Photo credit: Atlanta Journal Constitution
The 49ers got the monkey off their back, so to speak, with a win on the road against Georgia State this past Saturday. The defense looked like it was making improvements, albeit still giving up over 40 points. Chris Reynolds was back in as quarterback, and the offense seemed to make strides from the way they have looked. Here are three takeaways from the win.
1. Defense still needs much improvement
It is easy to look at the two turnovers the 49ers were able to collect and make quick judgments as to their improvements, but one cannot overlook the fact that this is the fourth game this season and the seventh game straight dating back to last season that Charlotte has given up more than 40 points in a game.
There seems to be a consistent issue on the back end with the defensive backs missing assignments or getting beat in one-on-one scenarios. Guys like Geo Howard and Bryson Whitehead are being called on as the starters at the cornerback position and they have not been able to keep receivers at bay much so far this season.
Third-down situations still seem to be haunting the 49ers also. Georgia State was 10 of 15 on third down against the 49ers, and they just seem to have trouble getting off the field on third down.
The 49ers were able to get pressure, so all is not wrong on the defensive side of the ball, but there are definitely things to clean up on if the team wants prolonged success moving forward in the season.
2. Offense looks like a top offense in C-USA with Reynolds at QB
What is left to say about the field general Chris Reynolds that hasn’t been said already? He is the engine that drives the ship that is Charlotte football. He had over 400 passing yards against the Panthers and five touchdown passes to go along with his yardage.
His veteran presence seems to make the guys around him more comfortable. He delivered great passes all game long and is the primary factor the 49ers were able to head home from Atlanta in the win column.
Charlotte will need many more high-level performances from their sixth-year quarterback if they hope to have a successful remainder of the season.
3. Henry Rutledge proved to Niner fans just why he received a scholarship a week ago
The “scatback” for the 49ers channeled his inner Christian McCaffery in the win over Georgia State grabbing five passes for 88 yards, which was second in receiving on the team. His utilization out of the backfield was a big positive for Charlotte.
A week ago he was awarded a scholarship for his hard work, and former Carolina Panther great Luke Kuechly was the one that got to present it to him. His hard work seemed to pay dividends in the win, and Will Healy and company will be looking for this high level of play from the young man to continue.
Was the win pretty? The simple answer is no. However, a win is a win and it doesn’t matter if you win by 30 or just one point, it is still a win. Yes, there are still a lot of things to clean up on, and the 49ers have a great chance to prove what they have been able to clean up against the South Carolina Gamecocks on Sept. 24.