49ers beat Chargers in Week 10 Niners comeback victory on SNF

The Chargers wasted no time as they rushed for 75 yards on seven plays in Game 1 opener. Justin Herbert completed passes for 14, 17 and 32 yards en route to a touchdown. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good start for Dr. Greenlaw or Talanoa Hufanga.

The 49ers offense moved into midfield, as they tend to do. The question, as always, was whether they would strike or not. A 20-yard reception to Brandon Aiyuk put the offense in the red zone. A carry from Elijah Mitchell gave the offense the first down. And before you knew it, they were inside the 5-yard line.

The attack couldn’t strike after failing to run into the teeth of the defence, and they had to settle for a basket. Thus, an impressive drive comes to a halt, and the Niners couldn’t respond with a touchdown. So it was 7-3 after one possession apiece.

The defense did their job by forcing a punt, but Brandon Aiyuk, after taking a big hit from Derwin James, fumbled the ball after a 20-yard reception. This put the defense in a tight spot as they faced a small field from the 32-yard line. The Chargers gained five yards in three plays before settling for a field goal. This brought the score to 10-3.

Both teams traded punts, with three consecutive three-and-outs. But Mitch Wishnowsky had a deflected, unblocked punt, which meant another short field for the defense. They gave up 39 yards after Jimmie Ward gave up on an explosive play. To be fair to him, Justin Herbert threw a perfect pass:

Fixing the 1st and the goal of the 2nd, the defense did not move. A sack from Nick Bosa and an open field tackle from Jimmie helped hold the Chargers to another field goal. This brings the score to 13-3.

The 49ers needed an answer, and they got one. A 9-play, 75-yard drive that saw George Kittle pick up 21 yards after Jimmy missed Deebo open on 2nd and 12th. But Garoppolo made up for it with one of if not his best shot of the season to Ray-Ray McCloud down the right sideline for a gain of 33. Garoppolo capped the start with a 1-yard quarterback.

The defense allowed a basket before halftime after Herbert used his legs on several plays. Dr. Greenlaw was ejected after a helmet-to-helmet hit. The quarterback was a runner, so there’s no real reason for an ejection. Also, you can’t prove that Greenlaw did anything malicious.

I’m not usually one to ‘throw the flag’, but the referees had their share of misfires tonight. Deebo Samuel was masked. Nick Bosa was detained. Jake Brendel was called for a ticky-tack hold call. I just wish the referees would step out of the game and let the players play.

The defense did not allow much after this field goal. Since the first practice, the 49ers defense had forced 4 punts and held the Chargers to two field goals when they took over in Niner territory. They gave up a field goal late in the first half, but DeMeco Ryans and company have been off since the first practice.

They had to be because the offense couldn’t find the end zone. Aiyuk dropped a pass to third and a goal that would have been a touchdown. On their next drive, the 49ers went 14 plays for 77 yards on a drive that lasted 6:59. Garoppolo held on against the blitz, and Aiyuk made a hard hold before McCaffrey found the end zone. Unfortunately, Robbie Gould missed the extra point to make it 19-16.

It looked like a monumental failure. The 49ers, apparently, can never make it easy. Instead of forcing the Chargers to score a touchdown, they left the door open for Los Angeles to tie the game with a field goal.

But the defense seemed uninterested in allowing them to move the ball, as Nick Bosa collected his second sack of the match, and Azeez Al-Shaair made a tackle to help get the defense out of the field to force yet another 3- and out.

The 49ers faced a 3rd-and-9 with just over four minutes left in the game. It was a critical try and Garoppolo threw a dart outside the numbers at Aiyuk to pick up 11 yards for a first down.

After a punt, Mitch Wishnowsky pinned the Chargers at the 1-yard line with just about two minutes left. Los Angeles reached the 8-yard line, opted to go there 4th and 2nd, and Jordan Willis came under pressure to make Herbert’s throw.

The 49ers play defensively with a different level of ferocity and violence. Add to that the team’s speed and it’s easy to see why they had a shutout this half. They are a fun unit to watch. Remember that there are several saves in the field, but you have no idea. The Chargers had a few big plays, but overall the defense was amazing.

The Chargers had a 32% offensive hit rate. That’s 22 percentage points behind the 49ers. Fittingly, the game was capped off with an interception by Talanoa Hufanga. It wasn’t pretty, but that’s never the case with this team.

22-16, 49ers win.

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