SANTA CLARA -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 31-21 win over the New York Giants in Week 10 on Sunday:
1 YOUTH MOVEMENT
The 49ers broke their nine-game losing streak to open the season with many of their young players – on both sides of the ball – stepping up with huge contributions.
Quarterback C.J. Beathard had his best day as a pro – and, now, maybe it is not such a foregone conclusion that coach Kyle Shanahan will elevate Jimmy Garoppolo to the starting lineup after the bye week.
Some young players provided strong days on the defensive side, too. Reuben Foster led the team with 10 tackles; safety Adrian Colbert has looked like a natural as he patrols center field; and second-year player Ronald Blair injected some pass rush into a 49ers’ defense that has been inconsistent in getting after the quarterback.
“It’s the first of many,” Foster said of the victory. “This team is special. I’m really excited about this victory and how hard our team pushed. This team has a hell of a passion for the sport. No matter how much we lose, this team does not give up. That’s what I love about this team.”
With that youth comes a lot of enthusiasm. There was a large wet spot in the middle of the locker room, where Shanahan was doused with a water bucket to celebrate the victory.
2. EMBATTLED O-LINE WINS BATTLE
Center Daniel Kilgore said his position group was tired of hearing everyone talk about how crappy the 49ers’ offensive line has been this season. (Only, he did not use the word.)
The 49ers’ offensive line paved the way for the club’s second-highest scoring output of the season. Beathard was not sacked and he was hit just twice in 25 passing attempts. That’s a huge improvement over a week ago, when the Arizona Cardinals sacked Beathard five times and knocked him down 16 times.
“I feel like I barely got hit, barely even got touched,” Beathard said. “That’s a credit to everybody. The coaching staff; the play calling; the receivers getting open; the O-line blocking their tails off, and Carlos (Hyde) and tight ends doing their jobs in protections and then obviously getting the ball out. I think they did a great job of that.”
The 49ers did not fall behind, so they could stick with the running game from start to finish. The 49ers ran the ball 33 times and gained a season-high 186 yards on the ground. The 49ers kept drives alive with an impressive 67-percent conversion rate on third downs (8 of 12).
The run set up the pass. And vice versa. Running back Carlos Hyde led the way with 98 yards receiving on 17 rushing attempts. Rookie Matt Breida entered and enjoyed plenty of success, too. Breida gained 55 yards on nine carries, including a 33-yard touchdown run.
3. GEARING UP FOR FINAL STRETCH
The 2008 Detroit Lions do not have to worry about sharing their place in history with the 49ers. (But the Cleveland Browns are still in the hunt to be the only other winless team during a 16-game regular season.)
And the 49ers are guaranteed not to lose next week, either. That’s because they can now enjoy their bye week and rest their bodies after a particularly grueling stretch of games.
The team will report to the practice facility on Monday, but Shanahan will excuse the players for the remainder of the week to fuel up for the final six-week stretch of the regular season.
The 49ers head into the bye week on a high note after experiencing for the first time.
“When you lose nine in a row you learn to savor the moments and enjoy these,” Shanahan said. “It was tough work for us to get our first win and we got it. I think the guys knew how much it meant to me and I knew how much it meant to them. I think we’re a pretty close team and I think we’ve gotten closer through adversity.”