The San Francisco 49ers blasted the Cleveland Browns, 31-3, on Monday night, improving to 4-0 and taking over sole possession of first place in the NFC West. The Seattle Seahawks (4-1) now sit a half-game back in second place.
You can bet Seattle was watching the game closely, as San Francisco showed the blueprint to beating the Browns, whom the Seahawks play on the road in Week 6.
The 49ers ran for a whopping 278 yards, averaging 7.72 yards per carry when you take out Jimmy Garoppolo’s kneel downs. Matt Breida opened the game with an 83-yard touchdown run on San Francisco’s first play from scrimmage. Breida finished with 114 yards on 14 carries. Tevin Coleman gashed the Browns as well, racking up 97 yards on 16 carries. He also scored on a 19-yard run in the second quarter.
Pete Carroll must have loved seeing the 49ers success in the run game. Chris Carson, too. Carson will enter Week 6 coming off of back-to-back 100-yard performances with 222 combined rushing yards against the Cardinals and Rams.
San Francisco’s defensive line dominated as well with four sacks and eight quarterback hits against Baker Mayfield. Nick Bosa dominated the game with two sacks, four QB hits, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery all by himself.
The 49ers, led by Bosa and DeForest Buckner, have a better pass rush than the Seahawks at this point, but Seattle is still expecting big improvements from their group in the coming weeks. Jadeveon Clowney and Ziggy Ansah have a chance to break out against the Browns.
“We’re getting pressures but we’re not getting sacks,” Clowney said on Monday. “They come in bunches. We’ve got to keep rushing and being on the same page as the guy beside you – not being in the same rush lane as the guy beside you.”
Clowney said that guys got into each other’s rush lanes too often against the Rams. That will be one of the biggest things to clean up moving forward. The good news is that Seattle still claims a 4-1 record despite its pass rush being ranked 23rd in the NFL in sacks.
“We’re winning games, and we’re not playing at our best right now, which is always a good thing,” Clowney said. “Anytime you’ve got room to improve but you’re still getting dubs, it’s great for the team. There’s a lot of season left.”
The Seahawks rarely blow anyone out, especially early in the season, so it’s hard to fathom that Seattle will steamroll Cleveland the way San Francisco did. The Browns, now 2-3, will likely play much better and with more urgency at home as well. Still, the 49ers exploited the Browns biggest flaws, and the Seahawks are plenty capable in the same areas to do the same in Week 6.