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The 49ers see more work needed after 2-0 start on the road to open the season

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel, left, tries to fend off Los Angeles Rams linebacker Michael Hoecht during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The season-opening road trip couldn't have gone much better for the San Francisco 49ers.

Quarterback Brock Purdy looks completely recovered from offseason surgery and has the offense clicking with the same efficiency it had at the end of last season. The defense has adjusted to new coordinator Steve Wilks and hasn't taken a step back.

It all adds up to a 2-0 record following a 30-23 victory Sunday over the Los Angeles Rams that has garnered much praise from outsiders even if the Niners see plenty of things that need to be fixed.

“We got a long way to go,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I thought we did last week, too. Hopefully we got a little bit better this week and will continue throughout the year.”

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The victory over the Rams didn't come nearly as easily as the one in Pittsburgh in Week 1, when San Francisco led 20-0 before the Steelers even generated their initial first down.

San Francisco struggled to slow down Matthew Stafford and the Rams offense early on and trailed 17-10 late in the second quarter. But Purdy led a 75-yard drive in 1:45 as the Niners tied the game on his sneak from the 1 on the final play of the first half and then dominated the second half.

The Niners scored on three of their first five possessions of the second half, including an 11-yard run by Deebo Samuel, and intercepted Stafford twice to take control.

But they know they can hit another level, even after scoring at least 30 points for the seventh time in eight regular-season games when Purdy gets the majority of the snaps.

“We are going to watch this hard,” Samuel said. “We know Kyle’s going to come down on us hard. We missed a lot of opportunities and I feel like we left four touchdowns out there. But that’s what practice is for.”

WHAT’S WORKING

The running game. Christian McCaffrey followed his 152-yard rushing game in the opener with 116 more yards in Week 2. His 268 yards rushing are the most for any player through two games since DeMarco Murray had 285 in 2014 and the second most in franchise history. McCaffrey has scored at least one TD in 11 straight games, including the playoffs — one shy of Jerry Rice's franchise record.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

Purdy's deep passes. Purdy could have had a much bigger day if he had been able to connect on his deep shots. He was just 1 for 4 on throws at least 20 yards downfield, and missed Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings on deep throws when all three were wide open for big plays.

“I got to be better, I got to hit them in stride and not overthrow them,” Purdy said. “Simple as that.”

STOCK UP

K Jake Moody. After a shaky preseason, Moody is showing why the Niners picked him in the third round. He made all three field goals and all three extra-point tries for a second straight week. He's the fifth kicker since the merger to make at least six field goals and six extra points without a miss in his first two games and joined Justin Tucker as the only ones to do it in the last 30 seasons. Moody also showed off his big leg, making a 57-yarder that was the second longest in franchise history.

STOCK DOWN

Backup running backs. McCaffrey played every snap, leaving the backup running backs as spectators. Elijah Mitchell didn't get on the field at all, while Jordan Mason played only special teams. Tyrion Davis-Price, a third-round pick in 2022, was a healthy scratch for a second straight week. Shanahan said the coaches need to do a better job of getting Mitchell into the mix.

“We’ve definitely got to get Elijah in there more and do better with our rotation than we did yesterday,” Shanahan said. “That wasn’t the plan going in. It just ended up that way and I’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

INJURIES

Shanahan had no updates on injuries with the players getting the day off. Aiyuk hurt his shoulder on his first catch of the game but still played 30 snaps. ... CB Ambry Thomas left briefly with a knee injury but was able to return. ... CB Deommodore Lenoir was cleared to return to the game following a possible concussion but will be tested again this week.

KEY NUMBER

30. The Niners have scored 30 points in each of the first two games of the season. This is just the fourth time in franchise history when San Francisco scored at least 30 points on offense in each of the first two games, having also done it in 1998, 1984 and 1953.

NEXT STEPS

Host the New York Giants (1-1) on Thursday night.

___

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl