Photo credit: Sam Roberts, Freeze Frame
After the 49ers’ loss to Maryland a short week ago, the 49ers fell to 0-3, which coming into the season, many would not have expected. With the revamped defensive staff, the top-tier receiving core, and a plethora of returners all over the roster, this start perplexes many. Now, the 49ers must travel to Atlanta to face their biggest rushing threat yet in Georgia State.
The Panthers’ two losses came against South Carolina, a team the 49ers will play the following week, and UNC-Chapel Hill. The game against Chapel Hill came down to the wire it is worth noting. It will not be an easy task for the 49ers to down the Panthers as they are, to many, already behind the eight ball in being 19.5 point underdogs coming into the game.
Keys to a 49er Victory
1. The defense has to come out and be what Healy and company need them to be
It goes without saying at this point, that the defense has been the weak link dating back to the 2-6 finishing record last year after starting 3-1. So, as coach Healy and all of the defensive players and staff are aware, they must turn things around and get them going in the right direction if this team wants to get back in the win column.
2. Utilize their talent on offense
It is unknown to most as to who the starter will be at quarterback after Chris Reynolds went down in week zero against FAU. There were hints he might have been back against Maryland a week ago, but even this week, it is still up in the air as to who will start in Atlanta.
Regardless of who is under center, whether it be Chris Reynolds, Xavier Williams, or James Foster, all three need to be looking to spread the ball around and get it to their playmakers. Don’t get complacent finding one go-to guy and keep making the defense guess.
3. Find the run game again
A season ago, the 49ers had a decent amount of success running the ball with their trio of runningbacks; Shadrick Byrd, Calvin Camp and ChaVon McEachern. There hasn’t been as much so far in the 2022 campaign as of yet. McEachern said in the team’s mid-week press conference that he is feeling good and is ready to go come Saturday.
Looking to Gameday
As mentioned, the 49ers are 19.5-point dogs in this matchup and will need to play their best football to leave Atlanta 1-3. Tune into ESPN+ to watch the game or listen to ESPN 730 The Game to catch the action as well.