49ers Preview: Can the Niners Get a Win in Indy?
Though it’s been a rough start, the 2017 Season is still young. The 49ers have not been able to close the deal and come up with their first victory of the season yet, but Sunday will probably be their best chance to do so.
When the Colts have the ball
The 49ers have one of the best looking young defenses in the NFL thus far and on Sunday, they will have a fantastic chance to build on their early success.
The Colts’ offensive line has been spotty at best and though Center Ryan Kelly is returning from a foot injury, it is unlikely that they will be able to keep the likes of DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas, and Elvis Dumervil away from quarterback Jacoby Brissett.
Running Back Frank Gore, someone the 49ers are very familiar with, gets to play against his former team for the first time since departing after the 2014 season and is the centerpiece of the offense with Andrew Luck still sidelined with a shoulder injury.
The Colts need to give Brissett time in the pocket to at least be able to extend plays with his legs and take advantage of the suspect 49ers secondary. The Colts have T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Tight End Brandon Williams, who can all work the outside and average over 17 yards per catch thus far.
If Gore can churn out positive yardage somewhat consistently, the Colts will not become one-dimensional and can be more effective in their home stadium.
When the 49ers have the ball
The Colts’ defense is similar to the 49ers in that it’s a revamped group with a lot of youth on it. Brett Mock from Stampede Blue has stated that the Colts’ secondary is young and inexperienced and if Brian Hoyer can be efficient, patient and play mistake-free football, the 49ers will be very successful in wearing out the defense and creating mismatches.
Carlos Hyde should have running room that should be able to set the tone in San Francisco’s favor, giving Hoyer the ability to do what he does best, throw out of play-action. It’s no secret that Shanahan’s passing attack is built around the ability to throw from play-action and it’s where Hoyer has been most successful.
The Colts’ secondary has done well when quarterbacks have been inaccurate and can come up with interceptions, which is what the 49ers must avoid.
The tight ends will also be key in the passing attack and can take advantage of the Colts’ linebackers, who haven’t been good in pass coverage.
The 49ers have their best chance this year to shake off the cobwebs and the critics and put points on the board and if they can run the ball, they should be able to get a lead.
Who will win?
The 49ers have the best chance of winning this game by setting the tone with the defense and being able to run the ball to set up the pass. If Hoyer can get protection and be able to pass out of play-action, the 49ers should be able to score touchdowns early in the half and build a lead.
The 49ers defense will be fresher if they can make the Colts one-dimensional by shutting the run down early. If the pass rush gets to tee off on Brissett, they will make him pay with sacks and possibly turnovers.
In the second half, the 49ers will have a great chance to feed Hyde and Matt Breida in the ground game and let them wear out the Colts’ defenders.
Expect the Colts to put up a fight, but in the end, the 49ers will get their first victory of the year by a score of 27-13.