encouraging Sunday for L.A. Clean up the O-line somehow, and they'll be even better.|
Saints-Rams grades by Cody Benjamin
Atlanta 24-20 over Philadelphia
|It's a miracle the Eagles were even able to keep this game close considering all the injuries they suffered, but they were, thanks in large part to a defense that terrorized Matt Ryan all night. The Eagles forced Ryan into three interceptions and kept him in check for most of the game -- well, until he hit Julio Jones on a fourth down TD pass in the fourth quarter. As for the offense, although Carson Wentz struggled at times, it was hard to blame him, and that's because he didn't get any protection from an Eagles offensive line that gave up three sacks. Wentz also didn't get any help from an Eagles running game that totaled just 49 yards on 21 carries.|
|There's a reason the Falcons gave Julio Jones the largest receiving contract in NFL history, and he showed off that reason in this game. Jones caught five passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns against the Eagles, including a 54-yard TD catch with just 2:10 left to play that ended up being the game-winner. The play of Jones helped the Falcons overcome a disastrous night by Matt Ryan, who threw three interceptions. Defensively, the biggest performance came from Desmond Trufant, who picked off Wentz twice.|
Cleveland 23-3 over N.Y. Jets
|In his return to MetLife Stadium, Odell Beckham put on a show. Not only did Beckham make a wild one-handed catch in the first half, but he also tacked on a career-long 89-yard touchdown catch in the second half of Cleveland's win. Overall, Beckham finished with six catches for 161 yards, which is the fourth-highest total of his career. Although Beckham put up big numbers, the Browns offense had an uneven night. On the other hand, their defense was spectacular, holding the Jets to just 251 yards. The Jets offensive line had no answers for Myles Garrett, who racked up three of Cleveland's four sacks.|
|The Jets better hope that Sam Darnold returns quicker than expected, because their offense is completely helpless without out him. With Darnold out, the Jets had an ugly first half against the Brown, finishing with -13 yards, and yes, that's a negative. Although the Jets did finish with a positive amount of passing yards (167), there wasn't much else positive about the way they played. Things are likely only going to get worse for the Jets because starting quarterback Trevor Siemian left the game with an injury, which means the Jets could be down to third-string QB Luke Falk for the next few weeks. The lone bright spot for the Jets was Le'Veon Bell, who totaled 171 yards on 31 touches.|