49ers bullied in 28-14 loss to Falcons; 5 Burning questions answered

For the third time in six games to open the 2022 season, the San Francisco 49ers saw turnovers, penalties and missed opportunities lead to their undoing.

As the 49ers (3-3) continued to struggle to find their identity, Atlanta (3-3) stuck to theirs.

The Falcons came into Sunday’s contest averaging just over 32 rushing attempts per game. They finished with 40 against San Francisco, bullying their way to a 28-14 victory.

Here are the answers to the five questions I asked prior to the game:

1.) Will the 49ers run defense hold up? NO

The 49ers front seven in Atlanta was the same group which started last week against Carolina and held the Panthers to only 64 yards rushing. Of course, the one player missing was Nick Bosa.

Without their best defensive lineman, the San Francisco defense was no match for the Falcons run game.

The Atlanta offensive line pushed the overmatched 49ers front seven around throughout the game. This allowed the Falcons to pound the ball on the ground. Led by Caleb Huntley, Tyler Allgeier and quarterback Marcus Mariota, Atlanta attempted 40 rushes in total, twenty in each half, amassing 168 yards.

The two most critical runs for Atlanta came from Mariota who finished with an average of 8.3 yards per attempt.

With the game tied at 14 late in the first half Mariota took off up the middle, his 15-yard scramble converting on third and 12.

Mariota finished the possession off with a three-yard touchdown run around the left side to put Atlanta up by seven with less than a minute to play in the first half.

San Francisco’s defense has been outstanding for most of the season. However, they have shown to have a vulnerability. Sunday’s loss marks the third time the 49ers have lost to a team committed to running the football. Chicago, Denver and now Atlanta have each ran the ball at least 31 times.

2.) Can Jimmy Garoppolo keep it going? NO

Jimmy Garoppolo once again proved he was unable to go three consecutive games without throwing an interception, throwing two on the day.

The first interception had more to do with game situation than bad decision making.

With only a few seconds left before halftime, Garoppolo threw the ball up for grabs to Deebo Samuel down the right sideline in hopes of a miracle. Instead, it landed in the hands of Falcons defensive back Isaiah Oliver to end the half.

Down by fourteen early in the fourth quarter, Garoppolo tried to hit Deebo Samuel on an over route going from his right to left. Falcons defensive back Darren Hall played it perfectly, getting to Samuel at the same time as the ball. As a result, the ball bounced into the air and into the hands of safety Jaylinn Hawkins.

With the Atlanta offense chewing up clock every time it touched the ball, this interception effectively ended the game.

The performance for Garoppolo was much better than the above picture paints.

After missing his first attempt of the game, Garoppolo was able to hit his next eleven passes. Included among those was a pair of touchdown passes to Brandon Aiyuk which tied the game at 14 midways through the second quarter.

Garoppolo saw his receivers let him down in the second half.

On the opening play, Brandon Aiyuk dropped a quick slant to the right side. Garoppolo then threw a strike deep down the middle of the field to Ray-Ray McCloud. The ball hit McCloud in stride, and he was unable to hang on.

Garoppolo was let down again on the next possession. Garoppolo threw a strike down the middle to Charlier Woerner for what should have been a big gain, but the ball bounced off the tight end’s hands.

For the game, Garoppolo finished 29 of 41 for 296 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

3.) Can the 49ers pass defense overcome the loss of Emmanuel Moseley? NO

The 49ers pass defense forced Marcus Mariota into only a single incompletion, and it took until the fourth quarter to do so.

Deommodore Lenoir made the start in place of Moseley. The second-year cornerback gave up a 20-yard completion down the left sideline to Drake London.

San Francisco’s secondary became more depleted when Charvarius Ward went down with a groin injury.

Samuel Womack replaced Ward and gave up a seven-yard touchdown to tight end Kyle Pitts for Atlanta’s final score of the game.

4.) Will Nick Bosa play? If he does, how effective will he be? NO

Bosa was not active on Sunday. His presence was missed.

The 49ers defense had allowed only 12 points in the first half over the first five weeks. Without Bosa on Sunday they allowed 14.

5.) Can Jeff Wilson Jr. and the 49ers run game repeat? NO

After exploding against Carolina, the 49er’s rushing attack was back to being its pedestrian self against Atlanta.

