49ers Film Review: Diving into San Francisco’s redzone issues

The 49ers offense has moved the ball up and down the field in 2022. Unfortunately for San Francisco games are decided by points, not yards.

In their win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday night, the 49ers offense was able to manage just 22 points. This just happens to match their points per game average for the season.

Afterwards Kyle Shanahan was asked why his team isn’t clicking.

“Not clicking, we got inside the 10-yard line five times and scored touchdowns on two of them, so I believe if we did on those other three, I feel we would’ve been clicking huge,” responded Shanahan. “We would’ve had over 30 points and things are going pretty good, so if you go to that game, I think we need to be better inside the 10, but there’s lots of things.”

“There’s three times in there that we didn’t score, so it’d be a lot easier with film and the tape and to show you exactly, but when you ask like what’s going on with an offense, why we’re not clicking, that was the answer.”

After reviewing the coach’s film, Shanahan is spot on. The 49ers need to be better inside the 10 if they are going to get more points on the board.

Fortunately for all you, we have the film to dissect what went wrong for San Francisco in the redzone on Sunday.

First Quarter

First and Goal, Chargers 9

Shanahan opens the first trip inside the ten by calling a heavy play action pass.

George Kittle and Kyle Juszczyk go across the formation to make it look like a power run, and Kittle stays in to block.

After the play fake, Garoppolo looks to Brandon Aiyuk in the right flat, but he is well covered.

The quarterback then comes back to the middle of the field to find Deebo Samuel who is running an over route. The safety does a good job of taking Samuel away.

With nobody open Garoppolo throws the ball into the first row of seats behind the endzone.

This is a good play from Garoppolo. He came into Sunday’s game having thrown away only one pass this season. He did this three times against the Chargers. That’s a good sign.

Second and Goal, Chargers 9

Kyle Shanahan uses motion from Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey to gain an advantage.

The play starts with Samuel motioning into the backfield, lining up to the left of Garoppolo. Once Samuel is set, Garoppolo motions McCaffrey from his right side to wide left. This motion pulls a pair of Chargers defenders away from where the ball will go.

Garoppolo hands off to Samuel on an inside power run for a gain of seven.

This play should have gone for a touchdown.

If Samuel had stayed on the inside hip of Trent Williams instead of jumping inside, he would have been in position to hit the hole at the second level.

This is a well-designed play. Shanahan should consider using Elijah Mitchell as the runner instead. His vision as a runner is better than Samuel.

Third and Goal, Chargers 2

This one is simple. The 49ers offensive line gets beat at the point of attack on an inside run and gets no push to help Christian McCaffrey find a crease inside.

Third Quarter

First and Goal, Chargers 7

Garoppolo gives the handoff on an inside zone to Elijah Mitchell. Jake Brendel misses his block, and the running back is dropped for no gain.

 

Second and Goal, Chargers 7

Shanahan dials up a run-pass option and Garoppolo makes the wrong read.

If the quarterback gives to Deebo Samuel on the run to the left this is a touchdown.

Instead, he pulls it and throws the bubble to Mitchell in the right flat. The running back has no chance and is dropped for a loss of one. This one is on Garoppolo.

 

Third and Goal, Chargers 8

Shanahan dials up one of his favorite redzone schemes. Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel both run in breaking routes along the goal line while Jauan Jennings runs a corner in the back of the endzone.

Garoppolo’s throw to Aiyuk hits the receiver on his back shoulder and it’s dropped.

Aiyuk has been the most consistent receiver this year, but he struggled with a fumble in the second quarter, and this third quarter drop.

Fourth Quarter

First and Goal, Chargers 8

Kyle Shanahan dials up an inside zone. It’s blocked up well and Elijah Mitchell is one-on-one with Chargers cornerback Michael Davis. Mitchell tries to spin inside, but Davis brings him down after a gain of six.

 

Second and Goal, Chargers 2

Shanahan goes back to the same inside run play. Spencer Burford is unable to get to the linebacker and Mitchell is dropped for no gain.

