The 49ers are at a crucial point in the season as they approach a stretch of primetime games. Before all that happens, they have a home game against the Arizona Cardinals. C.J. Beathard is starting in his first home game of the 2018 season and he should see lots of support from the home crowd.
Beathard may not be the same talent level as Jimmy Garoppolo, but he did control the offense well and put the 49ers in position to beat the Los Angeles Chargers last week. Throwing for 298 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions, Beathard looked pretty good under center.
Two interceptions stand out on the stat sheet but those were not his fault. The 49ers could have scored another touchdown if the ball didn’t bounce off of Garrett Celek’s hands and right to the defender. The other interception was the cause of a poor pickup of the blitz which led to a wobbly pass that was caught by a defensive lineman.
This Week 5 game against the Red Birds is a great opportunity to build some momentum going into those aforementioned primetime games. Rookie quarterback, Josh Rosen, is going into his second start of the season as this offense looks to get more dynamic.
A winnable divisional game in Week 5 is out there and here are some key points the 49ers should focus on if they want to earn the season’s second win.
The Running Man
Breida has stepped up to the role after the 49ers learned of the news that Jerick McKinnon will be out for the entire 2018 season. Currently, Breida is third in the league in rushing and that’s on only 41 attempts through four weeks. Just imagine how many yards he would have by now if he got more than an average of 10 carries per game.
Breida has never gotten more than 12 carries in the NFL. Going back to college though, in 18 games where Breida got 15 or more carries, Georgia Southern won 14 of those games. The gist of this story is, give Breida the ball more and the 49ers have a great chance to win this game.
Make The Secondary A Primary
It is pretty evident that the 49ers defense has been pretty woeful through four ga. Missing former All-Pro Richard Sherman is one attributing factor, but overall it comes to inexperience. The secondary has some promising players but their inexperience is clearly being taken advantage of.
The defense is allowing 276 yards per game and has allowed 11 touchdowns through one-quarter of the season. The Cardinals are starting the rookie Rosen this week and this is a good opportunity to fix their issues.
Do they need to be perfect? No.
They just need to make some improvements by dropping into the right coverage and wrapping up the ball carriers. If the 49ers can do that, then they can finally have something to build off of for the rest of the reason.
The KISS Principle
KISS is not only a legendary rock band, but it’s a common practice and method lots of people praise. KISS is an acronym meaning Keep It Simple Stupid developed by the Navy back in the year 1960.
The whole purpose of the principle is to keep things simple and not to over complicate something when it doesn’t need to be. In order to win this game, the 49ers need to keep their game plan simple and not worry about getting fancy. Controlling the clock, establishing the run game, and making sure to finish tackles on defense can lead to a victory against the Cardinals.
The 49ers are looking to earn their first win in the division by knocking off the Cardinals at home. This game should be pretty closely contested as both teams share relatively equal strengths and weaknesses.
Rosen is a clear upgrade over Sam Bradford, but his defense has been a little bit of a liability. Similarly, Beathard for the 49ers has also answered the call to replace the starter. Like Arizona, the San Francisco defense has displayed poor tackling and susceptibility to allowing yards and touchdowns through the air.
Both teams will trade blows back and forth throughout the game, but the running game will determine the outcome. Johnson on the Cardinals is getting close to his high-level abilities and Breida for the 49ers is doing a ton of damage on little opportunities.
The thing that sways in the 49ers’ favor is that the Cardinals defense is 31st in rushing yards allowed. This is great news for a 49ers offense that is sixth in rushing yards per game. San Francisco will play in a hard-fought battle for sure with Arizona but will end up on top in this Week 5 showdown.
Game Facts To Keep In Mind
- Josh Rosen has thrown 27 interceptions if you combine his college and professional career. 18 of those 27 have come on the road.
- Since 2010, the 49ers and Cardinals have split those 16 games with each team winning 8 games. However, San Francisco is on a six-game losing streak coming into this week’s game against Arizona.
- A reunion game as the Cardinals have lots of former 49ers players on their roster. Phil Dawson, Andy Lee, Gerald Hodges, Mike Iupati, and Antonia Bethea have all donned the red and gold at some point in their careers.