49ers Film Review: Key plays from loss to Denver

The 49ers offensive performance during their 11-10 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday night was one of the worst in recent memory.

The ineptitude of the offense wasted another brilliant performance from the San Francisco defense. Through the first three weeks of the season DeMeco Ryan’s group has allowed only 28 points, yet they are 1-2.

During his conference call with the media on Monday, Kyle Shanahan was asked to give his thoughts on what he saw from the film.

“The first half was similar to what I thought. I thought we missed some opportunities,” said Shanahan. “I thought we should have had a lot more points than what our production showed.”

This statement is correct. Just as they did during their week one loss in Chicago, the 49ers offense missed several opportunities in the first half.

Let’s look at what the coaches film shows for those missed opportunities and other key plays from the loss.

1st Quarter, 3rd and 9 at 49ers 26

The 49ers failed to convert on each of their first nine third down attempts against Denver. 

On their first attempt, Jimmy Garoppolo’s pass is deflected by former 49er D.J. Jones at the line of scrimmage.

Garoppolo is lucky Jones got his hand on the ball, otherwise it’s likely an interception.

The quarterback never takes his eyes off George Kittle and doesn’t see the Bronco’s safety rotating down. This is just the latest example of 49er quarterbacks being unable to beat a robber safety. A robber is generally used to spy in breaking routes from a two high safety look.

If Garoppolo had his eyes in the middle of the field where they belong, he would have been able to recognize the rotation and hit Brandon Aiyuk in the hole created by the safety dropping down.

1st Quarter, 3rd and 3 at 49ers 47

The 49ers line up with a bunch formation on the right side and Denver’s secondary loses track of Deebo Samuel who breaks free.

Garoppolo appears to be staring in that direction as Samuel begins to raise his hand to indicate he is open. The quarterback doesn’t see it, instead throwing incomplete to a well-covered Brandon Aiyuk on the other side of the field

2nd Quarter, 1st and 10 at 49ers 15

Kyle Shanahan gets Deebo Samuel open on a go route from the backfield. This play call should have resulted in an 85-yard touchdown. Instead, Jimmy Garoppolo’s throw looks like something you would see during a freshman high school game.

As is often the case, Garoppolo doesn’t step into the pass. The ball floats out of his hand and forces Samuel to twist around to make the reception.

3rd Quarter, 2nd and 10 at 49ers 2

With the ball backed up, Kyle Shanahan chose to go with his usually reliable play action leak concept.

The play calls for Jimmy Garoppolo to execute a play fake and look first to the tight end who is leaking from the right side of the formation up the opposite sideline. It results in disaster.

There are multiple things that go wrong on this play starting with the pass protection.

It starts to go wrong when rookie right guard Spencer Burford gets beaten quickly. Jimmy Garoppolo sees the pressure in his face and tap dances out the back of the endzone.

Fortunately for the veteran quarterback the play was whistled dead at that point because he panicked and threw an interception to Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb who took it into the endzone.

The Broncos had everyone well covered. Stuck in the pocket because of the quick pressure, the best thing Garoppolo could have done in this situation was stay in bounds throw the ball at the feet of running back Jeff Wilson Jr. for an incompletion.

Not only did this play cost the 49ers two points in a one point loss, left tackle Trent Williams suffered a high ankle sprain which will sideline him for multiple weeks. He can be seen getting clipped by a falling Broncos defender before Garoppolo has been able to turn around.

4th Quarter, 2nd and 10 at Broncos 41

On the opening play of the fourth quarter, Kyle Shanahan dials up a big play for Jimmy Garoppolo.

San Francisco’s screen game with Deebo Samuel is so good opposing defenses attack quickly.

Knowing this, Kyle Shanahan calls a fake screen with the inside receivers running vertical routes. Jauan Jennings gets free, but Jimmy Garoppolo’s throw just floats to him. This allows the safety the time needed to get to Jennings and knock him out of bounds before the pass is secured. Another in a long list of missed opportunities from Garoppolo in this game.

4th Quarter, 2nd and 10 at Broncos 41

As was mentioned earlier, robber safeties give 49ers quarterbacks fits.

After catching a break earlier in the game when the pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage, Garoppolo isn’t so lucky here.

With every receiver well covered and pressure in his face, Garoppolo tries to hit Deebo Samuel over the middle. Denver is ready for it. The Broncos safety is in perfect position to break up the pass and they come up with the deflection to end the game.

What makes this play by Garoppolo even worse is it came on first down. If it’s not there the quarterback needs to simply throw the ball at the receiver’s feet and live to play second down.

Jimmy Garoppolo was brutal in this game. His failure to hit open receivers and minimize the big mistake cost the 49ers a game they should have won.

This article has 16 Comments

  1. Jimmy G. was very bad. He isn’t the kind of QB who can handle heavy pressure from the D line. After facing pressure on one play it carries over to the next play even if there is no pressure. He needs a good running game so linemen and LB’s will bite on play action fakes. JG is good enough to win with if you put a good to great O line in front of him. This years O line is not any where near good to great.. I don’t think playing behind this O line would have been good for Lance’s development. Todays big rumor…..The 9ers are going after Lamar Jackson. With what has been predicted as the biggest one year increase in the cap I believe they will have the room to sign him as well as Bosa but that might be it. No new O linemen and no signing of any of the current defensive players who will be FA. I love Jackson but I don’t know whether they should sign him. It could put the team in cap hell for the foreseeable future.