Third and Goal, Chargers

Kyle Shanahan on his third down play call,And at the very end of the game, I wanted to make sure they used that timeout. Probably would’ve a better chance of scoring if we threw it from the two there on third-and-goal from the two. I didn’t think that was worth the risk. I wanted to make sure regardless of what happened that they had no timeout, so that was the decision there, but I would say those three things.” 

Shanahan dialed up a counter run to the left side, and there were a couple of reasons the play didn’t work.

The first is Mike McGlinchey. The right tackle misses his block on the Chargers defensive lineman which allows penetration off the right side.

Second, Elijah Mitchell slips as he begins working to the left.

McGlinchey’s whiff and Mitchell’s slip combine to result in a loss of one, and the 49ers third field goal of the game.

As Kyle Shanahan pointed out, it’s clearly not a single issue that led the 49ers being unable to get touchdowns in the redzone. Their issue, as it has been most of this season was an inability to execute consistently. 

This article has 11 Comments

  1. Jack
    Good job Jack, nice play breakdown(s)…..Exposing the 9ers weak link, the 9er O-Line!
    * First and Goal, Chargers 7: Garoppolo gives the handoff on an inside zone to Elijah Mitchell. Jake Brendel misses his block, and the running back is dropped for no gain.
    * Second and Goal, Chargers 2: Shanahan goes back to the same inside run play. Spencer Burford is unable to get to the linebacker and Mitchell is dropped for no gain.
    * Third and Goal, Chargers: The first is Mike McGlinchey. The right tackle misses his block on the Chargers defensive lineman which allows penetration off the right side.
    McGlinchey’s whiff and Mitchell’s slip combine to result in a loss of one, and the 49ers third field goal of the game.
    * If the 9ers are going to realize their dream of another SB……THIS MUST CHANGE! Field goals don’t win a SB!

  2. Agree with Geep. Mcglitchy is a fiasco and was and is way overpaid. He is gone next year but it may not be enough for this year. Please improve the OL next year. Burford is average and Brendel is not a starter center. Trent is no longer dominant but is still above average. With few draft choices for next year, we need to be ready to recruit worthy free agents.

    1. If McGlinchey is gone next year it will be because we can’t afford him, and if we can’t afford him, then we won’t be able to afford anyone better. That leaves draft picks, and our highest is a 3rd rounder. Maybe we could bundle some picks to get into the 2nd round but that’s no guarantee we’d be able to draft a better RT. We most likely would end up with an inferior veteran or a rookie at that position. I hope we are able to resign him after this year.
      Williams is still regarded by experts as the best tackle in the league. It’s hard to disagree with that if you watch his play.

  3. Fans sometimes want the team to be something they are not. On offense they are a run first team and the Oline is a run first Oline. This works especially since Jimmy’s strength is that he has a quick release and is very accurate on short throws. Because of this and despite the fact he’s not one of the more mobile quarterbacks he’s about average in sacks. Jimmy is surrounded by guys who are good at yards after the catch. Good coaches and Shanahan is clearly one of the better, design plays to take advantage of players strengths. The team is not designed to make 30 yard throws, although Jimmy can do that but it’s not to his strength or the team’s strength. The team is successful because they can control the ball on offense and limit their opponents on defense. The key to the teams success besides injuries, is to limit mistakes. If they do, they can beat anybody.

    1. Felix / allie
      You’re both missing the point I’m making! It’s not about the money McGlinchey is making, it’s about making mental mistakes, lack of attention to detail and execution….The same with Burford and Brendel.