San Francisco ran the ball only 16 times for 50 yards.

Kyle Shanahan opened the game wanting to run the ball. On the second offensive series, Jeff Wilson Jr. fumbled the ball away and Atlanta took it back the other way for a touchdown to go up 14. From that point on, Kyle Shanahan abandoned the run. Of the 49ers final 51 offensive plays, 39 were passes.


49ers 22 Falcons 16

This article has 44 Comments

  1. Something is going on with Kyle because he coaching like a scaredy-cat! He knew going into today that the 49ers needed to establish the run, and he abandoned the run game after ONE fumble! He doesn’t trust any his young players, and there is absolutely ZERO creativity to his offense. The amount of pre-snap motion he has used used over the years is down considerably, and to call his offense predictable would be being generous!

    This begs the question: How much of Kyle’s offensive “genius” was really Kyle, and how much was his right hand man of the last 12 years, Mike McDaniel. If Joe Staley is to be believed, McDaniel was actually the wizard behind Kyle’s creative offense, and you know what …. I’m really starting to believe it.

    Kyle Shanahan just might be the Emperor without clothes this season!

    1. Mike McDaniel isn’t doing anything spectacular in MIA. They are also 3-3 and he has better play makers than Kyle.

      1. Mike McDaniel was undefeated before he lost his top 2 QB’s. His offense is far more dynamic than Kyle’s, and ranks higher as well, despite being a first year HC. Niners do have a better defense though, thanks to JL and DR!

        Like I said, Joe Staley himself says Mike McDaniel was the brains behind Kyle’s offense over the years, and it’s very hard to argue otherwise after this offensive train wreck so far this season!

        1. McDaniel lost his QB for a couple of games. Shanahan lost his QB for the entire season, the second time in 5 years.


          Tyreek Hill > Deebo
          Waddle > Aiyuk
          Terron Armstead = Trent Williams

          I would agree that McDaniel is brains behind the 49er offense, that’s the job of the OC. Is Mike McCarthy the brain behind the Cowboys offense? No it’s the Kellen Moore, the OC.

          1. The 4th QTR of today’s game says it all, James. You’re down multiple TD’s with under 6:00 left, and you don’t even have the ability to run a hurry up offense? Are you kidding me? That’s one of the most embarrassing things I’ve seen from an offensive coach at the NFL level!

            Kyle’s 49ers in the 4th QTR today, down 14 points: They go 16 plays, for 50 yards in over 8:00 minutes of possession, because THEY ARE ACTUALLY HUDLING UP, and come away with ZERO points!

            You’re really defending that, James?

            LOL, Kyle’s 4th QTR was an absolute CLOWN SHOW, if I have ever seen one!

            1. Kyle has an offense with Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle …. three of the most dynamic offensive playmakers in the league, and they rank where offensively?

              Kyle Shanahan has been exposed. He was getting credit for McDaniel’s brilliance simply because his last name is Shanahan, but those days are over.

              1. The party is officially over for Kyle. His team is incredibly talented, although he can’t keep them healthy, but there are no more free rides for Kyle. And I expect the worst of it still to come, because if there is one thing I know about Kyle, besides the fact that he thinks all 49ers fans are morons, is that Kyle coaches scared. That’s who he is.

                Kyle Shanahan is the cowardly lion of NFL Head Coaches! It’s why he can’t ever hold a big lead, especially in the biggest games.

              2. Dude your a victim of following Grant Cohn. Don’t realize that Grant has been belittled by Shanahan? He manipulates people on YouTube into blaming Kyle. Good for Grant, he’s an influencer.

                Have you ever heard of the term “Forty Whiner” ? That’s you bro and the rest of the Cohn Heads.

            2. They did run some hurry up on offense. They had timeouts due to 2 or 3 Falcons injuries. The drive started at their own 1 yard line and they had 3 offensive penalties one which negated a 40 yard deep ball to Aiyuk, which was a great play call and design by Kyle, by the way.

      2. Jack gives hard-hitting and correct answers. As I said 3 months ago, this is a mediocre 500 team. No playoffs this year. The team, aside from the usual hospital big injuries, just does not have it anymore. Horrible game, poorly coached, and mainly., we lack a QB or RB.

