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Nick Bosa had a productive day as a pass-rusher. Bosa flushed Rudolph from the pocket with an inside move on Alejandro Villanueva on third down, effectively ending a second-quarter drive. Bosa and Arik Armstead combined for a third-down hit on Mason Rudolph that caused an errant pass and ended a Steelers’ third-quarter drive.
Jimmy Garoppolo turned in a solid effort despite a lackluster box score. He was accurate throughout the night, and his turnovers were more so a result of chance than poor decision making on his part.
Rookie Deebo Samuel had a decent follow up to his five-catch, 86-yard outing in Week 2, but he could have had a much bigger day if he had been able to come down with a downfield shot that he lost control of while falling to the ground on a play where cornerback Joe Haden misjudged the ball. Second-year receiver Dante Pettis snagged the game-winning reception on coverage from Mark Barron.
The Steelers appeared to try and protect Mason Rudolph by limiting his time in the pocket in the first half. Rudolph threw mostly short passes and screens. When Rudolph did throw the ball down the field in the first half, he was frequently off-target. In the second half, Rudolph delivered his best throws of the day. In the third quarter, Rudolph hit JuJu Smith-Schuster in stride on a crossing route. Rudolph's ball placement literally hit Smith-Schuster’s facemask and allowed him to outrun Ahkello Witherspoon on his way to a 76-yard touchdown. In the fourth quarter, Rudolph threw a well-placed deep ball down the right sideline to Diontae Johnson who had beat Jason Verett deep for a 39-yard touchdown.
James Conner was largely ineffective on the ground and fumbled the ball in the fourth quarter. Conner was also used on screens but the 49ers’ defense kept him largely in check.
New addition Minkah Fitzpatrick turned in an up-and-down first outing with his new team. Early on, he snagged an interception off a Joe Haden deflection as well as forcing a fumble, but he had too many missed tackles to call it a good day.
TJ Watt had a rather quiet day at the office as a pass-rusher against Mike McGlinchey and co. Overall, Pittsburgh's pass-rush had a rather solid evening with Laken Tomlinson struggling to pass protect on the inside.