Cleveland Browns @ San Francisco 49ers: Hosts look to stay perfect

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Last Updated: 07/10/19 5:22pm

Watch every one of Cleveland Browns' running back Nick Chubb's best runs against the Baltimore Ravens
1:09
Watch every one of Cleveland Browns' running back Nick Chubb's best runs against the Baltimore Ravens

The San Francisco 49ers look to maintain their perfect start to the NFL season as they host the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football, exclusively live on Sky Sports Action and Main Event. Here is what to expect...

Seasons so far

The 49ers, who had a bye last week, have started 3-0 for the first time since 1998. They overcame the Pittsburgh Steelers last time out despite giving up five turnovers and are one of only two teams (along with the New England Patriots) to have a top-five offence and top-five defence in terms of yard per game.

After an off-season of hype and expectation, there were questions over the Browns after they lost two of their first three games, including a 43-13 home blowout against the Tennessee Titans. However, they bounced back with an impressive 40-25 victory over AFC North rivals Baltimore Ravens last week to move top of the division for the first time since 2014.

Ones to watch

The stats might not stand out (five touchdowns to four interceptions and a middle-of-the-pack quarterback rating), but 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has played well enough. He also knows how to win. He's 11-2 in his 13 starts (nine for the 49ers and two for the New England Patriots) and may improve after a bye week.

Tight end George Kittle has been the 49ers' most productive weapon this season. He leads the team in receptions (17) and receiving yards (165), but hasn't scored a touchdown yet.

Highlights of the Pittsburgh Steelers against the San Francisco 49ers in Week Three
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Highlights of the Pittsburgh Steelers against the San Francisco 49ers in Week Three

The 49ers have five first-round draft picks in their defensive line rotation, including 2019 second overall pick Nick Bosa. The rookie leads the team with 17 pressures and appears to be fully fit after battling an ankle injury to start the season.

Just as the Browns were questioned in the first three weeks of the season, so too was QB Baker Mayfield. But the second-year starter produced the goods against the Ravens as he threw for 342 yards and one touchdown. Can he deliver again against a 49ers defence that is likely to bring plenty of pressure?

Watch every one of Cleveland Browns' running back Nick Chubb's best runs against the Baltimore Ravens
1:09
Watch every one of Cleveland Browns' running back Nick Chubb's best runs against the Baltimore Ravens

Wide receiver Odell Beckham appeared frustrated last time out as he was held to two catches for 20 yards. Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens was asked about Beckham's production after the game and suggested he is being knocked off course on routes.

"Here is what I think is difficult: for Odell not to be able to run a route without getting grabbed. I think that is what frustrates him. I am not scared of a corner being physical with Odell. That is not what I am scared of. I do not want people grabbing him down the field, though."

With fellow wide receiver Jarvis Landry having spent most of the week in the NFL Concussion Protocol, there might be even more pressure on Beckham to come up big, or the Browns will look to running back Nick Chubb, who has started the season with 398 yards and four touchdowns from four games.

Key stats

  • Jimmy Garoppolo has the highest win percentage (.846) in the Super Bowl era (Min. 10 starts)
  • The 49ers are allowing eight points per game fewer this season than between 2015-18
  • The last time the 49ers started a season 4-0 was 1990
  • Baker Mayfield's 1,147 passing yards this season are the second-most by a Browns player through the first four games of the season since 1950
  • Mayfield has the longest active streak of games with an interception (five)
  • Since 2018, only Aaron Donald (21.5) has more sacks than Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (19.5)