  2. Well put Jack.
    This team is looking for an identity, especially since they have so many critical injuries.
    And yes, this one is NOT on Jimmy. With a little luck his deep passes would have made the difference but their D was right there.
    It’s not over!

    1. Don’t know. Under Kyle and Jimmy, just don’t know that the 49ers can get it done this season. Had high hopes at the start, but with Trey gone and the many other injury setbacks, am beginning to think it’s no longer in the cards. Sadly.

      1. You can only sustain so many injuries. Luckily most of these guys are coming back. Did you know the 49ers are still first in the NFC West?

  3. So much for the 4-2 or, improbably, 6-0 start, proclaimed as preordained on this blog. The 49ers are going nowhere under the hapless Kyle Shanahan. 3-5 at the bye & 8-9 at best for the season. Allie and Jaxson16 are owed an apology from their many detractors here. They’ve been right all along. Shanahan is the emperor with no clothes, faithful. Period. Over and out.

    1. The 49ers are in first place in their division. If the season ended today their a playoff team.

    2. Kyle has an almost completely new offensive coaching staff. Kyle does not make it all up himself, never has. He amalgamates everything and then goes with it. I think the staff needs more time than the team to really jell

      1. I agree. We have not seen of that power run game that Lynn was supposed to bring along. Obviously the injury to Trent, Mitchell, and TDP have not helped.

    3. Will you, Anonymous, 49Reasons, Jaxon16 and future aliases apologize when the 49ers make the playoffs?
      3-3 and complaining. According to you we are 3-5 before playing next week.

    4. Thank you. You are so right. I warned everyone about the overhyping of this team months ago. Trey simply did not develop from last year and the rumors of his ineptitude were correct. Trey is a fragile, inaccurate QB with no real resume from college. His no-name school did not prepare him for the NFL and the Niners are famous for not selecting the right college QB’s lousy work by Kyl;e and management to have over 3 first rounders for a second round talent at best.

  4. Niners are likely.500 at the bye. Two weeks to get (somewhat) healthy. The rest of the NFCW underwhelms.

    There’s a lot of posters going to have sh*t on their faces at seasons end.

  5. I don’t consider Trey being gone as a reason for more losses. He’s a good runner but he’s not elusive. He’s not very accurate. He hasn’t looked consistently good so far as a starter. All the other starters being injured has killed us however.

    1. Amen…too many fans looked at Lance as an instant savior..like a modern day Moses..raising his passing arm and parting the proverbial Red Sea to a Super Bowl victory…this team is lacking something more than an ‘elite’ QB, or a play caller with originality…but those two human elements are easy fodder for the fan base

  6. Honestly, 2nd half of 2 weeks of an east coast trip, the entire starting d-line out, I think you can expect a down week. The experience gained by the backup defenders is extremely valuable. Every season has a seminal moment where a team has to check it’s character and it ultimately defines the season. Maybe this Falcons game is that moment for the ’22 49ers. Next week how this team performs against the Chiefs will be all the evidence we need to see the character of this team.

    And my 2nd really unpopular opinion is I’m really happy for Marcus Mariota. That guy has all the talent in the world but has been in bad situations. He’s matured and gotten better with age. I like rooting for high character guys who are just good people. There is no better human being in the NFL than Marcus Mariota. I really hope he finally achieves NFL success.

  7. Once again, Ryans shows his inability to make adjustments to the defense—personnel, formations, strategies. Of course the lack of Bosa was critical but one player does not completely determine the team’s defense. The Niners fefense looked lost against the Falcons, and that is the responsibility ofRyans. He never adapted to what the Falcons were doing.

    1. This sounds a bit harsh. He has done a phenomenal job, and I think he actually adjusts much better than his predecessor.

      He was missing his entire D-line as well as his top 2 cornerbacks and of course Jimmy Ward, if you want to count that. The defense did well considering all that.

      I predicted a 10-7 season at the start and I think it will be around that. They’ll be competing for a playoff spot, unless, more injuries.

      Some good news- Trent Williams could be back next game. Would be a huge boost. Bosa might come back as well since we’re playing on grass. Let’s see.

    2. People who have no clue what they are talking about will always blame the coach or the quarterback. In this case since it’s defense, it must be the coach’s fault.

