The 49ers’ secondary redeemed itself in the second half of San Francisco’s 30-23 Week 2 victory over the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on Sunday, but there were sore points in the first half that concern NBC Sports Bay Area analyst Donte Whitner.
Matthew Stafford and the Rams offense controlled the first half and dismantled the 49ers defense. The veteran quarterback completed 14 of his 18 attempts for 143 yards before halftime. Overall, Stafford was 34 of 55 for 307 yards, while rookie Puka Nacua had 147 receiving yards. The NFL rookie had 15 receptions.
What the Rams were able to do to the 49ers through the air could give the NFC’s top teams a blueprint for future matchups this season.
“The 49ers will regret not re-signing Emmanuel Moseley and Jimmie Ward, as this defensive back group could be the downfall of the 49ers against strong teams in the NFC like the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles who have phenomenal talent. wide receiver,” Whitner said on the latest “Hitner’s Hot Take” segment. “I’m very confident in Charvarius Ward, not so confident in Ambry Thomas and Deommodore Lenoir.
Despite the salary cap, the 49ers let Moseley and Ward leave in free agency earlier this year, with the former signing a two-year deal with the Detroit Lions and the latter signing a two-year deal with the Houston Texans.
With that, the 49ers bet on Lenoir, Thomas and Isaiah Oliver, who cemented the linebacker position next to Charvarius Ward.
The 49ers already had to make adjustments at nickel during their Week 1 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the first half against the Rams looked like a continuation of those struggles.
But the position group turned things around in the second half against the Rams, as Lenoir and Oliver recorded interceptions to help seal the win for the 49ers.
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With a dominant front seven and stout safeties in Talanoa Hufanga and Tashaun Gipson Sr. the 49ers’ cornerbacks will need to step up as the season progresses if the team is to reach its goal.
But if the unit struggles in the coming weeks, the 49ers now have the salary cap space to make a move before the NFL trade deadline to fix the problem.