  2. I believe the loss was the result of 3 turnovers by 3 different people. The last one was just inexcusable as the Niners were marching down the field in the 4th quarter. I know many people like to heap the blame on the quarterback or the coach but miss the obvious.

    1. They weren’t marching down the field when Wilson fumbled. I agree that other OFFENSIVE players had an impact on the 49ers losing but Garoppolo is plays the most important position and he was horrendous.

  3. Jack thanks for try breakdown!

    Not seen here…

    Beginning of 4th quarter, 3rd and 10.
    •The ball to Jennings should have been caught. He bubbled it and then got hit after.

    • Jaylon Moore absolutely let’s Jewell, who is showing blitz, get a free release at the QB.

      1. Sheet my bad!

        I am going to go ahead and start my own rumor that Jaylon Moore likes Trey Lance and hates Jimmy G.

        I am 100% joking but holy crap, this is an absolutely horrendous play by Moore. Just Yikes.

        They mad Jewell look like Patrick Willis

  4. “Kyle Shanahan gets Deebo Samuel open on a go route from the backfield. This play call should have resulted in an 85-yard touchdown. Instead, Jimmy Garoppolo’s throw looks like something you would see during a freshman high school game.”

    Oof. Tough but accurate. A couple of things.

    I know people are giving Jimmy a hard time for not seeing Deebo streaking free down the sideline. I feel like that’s a read maybe only 3 or 4 QBs make in the NFL. I actually fault the play design. There are 6 football players bunched up in a very small zone at the 45 yard line – 3 WRs and 3 DBs. Jimmy has a clean pocket and gives a quick look to that side off the snap. He can see 3 WRs basically all in a straight line on his line of sight and he quickly comes off that read. There’s way too much traffic right there to actually read anything. Maybe if Jimmy doesn’t come off that read so quickly he could have hit Deebo but having 3 WRs within 3 yards of each other 7 yards downfield is a bad route combination that makes it extremely difficult to read. Jimmy had to see through a lot of bodies to even see Deebo on the play.

    The throw to Jauan Jennings wasn’t a horrible throw. Jennings needs to make that catch. For some reason Jennings has regressed this year. I certainly think he will clean it up but there’s definitely something going on with Jennings.

    I still can’t believe Kyle Shanahan called that play at the goal line that resulted in a safety. Spencer Burford – oh boy – that was God awful. He’s going against a guy that was stronger and faster than him and it showed. Makes me worry about his ability to block a guy like Aaron Donald. Look at the block Juice throws on the DE. He’s basically not even blocking. He bumps and then releases to be an outlet on the play. How in the world are you calling a play action pass in the end zone where the play design calls for the DE to be let go after a bump. I know Kyle took responsibility for the play call but that was horrible play calling. From my perspective that Safety was on Kyle. Jimmy should have overcome the bad play call but thats asking a lot from a guy who didn’t get OTA’s or training camp.

  5. 2 other things I think I think.

    1. Jimmy G should audible out of bad play calls like the one Kyle called at the goal line even if Kyle doesn’t give him that authority. What is Kyle going to do? Bench him in favor of Purdy? I’m joking but only partially.

    2. I hate all the changes to the Giants jerseys. The Golden Gate Bridge on the sleeve is a cool little design but I much prefer the traditional jerseys. All of these alternate jerseys feel like a marketing manipulation to have fans buy more gear. I know I’m alone in this opinion but the consumer manipulation feel of it just rubs me the wrong way.

  6. A lot has been mentioned about JG’s passes floating, or missing receivers high….That is the result of poor mechanics and footwork..I remember that from high school, for chrissakes….where is/are the qb coach(es)? This isn’t the first season that JG has had the issue..why hasn’t Kyle, or the organization addressed this…..his mechanics may not be off every throw, but those throws where the footwork is off end up being costly..

    1. Kyle has addressed this in the past. I don’t recall his answer other than that he didn’t appear to be concerned. I’d imagine in real live games it’s not possible all the time to display perfect footwork.

    2. Shanahan DID address it. He drafted Trey Lance.
      It’s unfortunate that Lance was injured, but I would venture that Trey is still very much in Shanahan’ plans to QB the 49ers for years to come.

      Regarding JG, I don’t happen to believe that he is anywhere as bad as we saw last Sunday. Some seem to ignore the fact that Jimmy did not have the opportunity to practice with the team all summer. I see Jimmy taking a few weeks to get his timing and rhythm down.
      At least this should give the media and unhappy 49ers fans more time to pile-on.

  7. Purdy should have started the second half. It was clear early on that Jimmy did not have it. Purdy is smarter, more mobile, and more in command of the offense.

      1. Proof that the old axiom the backup quarterback is the most popular player by fans. That is until he actually plays. Lol

        1. Felix,
          Yup! I remember how the fakeful not the faithful clamored for Nick Mullens.
          Some things don’t change around here.

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