      * Going into the game against the Chargers, the 9ers were 4W – 4L….A .500 team! 3 of the losses were against the Bears, Broncos and Falcons. All 3 were teams the 9ers should have dominated, but didn’t, they LOST! They lost because of turn overs, mental mistakes, penalties, lack of focus and failure to execute!
      * The first half of the Chargers game we seen the same problems again. In the second half the mistakes were
      eliminated and the 9ers won the game.
      * MY POINT IS THIS:
      * The 9ers are a team with a roster filled with super stars built to win the SB in 2022! But when you can’t score in the red zone and end up kicking field goals because you make stupid mistakes….YOU’RE NOT GOING TO WIN A SB.
      * Felix: “Fans sometimes want the team to be something they are not. On offense they are a run first team and the Oline is a run first Oline.”
      This is TRUE Felix, except when the 9ers play a top team (like they will in the playoffs), that stacks the box, takes away the middle of the field and forces JG to beat them by throwing the ball…..The 9ers lose when the Oline can’t protect JG and can’t get first downs running or throwing the ball to continue drives, especially when the OLine is committing penalties that force them kick field goals, opposed to scoring aTD.
      How many times have we watched the 9ers take a lead into the 4th QTR, only to lose the game because the offense can’t run the ball, or throw for first downs. The defense gets tired because they can’t get off the field and the 9ers end up losing the game? TOO MANY TIMES?
      JUST TO BE FAIR: The Oline is NOT the only one guilty of making mistakes. It would help if the WR’s didn’t drop the ball and the RB’s didn’t fumble.

      1. My comments about McGlinchey were in response to Allies statement. I do understand your concern that this team can’t win against the top teams. However, in 2 of the past 3 years, they lost to the Super Bowl winner, so obviously they can beat top teams. We don’t know the future and we could loose to any number of teams for any number of reasons. That’s why they play the games. You act like it’s a forgone conclusion that they can’t beat top teams. It’s not.
        I disagree with your analysis that the loss in the Super Bowl and last years NFC championship was on the offense. In both games we started the 4th quarter with sizable leads. If the defense was gassed at the end, it was because they weren’t making plays. I don’t believe the was a large time of possession advantage going into the 4th quarter. The offense could have done better, but the defense collapsed in those 2 games.
        Lastly, as I’ve previously mentioned, we have the team that we have. If they stay healthy and eliminate mistakes they have as good a chance as anyone. You may or may not be justified in your concerns. Time will tell. I prefer to enjoy how this season plays out. Football brings nothing but joy for me, although less when the Niners or Wolverines lose.

  4. This week will be about containing Murray. His scrambles and called runs have killed us in the past. We can win this game while getting zero sacks. We have to keep Murray in the pocket and set the edge against the run. On offense BB and M thats Brendel, Burford and McGlinchey need to consistently open holes on the right side. Then its about penalties and turn overs. Keep them to a minimum and we win this game. imho

    1. I hope to see Mccoy although they still put up points against the RAMs last week. But Murray always gives our defense headaches chasing him around.

  5. When did Jack take over this blog?

    Any comment about how Shanahan almost exclusively calls run plays or horizontal passes to the flat in the red zone? In the last game I think the only pass play that went into the endzone was the drop by Aiyuk and down and distance forced that pass play to be called. It seems to me that if there’s a 80% chance the Niners are going to run the ball in the redzone that the defense is going to more aggressively play the run and make running the ball all the more difficult. I don’t think the Niners need to go pass happy in the redzone. Just call a pass play in the endzone (and not just a pass out to the flat or screen pass or whatever) every once in a while to keep the defense honest.

  6. Are we still in the Metaverse? Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve….

    Would’ve had over 30 points IF the play calling were better. (OC? or HC?)

    Could’ve scored a TD IF he made the right read. (Blame the QB)

    Should’ve scored a TD IF he didn’t slip. (Blame the RB)

    Metaverse lost billions, and the workers are to blame, so that’s why they were laid off. It’s the play caller because his idea was bad. When the ship sinks, is it the person at the wheel, the people in the engine room, the lookout guy, the sailors on the ship, or is it the Captain that takes the blame? Take off the silly fantasy googles. We’re in the Real World!

    But the blame game continues. That’s why I call it, The Divided States of the 49ers. Let’s look at what happened in reality.

    First quarter FG: pass into the seats,run,run
    Third quarter FG: down and in (Aiyuk drop), bubble screen (loss of one),run
    Fourth quarter FG: run, run, run

    In my opinion, it’s the play caller. Hmmm…Who is the 49ers play caller? HC Shanahan record is 44-46-0. In Bill Parcels (former NY Giants HC) words, “You are what your record says!”

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