Opponent: at Pittsburgh
Time: 10 a.m.
Line: Steelers by 6
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Records: 49ers 1-0, Steelers 0-1
TV/Radio: Ch. 40 (Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston), 810, 1320
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
Going deep: The Vikings’ longest pass play Monday was 27 yards, and it came on the last play of the first half when the 49ers had seven defenders in the end zone to guard against a Hail Mary. And Minnesota was unable to burn the 49ers on any blitzes. The Steelers, however, have a much more experienced quarterback, and Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown are perhaps the best deep-ball duo in the NFL. Will they make the 49ers’ aggressive defense pay?
Running right: Carlos Hyde led the NFL in rushing after Week 1. One area the 49ers must work on is running to the right side. Most of Hyde’s 168 yards came on runs to the left, and with Joe Staley and Alex Boone on that side, the offensive line is decidedly left-handed. For Hyde to be successful all season, the 49ers must become more ambidextrous.
Tight-end trio: The last time the 49ers were in Pittsburgh, their most dangerous weapon, tight end Vernon Davis, was injured on a submarine hit by safety Troy Polamalu. Davis returns Sunday with reinforcements. The 49ers used three-tight-end formations extensively last week and figure to do so again against the Steelers. Any of the three – Davis, Garrett Celek or Vance McDonald – could a have big role in the passing game.
Cleared for takeoff?: Jarryd Hayne’s game-day role again is a mystery after his regular-season debut included a muffed punt. Less of a mystery: That fellow rookie running back Mike Davis will be in uniform after being inactive against Minnesota. Should Reggie Bush be held back with a calf strain as expected, Davis, who had a solid preseason, will be the team’s No. 2 runner.
Steal a win: Under former coach Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers were excellent in the Eastern time zone, going 11-1 including the playoffs. This will be Jim Tomsula’s first trip as the head coach. He has plenty going against him – a short week to prepare and an early kickoff. The game also is in his hometown. If he can somehow pull out a win, it might be his most impressive all season.
Out: RB Reggie Bush (calf)
Questionable: WR Bruce Ellington (ankle)
Questionable: CB Cortez Allen (knee)
Probable: S Will Allen (concussion), CB Brandon Boykin (groin), QB Landry Jones (concussion), S Michael Mitchell (hip), LB Ryan Shazier (knee), LB Sean Spence (hamstring)
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