The 49ers followed up a tough loss against the Minnesota Vikings by winning a close one against the Detroit Lions in Week 2. The team got off to a strong start and took a 30-13 lead in the fourth quarter. Despite the sloppy play on both sides of the ball down the stretch, San Francisco held off the visitors to eventually win by three.
A week ago, Vikings’ running back Dalvin Cook ran away with the distinction of being the first Fourth and Nine Running Back of the Week. The 49ers’ backs responded by gaining 100 more yards than they did the week before (90 to 190) on only three additional carries (25 to 28).
Alfred Morris performed similar to how he did last week, gaining 48 rushing yards on 14 carries. Morris used his experience and vision to find the holes in the defense and gained enough yardage to keep the chains moving on multiple occasions.
Breida, on the other hand, improved on his performance from last week and helped the 49ers with a dazzling performance on the ground. He finished with 11 carries for 138 rushing yards and a touchdown. As of Monday morning, Breida’s performance pushed him to the top of the NFL’s rushing-yard leaders and this week’s Fourth and Nine star running back award. Let’s take a look at Breida’s top plays of the day.
Breida set the tone early Sunday with a 28-yard run on the 49ers’ first play from scrimmage.
He took the handoff to the right and waited for the play to develop before making his way through the line of scrimmage. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk threw a nice lead block on Lions cornerback Teez Tabor(#31), which allowed Breida to get to open space. He finished the play by making safety Glover Quin miss on a tackle, and carried Tabor for approximately 13 yards before going down.
On this next play, the 49ers employed a little trickery in what was an important play of the game. On 3rd-and-2, Jimmy Garoppolo (#10) motioned receiver Dante Pettis (#18) into the backfield. Garoppolo faked the handoff to Pettis, dropped the ball into Breida’s hands, and the running back does the rest.
The fake to Pettis allowed Breida enough time to take the edge and gain enough yardage to earn a first down. This drive ended with a touchdown instead of a field goal, and the four-point swing could have given the Lions a win. Luckily, Breida was able to secure the ball and take the yardage that was given to him.
Breida gained chunks of yardage throughout the day, but his highlight came on this next play.
Breida took the handoff and hesitated to let Juszczyk make his block before going upfield. I really loved how patient he was before using his speed to burst through the line of scrimmage, but he owes Pierre Garcon (#15) for staying on his block until he was able to go into the endzone for a 66-yard touchdown.
Breida was hot all day, which makes you wonder why the 49ers didn’t run the ball and avoid the pair of sacks in the fourth quarter. However, they ended up winning the game and will hope that Breida’s emergence is a sign of things to come. With another tough matchup coming up against Pat Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, Breida will have to replicate this performance to help the 49ers steal a win.
Fourth and Nine Star Running Backs:
Week 1: Dalvin Cook
Week 2: Matt Breida
Sources: NFL.com, NFL Gamebook