Week 1:

49ers:

  1. Offensive line looks better than we thought:

During the recent run to NFC Championship games the 49ers had a dominant offensive line. With Joe Staley, Alex Boone, and Mike Iupati as the cornerstones, that offensive line rarely had an off day. The 49ers offensive line in the offseason seemed to be unraveling, with Mike Iupati’s departure, and Anthony Davis’s unexpected retirement there were serious questions up front. But after one game it seems that those worries were unwarranted. It seemed that Colin Kaepernick had all day to step up in the pocket and survey the field, and Carlos Hyde could have driven a semi-truck through the holes that the line opened up.

  1.   Defense didn’t miss a step:

The defense for the 49ers had many publicized departures, Patrick Willis, Justin Smith, Aldon, Chris Borland just to name a few. While I still believe that some of these departures will be felt later on in the season, but it seems that the replacements that Trent Baalke and his staff have put in place seem to be more than capable of picking up the slack. Aaron Lynch, Antoine Bethea, and Kenneth Acker were stand outs for me during this game. This defense limited a Vikings offense that is on the rise to 248 yards, and only gave up 71 total rushing yards on the night. This defense was able to get really good pressure, they had five sacks,with both a standard rush and while blitzing. Now the biggest positive for the 49ers defense, NaVorro Bowman looks like he is on his way to regaining pro bowl form. Once Bowman gets back to top form this defense will only continue to improve, and we will see more performances like last night.

  1.   Now for next week:

The 49ers have to travel across the country next week to face the Steelers. This Steeler team has been at home preparing for the niners since last Thursday. I understand the importance of the 49ers wanting to open this season where they are hosting the super bowl on monday night. I agree that having the late start time on a double header is a necessary concession to make on the west coast for Monday Night Football. But what I am displeased about is the fact that the Steelers get three extra full days to rest and prepare for the niners. The schedulers really messed this up. The niners should be playing a team that played on Sunday. This will be a tough turnaround for the 49ers, but I truly believe that defense and a running game travel well, so I look forward to the game this Sunday.

Raiders:

  1. No coverage in the middle:

Is Jack Del Rio aware that the defense can cover the middle of the field?  The first half injury to safety Nate Allen didn’t help coverage in the middle of the field but there is no way that it should have been as bad as it was.  They allowed Andy Dalton to look thoroughly un-Dalton-like as he was repeatedly able to find his second year tight end Tyler Eifert  9 times for 104 yards.  The game plan should have given Dalton the outside, more difficult throws because thus-far in his career he hasn’t proved he is able to consistently beat teams with those throws.  Instead the Raiders seemed to just give  the middle of the field to the Bengals.

  1.  Go Deep?:

At some point there is going to have to be a downfield pass.  Last year Derek Carr played it safe and had the fewest yards per completion of any quarterback in the league.  In order for the Raiders to have any sort of success on offense this year they need for a receiver to catch the ball more than 15 yards down the field.  This will be an important step for Carr if he is to progress into a quarterback who can carry the offense.  The offense was understandably unable to stretch the field after Carr went down from the injury to his hand, but the deep ball is going to be an important aspect of this offense to watch going forward.

  1.   No Discipline for Jones:

The biggest story coming out of this game was the altercation between Adam Jones and Amari Cooper.  Cooper was blocking Jones during a play which caused Jones to over-react and throw Cooper to the ground, remove his helmet, and slam his head against the helmet.  It is an absolute joke that Jones wasn’t ejected from the game immediately, and an even bigger one that the league didn’t suspend him after the fact.  Jones needs to be sit out for a large chunk of games for his repeated violation of both the rules and human decency.  In a league where head injuries are on everyones mind constantly now, to not punish a player for targeting a helmets player and trying to injure their head just further highlights the clown show that is the NFL league office.