Niners look to ride great defense to second win

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By Jeremy Harness

The 49ers didn’t bring their best offense to the party last Sunday, but the defense stood out and made a statement, and that was enough to get a win on the road to open the 2019 season.

In order to make the travel a little lighter, the team is staying in Youngstown, Oh., this week in preparation to face the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium this Sunday.

The Bengals had a very good showing on the road at Seattle, although they did come out of it with a loss. Quarterback Andy Dalton threw for more than 400 yards against the Seahawks defense, and receiver John Ross had a breakout game with two touchdowns.

So the 49ers defense will have a challenge on its hands, particularly in the secondary. A year ago, the secondary struggled in coverage, but 2019 seems like a different year, particular after a pair of pick-sixes against Tampa Bay in Week 1.

The Niners, however, have been dealt yet another injury setback at the running back position. Tevin Coleman suffered a high ankle sprain last Sunday and will not play against the Bengals. He is said to be out a couple of weeks ago, but based on the nature of a high ankle sprain, expect Coleman to miss a significantly longer amount of time.

This means that Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert, who flashed in Sunday’s game, will be expected to get most of the snaps against Cincinnati.

Speaking of high ankle sprains, defensive end Nick Bosa is still feeling the effects of his injury – which kept him out most of training camp and all of the preseason – and only played a handful of snaps on Sunday. He did not practice on Wednesday and is questionable for the game at Cincinnati.

The Bengals are missing a few key pieces, too. Receiver A.J Green will not play Sunday while still recovering from an ankle injury he suffered early in the preseason, while Bay Area native Joe Mixon is questionable with an ankle injury of his own, which he sustained against Seattle.

He didn’t practice Wednesday and is listed as day-to-day.

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