Points Elusive for Offense
The Jets had scoring opportunities in their 31-13 loss to the 49ers, but couldn't capitalize. In the first quarter, the Green & White were trailing 7-0 but set up with a first-and-10 on the 49ers' 18-yard line. Running back Frank Gore lost 2 yards on first down and QB Sam Darnold lost 6 yards on an Arik Armstead sack the next play, which set up third-and-18. Gore took a handoff and gained 3 yards before the Jets settled for a Sam Ficken 41-yard field goal that cut the 49ers lead to 7-3.
"We had to start off the game a certain way," head coach Adam Gase said. "We knew that coming into it. The thing that we talked about was when we got into the red zone, to take advantage of that opportunity. We had a negative run, we knocked ourselves out of the red zone and then we get a sack and now we're just fighting to keep the points. It's what couldn't happen for us. We moved the ball and got inside the red area and in the low red and then find a way to get it in."
The Jets next scoring opportunity came in the closing minutes of the second quarter, trailing by 14-3, and resulted in a turnover on downs. Gore carried three straight plays from San Francisco's 29-yard line, but failed to convert on third-and-1 after gaining 9 yards on his first 2 carries. The Jets went for it on fourth down and 49ers LB Fred Warner stuffed RB Josh Adams behind the line of scrimmage, stopping what was a promising drive. San Francisco took over on its 20-yard line and charged 80 yards on 13 plays, scoring on TE Jordan Reed's second TD of the game to extend the lead to 21-3 with 15 seconds remaining in the half.
"At the time, I thought I was going to go to a certain play and then I changed my mind," Gase said. "Frank came out and Josh had to come in. It was not an ideal situation for what we want. If we block the guy we're supposed to block, we get the first down, but we didn't block the Mike linebacker."
The Jets' defense set up a scoring opportunity in the third quarter when CB Pierre Desir picked off QB Nick Mullens (playing for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo), who was forced into an errant throw by OLB Tarell Basham, and ran it back 23 yards to the 49ers' 22. WR Josh Malone put the Jets in goal-to-go territory after a 12-yard end around, but Darnold couldn't connect with TE Chris Herndon in the end zone on third-and-goal and the Jets settled for a 25-yard field goal that cut the lead to 24-6.
"I felt like we got a good rhythm moving the ball, it's just about finishing in the red zone," said Darnold after the Jets finished 0-of-2 inside the 20. "I think it's about having consistent plays on second and third down and continuing to move the chains. I felt like in the first half we did a good job of that in the field, but we have to finish once we get in the red area."
The offense scored its only TD with 1:23 remaining in the game. Darnold evaded a sack, rolled left and hit WR Braxton Berrios in stride over the middle for a 30-yard catch and run. Final score: 49ers 31, Jets 13.
"It is a silver lining, but it's not something I felt like really celebrating at the time," Berrios said of his first NFL TD reception. "At the end of the day, it was a scramble play and kind of like backyard football. Sam found me, I went to green grass and we connected."
See Best Images from the Home Openers Against San Francisco
Mixed Bag on Defense
Similar to Week 1 at Buffalo, the Jets struggled against the run early. San Francisco RB Raheem Mostert, who didn't play in the second half because of a knee injury, took the first play from scrimmage and dashed 80 yards to put the 49ers up, 7-0. From there Mostert had 7 carries for 12 yards before exiting the game. Garoppolo was effective through the air and had a 140.4 rating before an ankle injury he sustained on a Quinnen Williams sack (his first of two) forced him from the game. Garappolo was 14 of 16 (87.5%) and tossed 2 TD passes.
San Francisco RB Jerrick McKinnon took over for Mostert and had 61 yards on his first 2 carries, including a 55-yard gain on a third-and-31 in the third quarter. The defense clamped down and held SF to a field goal as the Niners extended their lead to 24-3 with 8:53 remaining in the third quarter. McKinnon would later take his third carry of the game into the end zone for an 18-yard score in the fourth quarter to extend SF's lead 31-6. The 49ers finished the game with 183 rushing yards.
"We knew they were going to get some explosive plays, but you want to try to limit those and keep them in that 15-yard range," Gase said. "We give up that play (Mostert TD) after a good play on special teams on the return, they outran us. They have a lot of team speed and we know it. They handled our run force in that situation and we didn't take good enough angles."
Frank Gore Takes On One of His Former Clubs
Jets RB Frank Gore, the NFL's No. 3 all-time leading rusher, started against the team that drafted him in 2005. With Le'Veon Bell on injured reserve, Gore had 63 yards on 21 carries. He had 47 yards in the first half on 15 carries, seven of which he rushed for at least 4 yards. The Jets turned to Gore on the first play of the second half, but mostly went to the pass as they tried to rally from a 17-point deficit at the half.