49ers Film Review: How the offense got into rhythm

The 49ers offense was hitting on all cylinders against Arizona on Monday night. Big play after big play led to San Francisco hanging 38 points on the Cardinals defense.

In this week’s film review we’ll look at how one play led to another for a couple of big touchdowns, a few explosive plays, and a look at Trent Williams.

One play leads to another

First Quarter

Third and Five, 49ers 23

Kyle Shanahan empties the backfield. Arizona sends five and the 49ers protection doesn’t account for it. Cardinals defensive lineman Zach Allen gets to Garoppolo, but even with Allen in his face the quarterback hits George Kittle on a quick out for a gain of six to move the chains.

This is a good play by Garoppolo, and left guard Aaron Banks deserves to be pointed out as well.

Banks gets left to block two defenders. He gives Allen a shot before taking out the inside rusher. The punch on Allen is provides Garoppolo just enough time to get the ball out and extend the drive.

Third and Goal, Cardinals 7

On third down early in the second quarter Kyle Shanahan goes to one of his redzone staples.

To the right-side George Kittle runs a corner with Christian McCaffrey running a Texas route underneath.

Jimmy Garoppolo starts off reading this combination first. Kittle is well covered, and the Cardinals linebacker sits inside taking away McCaffrey.

On the left side, Jauan Jennings is running a corner which keeps the safeties deep, and Deebo Samuel runs a quick slant pulling the man covering him inside.

Brandon Aiyuk runs a return route into the void created by Jennings and Samuel. Garoppolo whips his head and body to the left side and fires a dart to Aiyuk for the touchdown.

Terrific play design by Shanahan and execution by the players.

Second and eleven, Cardinals 44

Two plays after DeAndre Hopkins is called for taunting, the 49ers defense makes the Cardinals pay.

After a play fake, Colt McCoy tries to check the ball down to James Connor. The pass deflects off the running backs hand and Jimmie Ward is there to get his first interception of the season.

Third and three, Cardinals 39

Three plays after Ward’s interception the 49ers hit paydirt.

Kyle Shanahan goes with an empty set and Arizona puts pressure on Jimmy Garoppolo. Feeling the rush from his left, Garoppolo steps up and through the pocket. Keeping his eyes downfield Garoppolo sees George Kittle behind the Cardinals defense and lofts a pass to the tight end who makes two defenders miss on his way to the endzone.

This marks the third week in a row in which Garoppolo has made a big play off schedule.


Big plays

First and ten, Cardinals 39

Deebo Samuel takes an end around to left side in for a touchdown. Keep your eyes on Jake Brendel. The 49ers center paves the way for Samuel by putting Budda Baker on the ground 34 yards downfield.

If this play looks familiar, it should. San Francisco used the same play to score their first touchdown in week 17 of 2019 against Seattle.

Second and seven, Cardinals 32

The 49ers line up in 22-personnel. This is a heavy run look, and the Cardinals bite on the outside zone play fake. Garoppolo gets the ball out quickly to George Kittle who rumbles into the endzone for the Niners fifth touchdown of the game.

One additional note, look at the stance of Trent Williams. Williams is in a balanced stance which should mean a run is coming. More on that below.

Missed opportunities

Jimmy Garoppolo was terrific on Monday night. That being said, he still left a couple of big plays on the table.

Second quarter, First and ten, Cardinals 49

Kyle Shanahan dials up a shot play off play action out of 22-personnel which as was mentioned earlier is a run heavy look. Jimmy Garoppolo has Brandon Aiyuk open down the left side for a touchdown. Instead, he checks the ball down to Christian McCaffrey for a gain of 14.

Two plays later it is second and six from the Cardinals 31. Garoppolo chooses to work the left side of the field. The number two defender stays with Kyle Juszczyk opening the hole for Samuel, but the throw from Garoppolo is high.

Had Garoppolo chosen to work the other side of the field he would have seen Tyler Kroft open for a hole shot and a big gain.

Neither of these are bad plays, but they are missed touchdown opportunities which led to settling for a field goal.

Trent Williams

We already looked at one play in which the stance of Trent Williams did not give away the play.

Here’s another.

Williams has his left foot back in the stance which should be showing a pass is coming. Instead, it is a toss to the left and Christian McCaffrey takes it for a gain of 20. In fact, it’s a block from Williams that paves the way.

The discussion of play tipping should be put to bed.

