49ers takeaways: What we learned in 41-17 Week 2 win over Bengals

49ers takeaways: What we learned in 41-17 Week 2 win over Bengals


CINCINNATI -- The 49ers, a team that did not win away from Levi’s Stadium a year ago, left Santa Clara on Sept. 6 and will return home Sunday night with a 2-0 record.

After finding a way to win their season opener despite a flawed performance, the 49ers dominated in Week 2 from start to finish. The 49ers’ 41-17 thrashing of the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium gives the 49ers their first 2-0 start since 2012.

The last time the 49ers opened with back-to-back wins on the road was 1989. This year was only the third time after 1989 the schedule-makers called for the 49ers to play their first two games away from home.

Now, the 49ers look to keep it going next Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Levi’s Stadium. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger left the Steelers’ game Sunday against Seattle with a right elbow injury. Mason Rudolph replaced him at the start of the second half.

Here are three takeaways from their victory over the Bengals (0-2):

49ers look well-rested, start fast

Did the 49ers’ decision to remain in the Eastern time zone pay off? It might be impossible to tell, but they definitely came out strong in building a 24-10 lead at halftime.

The 49ers spent five days in Youngstown, Ohio, following their Week 1 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After three practices, the club made the short flight to Cincinnati.

The players and coaches were exhausted during the week, but coach Kyle Shanahan said he was confident that everyone would feel energized by the time the weekend rolled around. And that’s is exactly how it looked Sunday.

The 49ers’ defense came out strong with a three-and-out, including Arik Armstead’s sack of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. Then, the 49ers took over and immediately went 51 yards on four plays for a touchdown. Jimmy Garoppolo hit Marquise Goodwin on a 38-yard touchdown pass.

And the 49ers kept the momentum going at the beginning of the second half with a seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that Garoppolo capped with a 3-yard touchdown pass to rookie Deebo Samuel.

The 49ers put together a near-perfect offensive showing, rolling up 574 of total offense. Garoppolo completed 17 of 25 passes for 297 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.

Who are these guys?

You might not remember, but the 49ers of 2018 collected just seven takeaways, including two interceptions.

This year’s defense looks nothing like that group. Linebacker Kwon Alexander dropped an interception in Week 1 against the Buccaneers before he got ejected for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Jameis Winston. On Sunday, he got another chance and he made the most of it.

Alexander intercepted a Dalton pass late in the first half. The 49ers drove 52 yards on 10 plays to cap the first half with Robbie Gould’s 33-yard field goal for a 24-10 lead.

The 49ers’ defense made life difficult for Dalton with four sacks. Armstead, Ronald Blair, DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas each recorded sacks on the day.

Return of the run game

The 49ers did not get much going on the ground in Week 1 against the Buccaneers. The 49ers gained just 98 yards on 32 carries (3.1-yard average).

They had a lot more success on Sunday, as Matt Breida took over the starting job due to Tevin Coleman’s ankle sprain. Breida got to the outside repeatedly and turned on the speed en route to 121 yards rushing on 12 carries.

In the first half alone, Breida gained 67 yards on six rushing attempts. Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson rotated into the game and combined for three touchdowns.

Mostert showed his speed when he took a screen pass from Garoppolo, split the Bengals defense and scored on a 39-yard pass. Wilson was promoted Saturday from the practice squad. Wilson scored his first two career touchdowns on runs of 2 and 4 yards.

Mostert gained 83 yards on 13 carries, while Wilson added 34 yards on 10 rushes.

Eric Reid, Torrey Smith react very differently to 49ers' $1M donation


Eric Reid, Torrey Smith react very differently to 49ers' $1M donation

With protests taking place in numerous cities nationwide, 49ers CEO Jed York announced Saturday night that the team would be making a $1 million donation to local and national organizations seeking social change.

Two former 49ers teammates had different responses to York on Twitter shortly after the announcement was made.

Wide receiver Torrey Smith, who played for the 49ers in 2015 and 2016, praised York for his commitment to fighting injustices.

York even responded to Smith.

But safety Eric Reid, who was drafted by the 49ers in 2013 and played with the team through the 2017 season, was not a fan of York's donation.

Smith and Reid were teammates on the Carolina Panthers during the 2018 season.

Reid and former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick led the charge in 2016 to take a knee during the national anthem to protest social injustices plaguing the United States.

Kaepernick opted out of his contract after being told he would be released, and the 49ers didn't re-sign Reid, who would join the Panthers early in the 2018 season.

Smith defended York's handling of Kaepernick's protest, but Reid wasn't having it.

Smith could only agree with what Reid said.

The protests across the nation are in response to recent deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota and Breonna Taylor in Louisville at the hands of police.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

49ers' Jed York donates $1M to local, national organizations for change


49ers' Jed York donates $1M to local, national organizations for change

CEO Jed York announced Saturday night the 49ers will be donating $1 million to local and national organizations committed to social change.

In September 2016, the 49ers made a $1 million donation, matching the commitment of the-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, to two Bay Area charities that address social issues in collaboration with law enforcement.

Along with the organization's latest donation, York also committed support for the Players Coalition, which was co-founded in 2017 by Anquan Boldin and Malcolm Jenkins. The coalition’s goal is to make an impact on social justice and racial equality at the federal, state and local levels through advocacy, awareness, education and allocation of resources.

York’s announcement comes as protests take place across the nation. George Floyd, 46, died after being arrested by Minneapolis police on Monday. Video later surfaced that showed an officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he told officers he was struggling to breathe.

“People throughout our country are hurting,” York wrote in a statement. “Emotions are raw, and rightfully so. Heinous acts have been committed in recent weeks. Before we are able to realize impactful change, we just first have the courage and compassion as human beings to come together and acknowledge the problem: black men, women, children and other oppressed minorities continue to be systemically discriminated against.

“The 49ers organization is committing to support the legislative priorities of the Players Coalition and to donating $1 million dollars to local and national organizations who are creating change.”

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]