Week 3 Will Test The 49ers And Their Defense

A San Francisco 49ers helmet on the bench during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on November 21, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida.
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)


Even after quarterback Trey Lance‘s season-ending ankle injury on Sunday, the outlook for the San Francisco 49ers is decent moving forward.

They have arguably the best QB2 in the NFL, Jimmy Garoppolo, taking over under center, as well as a roster that looks Super Bowl-caliber on both sides of the football.

However, there are some concerns, starting with their upcoming schedule.

They will face the Denver Broncos this Sunday, which means dealing with their new quarterback, Russell Wilson, a man who has killed previous iterations of the 49ers.

In addition, they also have other injuries to key players, including running back Elijah Mitchell and tight end George Kittle.

Those two injuries in particular have placed more pressure on their defense to pick up the slack.

This all makes Week 3 a pretty big test for that defense.


The Broncos Are Potent Offensively

In his first two games, Wilson has not played stellar ball, as he has completed only 58.9 percent of his passes and posted a passer rating of only 86.5.

However, given his history and status, no one should assume he will simply fail to perform well against his old NFC West rival.

The 49ers and Wilson’s old team, the Seattle Seahawks, were fierce rivals for a minute several years ago, as they met in the NFC Championship Game during the 2013 season.

Wilson and the Seahawks took that contest, 23-17, aided by cornerback Richard Sherman‘s late deflection.

Today, Wilson is enjoying the support of two solid running backs in Javonte Williams and two-time Pro Bowler Melvin Gordon.

Wide receiver Courtland Sutton may be embarking on a breakout season, as he has put up 194 yards in two games, putting him at eighth in the league in receiving yards through Week 2.

He is being aided by Jerry Jeudy, who has 113 yards and a touchdown so far this season.

The first two teams the 49ers have played this season, the Seahawks and Chicago Bears, didn’t have a top-flight QB, and although the Seahawks have two solid wideouts in D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, neither has matched the production of Sutton.

Nick Bosa, the 49ers’ top pass rusher, will have to be on his game, as will key members of the secondary such as Charvarius Ward and Emmanuel Moseley.

On the other hand, second-year safety Talanoa Hufanga may be merging into an impact player.

So far, he is leading San Francisco in tackles and passes defended, and he is tied with two other men for the lead in tackles for loss at three.


The 49ers Need One of Their Key Players To Get Healthy To Have A Great Chance At Beating Denver

Mitchell is expected to be out for several more weeks, which is a sizable blow to the 49ers’ running game, but there is hope that Kittle could return for the contest versus the Broncos.

He did participate in practice on Thursday, although he was only a limited participant, but he appears to be on track to suit up on Sunday.

Having him back would greatly help a Niners pass offense that ranks towards the bottom in the NFL, especially since he has great chemistry with Garoppolo.

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