This article has 18 Comments

    1. I think so. It looks like the protection slid the wrong way leaving Brendel with no one to block and Banks with two.

  1. Steve Young is now saying he wants Jimmy to be the Niners quarterback for the next 10 years. Jimmy is statistically a top 5 quarterback right now. If he continues to play at this level, the rest of the year it would be very hard to let him leave. Actually, it would be crazy to let him leave. Of course, the problem would be money. He’d fetch probably $30M on the open market and the Niners would have to loose some other starters in free agency to afford that. A couple of possible people they’d loose are McGlinchey ( I know old coach would love that) and Jimmy Ward.

    1. Jimmy will get a $30M plus annual contract & join Robert Saleh & the Jets next year. That’s assuming he continues to perform as he has these last 3 games which, when it comes to Jimmy, is a big IF.

      1. That’s, of course, an option, but if he continues to play at this level the rest of the year do you really think the Niners won’t want to sign him?

    2. Felx,
      I don’t think Ward and McGlinchey would save enough money. I think you would have to throw in Kittle or Deebo or CMC or Warner and that might be too much. As much as I love the way JG has been playing I see Lance starting next year.

      1. I think you are overstating it by far. First they will be paying Jimmy around $15M this year so they would only need to get rid of another $15M to cover a $30M contract and Ward and McGlinchey would easily have them that much. This is all just speculation but if Jimmy continues to play at this level it would be extremely hard to let him go, knowing it could take years for Trey to get to that level if ever. If you kept him and in a couple of years it looked like Trey had reached that level, now you could trade Jimmy.

  2. Happy Thanksgiving to All!
    I believe that it’s SB or bust for Jimmy G. The 49ers Org has already been to the Super Bowl with Jimmy, a 5-3 SB overall record will not suffice.
    At least imho.

    1. Agree…sb or bust. If he wins it, we have to resign him. Jimmy G is popular with fans and players. Nice, decent man. Trey sits for another year. Trey was not sharp in his limited appearances and Steve Young was right that he did not look ready in camp.

    2. That might make sense from a fans perspective but not a teams as they know how hard it is just to make the playoffs let alone get to a SB. If you dumped a good quarterback just because they didn’t win a Super Bowl, you would end up with a worse quarterback the following year and likely for many years to follow.

      1. Felix,
        Actually, it would be two SB losses by Jimmy G (if they make it to the SB and lose). Should he really deserve another chance? We have lost the last two SBs that we’ve played in now. I see your point in how hard it is for a team to get there, but the 49ers philosophy has always been to win Super Bowls not lose them. Not long ago, we were proud to say that the 49ers were 5-0 in SBs. 5-3 is not a good look.

        1. Jimmy did not loose the SB. Jeez, this is a team sport. As I recall, the defense gave up 3 touchdowns in the 4th quarter. If your baseball team lost the 7th game of the World Series with your top pitcher on the mound, would you get rid of the pitcher? The alternative to not risking loosing a SB is to not make it to the game. I think you’re living in fantasy land.

          1. True, the 49ers defense collapsed in the 4th QTR. But let’s not forget that the offense had zero points in the 4th QTR as well. And last I looked (unless I was fantasizing) Jimmy G was the QB.
            Yes, you’re right, it’s a team sport, so it’s a reach to blame it solely on the defense.

            1. I’m not trying to pick blame for that SB game. The team lost and the team is to blame. My point is you don’t move on from a good quarterback unless you have someone better To replace him. It’s possible that Shanahan and Lynch are so sure of Treys ability, it doesn’t matter what Jimmy does. Fortunately for us, we get to see it all play out.

              1. “Shanahan and Lynch are so sure of Treys ability, it doesn’t matter what Jimmy does. Fortunately for us, we get to see it all play out.”

                I agree.
                But that’s a reason why I take the hard-line stance that Jimmy has to win a SB. Jimmy G was a SB starting QB and it still didn’t stop Lynch and Shanahan from manufacturing a huge move to draft Lance. Lance is the future and the future starts next season. It actually started this season except for his season ending injury.

                I like Jimmy, but the best thing that could happen for him is to make a deep playoff push so he can get a huge contract with another team.

  3. I imagine we haven’t seen the last of bad Jimmy. Every time you get your hopes up and think you have a franchise QB he lays an egg. Let’s wait and see because the past is an indicator of his consistency. Partially why Shanahan and Lynch wanted to look elsewhere in the first place.

  4. Jimmy G’s improvement has come along with the improvement of the entire 49er’s team this season.
    It seems to me that he will continue his high level of play as the team does as well.

Comments are closed.