TAMPA, Fla. – Yes, it was far from perfect. But that is for the 49ers to comb through and dissect on another day ... like Monday.
“I think there were some ups and downs, obviously, some things to learn from,” 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said after the team’s 31-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday in the regular-season opener.
“But it is always great to start the season 1-0.”
The 49ers had three first-half touchdowns called back due to penalties. And speaking of penalties, the 49ers were flagged 11 times for 87 yards. Garoppolo threw a pick-six, and rookie receiver Deebo Samuel fumbled.
But the negatives were offset by enough positives, such as four takeaways, including interception returns for touchdowns from Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon.
The 49ers traveled to Youngstown, Ohio, after the game. The team will practice at Youngstown State through Friday before the 49ers’ Week 2 game at the Cincinnati Bengals.
Here is the 49ers’ report card from their Week 1 victory at Tampa Bay:
The 49ers were not able to generate much of a consistent running back with Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert. Coleman gained 23 yards on six carries (3.8 average) before leaving with a left ankle injury. He is expected to miss multiple weeks. Mostert was the team’s leading rusher with 40 yards on nine carries. Breida had 37 yards on 15 attempts.
Jimmy Garoppolo had an up-and-down day as he made his return after missing the final 13 games of 2018 with a torn ACL. He made a telegraphed throw that Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargreaves intercepted and returned for a touchdown. He had a perfectly thrown deep ball to Richie James for a 39-yard touchdown early in the second half.
Garoppolo completed 18 of 27 pass attempts for 166 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He had two touchdowns, both to George Kittle, nullified by penalties. Rookie Deebo Samuel lost a fumble after a completion late in the first half that prevented the 49ers an opportunity to kick a field goal.
The 49ers may have a difficult time defending the run out of their wide-9 alignment. The Buccaneers rushed for 121 yards, with Ronald Jones rushing for 75 yards on just 13 rushing attempts.
Linebacker Fred Warner recorded a team-high nine tackles, as the 49ers had to play the final three quarters without Kwon Alexander, who was ejected for his hit on a sliding Jameis Winston. This is an area that the club will have to tighten up.
Sherman and Witherspoon had interception returns for touchdowns, and linebacker Mark Nzeocha recorded the first interception of the game when he thwarted an early Buccaneers scoring opportunity. The 49ers knew if they pressured Winston, there would be some opportunities for big plays. They capitalized.
Free safety Tarvarius Moore made a big play on a fourth-and-goal down play in the fourth quarter when he broke up a pass intended for receiver Chris Godwin. Winston completed just 20 of 36 pass attempts for 194 yards and a touchdown. His passer rating was 45.4.
Nzeocha broke through to block a Bradley Pinion punt in the first quarter to lead to the 49ers’ first three points of the game. Robbie Gould made field goals of 29, 36 and 47 yards. His 57-yard attempt came up short, hitting the cross bar.
Mitch Wishnowsky’s kickoffs were good. He averaged 45.5 yards (gross and net) on his two punt attempts. Emmanuel Moseley made a great form tackle against Bobo Wilson for no return yards on Wishnowsky’s 54-yard punt in the first half.
It was far from perfect, of course. But for where the 49ers have been, a win – any win – on the road is a great win. The defense showed a lot of promise. The offense had its moments, too, but many of their good plays were nullified due to penalties.
It’s a good jumping-off point for the 49ers and coach Kyle Shanahan when he can talk about all the things that went wrong, and they still picked up a victory away from Levi’s Stadium.