Find out how to watch the 49ers and Bengals face off on Sunday, Sept. 15.
Jimmy Garoppolo may be scraping off the rust, but San Francisco’s revamped defense looks to be in mid-season form as the 49ers go for their first 2-0 start in seven years Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The 49ers upgraded their defense via the draft and trade in the offseason, selecting Nick Bosa second overall and acquiring edge rusher Dee Ford from Kansas City. The team’s hope was to create more takeaways after finishing with NFL worsts of two interceptions and seven forced turnovers in 2018.
Both Bosa and Ford each recorded sacks and the 49ers exceeded their interception total for all of last season by picking off Jameis Winston three times and returning two for touchdowns in their 31-17 road victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday. Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon recorded the pick-6’s, with Witherspoon’s 25-yard return with 2:01 to play sealing the victory. San Francisco forced four turnovers overall and dropped Winston three times while holding the Buccaneers to 295 yards.
Those contributions compensated for an uneven performance by Garoppolo, who was making his first start since suffering a torn ACL in Week 3 last season. He had a pick-6 of his own in the second quarter and finished 18 of 27 for 166 yards and a touchdown. Garoppolo did show a rapport with 2018 breakout star and tight end George Kittle, who had a team-leading eight catches for 54 yards.
The Bengals are hoping for better things as they face an NFC West opponent for the second straight week. They were on the short end of a 21-20 scoreline against the Seattle Seahawks despite a career-high 418 passing yards from Andy Dalton, who hooked up with Joe Ross III on scoring plays of 33 and 55 yards.
Cincinnati, though, struggled to gain the important yards in coach Zac Taylor’s first game, as it was held to one field goal despite getting inside the Seattle 36-yard line on four occasions in the second half. The running game struggled to 34 yards, as Joe Mixon missed the second half with an ankle injury after totaling 10 yards on six carries.
Despite the loss, there was clearly a new mindset for the Bengals under Taylor as they played aggressively throughout and showed signs of promise offensively despite being without No. 1 receiver A.J. Green, starting left tackle Cordy Glenn and projected offensive line starter and first-round pick Jonah Williams.
How to watch the game:
When: Sunday, Sept. 15
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Live Stream: You can watch the game on fuboTV. Sign up now for a free seven-day trial.