It wasn't until late in the fourth quarter of "Thursday Night Football" that 49ers fans were able to relax a little.
As expected, San Francisco beat the New York Giants, 30-12, in their home opener at Levi's Stadium. But several missed scoring opportunities by the 49ers' offense kept this game much closer than they would have liked.
Still, the 49ers scored 30 points for the third consecutive game to start the 2023 NFL season and remain undefeated. While they probably should have scored more than 30 points, coach Kyle Shanahan joked that the team purposefully struggled in the red zone so it could score an even 30 in all of its first three games.
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“That's why we tried to struggle in the red zone so we could keep 30 three weeks in a row," Shanahan said postgame. "I didn't even realize that until after, but I mean, it's great to get 30 three weeks in a row but we felt like we left a lot out there too.”
After wins against the Pittsburgh Steelers (30-7), Los Angeles Rams (30-23) and the Giants (30-12), 30 appears to be the 49ers' magical number. It should be encouraging to Shanahan and the team that they still can score 30 points despite some red zone struggles.
Jokes aside, though, Shanahan knows it's an issue that must be addressed moving forward.
San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco's 13-play drive to start the prime-time game Thursday ended with three points after the 49ers' offense couldn't convert in the red zone and had to settle for a field goal. That was the storyline for the majority of the rest of the game.
Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and the rest of the 49ers' offensive weapons did their jobs to keep the chains moving, but Shanahan's offensive formations inside the 20-yard line fell apart. Granted, New York's defense was particularly stingy in the red zone and, on the other end, San Francisco's offensive line allowed an alarming amount of pressure on quarterback Brock Purdy.
If 49ers fans want to focus on the positives, though, despite some preseason scares, rookie kicker Jake Moody's three made field goals Thursday make him a perfect 9 of 9 this season.
Hopefully for the team, though, they can tighten up their red zone flaws and not have to rely on the rookie as much.