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.