The 49ers have a lot of issues and they start at the top.
While many argue over who should start at quarterback each week, the biggest issue facing the 49ers is a lack of execution. That falls squarely on Kyle Shanahan.
After each loss during San Francisco’s current four-game losing streak, players have talked about the small mistakes that have made a difference in the offense.
Kyle Shanahan was asked about this during the conference call with Bay Area media on Monday afternoon. “I can go into so many different plays, but that’s all of football and when you come back and you lose a couple of close ones, you’re going to say that a ton,” he said
Let’s take a look at some of the key plays from Sunday night, focusing first on the little things that caused the 49ers to struggle on third down. They converted only one out of eleven.
First Quarter, 3rd and 5, Colts 37
For good measure, here is the third down prior to the string of 3 and outs. Garoppolo throws to Hasty running a wheel up the sideline and the RB falls down. pic.twitter.com/YJJEUAo5US— Jack Hammer (@JackHammer_NFL) October 25, 2021
Colts bring a blitz and it’s picked up nicely by Ross Dwelley. San Francisco gets the matchup the want, Jamycal Hasty on a linebacker, and Jimmy Garoppolo get the ball out to him. But Hasty falls down on his own. Joey Slye comes on to drill a 56 yard field goal to put the 49ers up 12-7.
Second Quarter, 3rd and 4, 49ers 25
The #49ers offense went 3 and out on five consecutive possessions.
3/4 on the first of those possessions, Daniel Brunskill gets beat and Garoppolo is hit while throwing to Hasty. pic.twitter.com/ThZzBiwCeM— Jack Hammer (@JackHammer_NFL) October 25, 2021
Jimmy Garoppolo has Jamycal Hasty open on a whip route against a linebacker on the left side, but Daniel Brunskill gets beat by the defensive tackle. This results in Garoppolo getting hit as he is throwing and the ball falls incomplete.
Second Quarter, 2nd and 8, 49ers 22
Next play, 3 & 8, Garoppolo has Dwelley open for the first down and misses him. Bad throw. pic.twitter.com/Yjxg8yVsmJ— Jack Hammer (@JackHammer_NFL) October 25, 2021
Going to switch it up for a second down play. The 49ers dial up a screen pass to Deebo Samuel, and it is setting up nicely. Only problem is the ball bounces off Samuel’s hands for an incompletion. Instead of having a first down or a more manageable down and distance for third down, San Francisco is left with third and eight.
This third down miss is on Garoppolo. He has Dwelley wide open on an out route to his left and misses him with a bad throw.
Second Quarter, 3rd and 12, 49ers 18
After struggling to complete a pass throughout this tough stretch for the offense, they finally get a completion when Garoppolo finds Deebo Samuel. Samuel then fumbles the ball and Indianapolis takes advantage of the miscue to take the lead.
The mistakes from the 49ers offense on Sunday night were not limited to only third downs or the second quarter.
Third Quarter, 1st and 10, 49ers 25
The 49ers have been running zone and counter well, so they use that to set up this play action pass. After the play fake Garoppolo finds Deebo Samuel over the middle of the field for a gain of 10, but the play is wiped out by an illegal man down field penalty of rookie left tackle Jaylon Moore.
That’s not the only mistake on this play. Take a look at Kyle Juszczyk running the leak route at the bottom of the screen.
Third Quarter, 1st and 15, 49ers 20
If this is a designed shot play intended for Aiyuk, as it looks, the drop from Garoppolo is predetermined and Dwelley needs to win the rep. pic.twitter.com/S27ymPko7M— Jack Hammer (@JackHammer_NFL) October 25, 2021
On the next play Kyle Shanahan dials up a deep shot to off play action that should go to Brandon Aiyuk. After the play fake Garoppolo rolls to his right, however tight end Ross Dwelley was unable to pin the defensive end inside as the play was designed. This forces the tight end to commit a holding penalty and Garoppolo’s arm is still hit as he tries to get the ball out to Aiyuk.
As Shanahan stated on Monday: “That’s part of football. But when that happens too much and you’re sitting there with a loss, those are the plays you are going to be talking about. And that’s what happens a lot in these games and you do four of those in a row.”
San Francisco has a player problem or a coaching problem. Either way, that falls back on Kyle Shanahan.