  8. Crazy stat I saw….
    Since KS took over in 2017, the team had entered the 4th qtr behind 7 or more points 24 times!
    Out of those 24 times, the Niners won ZERO!

      1. Yes it’s true. Every team that has a two score or more lead at the beginning of the 4th Q has won the game while Kyle has been here. He’s 0 for 24! Be interesting to see how many players were injured in the 4th Q of those 24 games. We may be better off just throwing in the towel after the end of the 3rd Q. /s

        1. I was shocked to see that stats… but look at yesterday’s 4th quarter plays and you could see why it is possible… down 14 pts and we displayed one of the best 50 yd 8 minute eating drive in the 4th. The problem was we were down by 14. Yikes!

  9. Off course here. But it’s starting to look like the Tom Brady love in Bucs country may be wearing out.
    He misses a walk-thru during the week, flys to Pittsburgh on his private plane. And then attends a wedding party on Friday night. On top of that, he chastises his Oline on the sidelines during Sundays loss.
    Someone please tell me if this is true leadership?
    Brady seems to be working himself into the “he’s been in the league too long” category.

    1. I attended a Patriots game in Boston many years ago during the Patriots championship glory run. I saw Brady get hit right as he threw the ball for an incompletion on a 3rd down. Totally legal and it wasn’t even a very hard hit. Ref is standing there and Brady gets up in his face after the play waiving his arms. Ref drops a flag at least 3 seconds after the play was over and calls Roughing the Passer. It was ridiculous. I started watching Brady during the game and his behavior toward refs and teammates was awful. Amazing what you see that the cameras don’t show when you’re at the game. I haven’t liked Brady since that game. Obviously the greatest QB ever but he’s an absolute Delta Bravo as a human being.

  10. I know I sound like a broken record but the 49ers are not 3-3 because of Shanahan’s game coaching or D. Ryans inability to adjust or Jimmy G. They are 3-3 because games are won and lost up front and right now they are not very good up front on either side of the ball. On D Hyder, Jackson and especially Omenihu are nice rotational pieces and decent pass rushers but none of the 3 can set the edge. Yesterday Mariota picked up 3 huge first downs with outside run option because the 49ers back up DE’s don’t set the edge. Ridgeway can’t play more than 20 plays a game before he is gassed, thats been his rep his whole career. Givens is explosive and gets penetration but also gets moved off the line when he isn’t able to get penetration. The D may have only given up 3 TD’s but they couldn’t get off the field. On the other side of the ball the 2 OT’s (after McGlincheys injury) are terrible and McGlinchey when healthy is barely average. Brendel is horrible and Burford may some day be good but he isn’t right now. I know its not sexy to criticize linemen and it is much simplier to go after coaches and quarterbacks but this 9er team will not win with the current O and D lines and i’m not sure when they will be fully healthy. Another area i’m disappointed in is the RB’s Wilson is a good #3 back and Colemans career was over 2 years ago. Now you put these guys behind a good O line and you can win with them but they are not behind a good O line. imho

    1. old coach may be dramatic but he is correct. Lousy coaching combined with terrible drafting really hurts.

    2. I think your expectations are a little high. When all your starters are out and up against a strong Oline, it’s going to be tough sledding for ANY team. It would be great if your backups could be better than the opponents starters but that’s not realistic. Also on one of Mariotas long runs it was Womack who crashed down and didn’t set the edge.
      I know you love to criticize our Oline but without both starting tackles they did well. In pass protection Jimmy had time to throw and was not sacked even once. In run blocking they had limited attempts although the numbers weren’t good against a strong dense whose plan was to not let the Niners run. I’ll give you Brendel but otherwise I don’t see any evidence to support your assessment of the Oline.

      1. Felix,
        The 49ers are 3-3 playing 6 mediocre teams. The D hasn’t been the reason their losing, so if it hasn’t been the O line why are they 3-3?

        1. Is that all you got? Wilson gave up a scoop and score. The Defense gave up an additional 21 points to a “mediocre” team which forced the Niners to go to a passing game. They passed 41 times without a single sack with both tackles out. Looks like a good O line, not a bad one.

        2. If a coach with a losing record, is allowed to draft an inexperienced QB in order to get rid of a QB with a winning record, who’s to blame Old Coach?

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