Box score scouting: Numbers that matter from 49ers Week 1 loss

The 49ers’ Week 1 loss to the Bears was strange. Judging by the stats San Francisco probably should’ve won instead of losing 19-10.

Box scores rarely tell the whole story of a game though, so we sifted through the numbers to figure out which ones will really matter for the 49ers moving into Week 2.

Let’s do some box score scouting:

Pressure numbers

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The 49ers pressure numbers via ESPN’s Next Gen Stats are about as bad as it gets. Quarterback Trey Lance was pressured on more than 35 percent of his dropbacks despite the fact the Bears never sent a blitz. Pro Football Focus had a better view of the offensive line’s performance, giving them a 78.8 pass blocking grade after allowing nine total pressures. The 49ers offensive line simply can’t allow teams to get home regularly with four pass rushers. If that group gets better, Lance should too.

Red zone inefficiency

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The 49ers were the best red zone team in the NFL last season. They were disappointing in that area Sunday thanks to a Deebo Samuel fumble on the first series and an unimaginative trip later in the game that resulted in a 49ers field goal. The addition of Lance to the offense was supposed to make San Francisco even more dangerous in the red area. That wasn’t the case Sunday and it was a key part of the reason they lost. This will be worth keeping on eye on to see if red zone struggles become a trend for a team that was dominant there last season.

Third down efficiency

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There was some good news for the 49ers’ offense. They were a very strong 8-for-17 on third downs. 47 percent is well above their 40.2 percent third-down conversion rate last season. Lance missed a couple throws on third down and took a bad sack in a third-down situation, but he also singlehandedly converted a couple with his legs. A third-and-13 run for 14 yards really sticks out. Having a QB that can impact the game on the ground helped the 49ers improve on third down Sunday.

Non-Mitchell RBs

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The 49ers lost RB Elijah Mitchell in the first half to what turned to be a sprained MCL. He’ll miss two months. San Francisco could be in trouble without Mitchell if Sunday’s game was any indication. Jeff Wilson Jr. ran it nine times for just 22 yards with a long of five. Undrafted rookie Jordan Mason didn’t play on offense and third-round pick Tyrion Davis-Price was a healthy scratch. San Francisco needs to get more from their running backs because relying on Lance and WR Deebo Samuel to shoulder 21 carries is not a sustainable model.

Deebo Samuel struggles

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Speaking of Samuel, he was targeted eight times Sunday and caught only two of those passes. He also fumbled and per PFF had a pair of drops. The soggy conditions probably didn’t help matters, and neither does some of Lance’s accuracy issues. However, Samuel signed a huge extension this offseason and two catches for 14 yards with a couple of drops isn’t going to cut it from the 49ers’ top offensive weapon.

Penalty problem

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The 49ers’ 12 penalties for 99 yards are bad. It gets worse when digging in and seeing that five of the Bears’ 15 first downs came via penalty. It’s even worse when two of those 12 penalties came on third-down plays where San Francisco had gotten a stop. Instead the drives continued and the Bears got TDs on both series. This was their biggest issue Sunday and they’ll have a hard time winning many games if they’re going to commit bad penalties.

Trey Lance through three

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Lance’s performance overall was up and down. There were spectacular plays, and there were plays where he looked like he was making his third NFL start. While his final stat line skewed very poorly thanks to an abysmal fourth quarter, his stats through three quarters were a lot more acceptable. In the first three quarters before the game got away from the 49ers and they were playing from behind, Lance was 8-of-14 for 121 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. The numbers aren’t eye popping, but they’re certainly more indicative of how he played in the season opener. There’s lots to improve on for Lance, to be sure, but his final line Sunday – 13-of-28 for 164 yards and one interception –  didn’t reflect his overall outing.

Story originally appeared on Niners Wire