The San Francisco 49ers allowed three sacks against Washington on Sunday — four actually, but one was called back — and only managed a single sack on quarterback Kirk Cousins. Two of the 49ers’ sacks came when rookie C.J. Beathard was under center, while the other one was before Brian Hoyer was benched.
I usually look at the sacks earned and sacks allowed in separate posts, but I have other video stuff planned this week, so I’m going to simply go through the sacks from the game in the order they happened. That means we’ll start with Hoyer, move on to Cousins, and then the two Beathard sacks.
Ultimately, I think the 49ers’ offensive line is improving, and many of their issues in recent games have been schematic faults or missed plays from non-linemen, like Carlos Hyde. Still, I’ve noticed Joe Staley struggling a bit recently, and that’s a huge concern. We’ll see if he was at fault on Sunday below, so let’s get to it.
6:19 of 1st Quarter, 3rd and 8 from SF 41: Hoyer sacked at SF 31 for -10 yards (Preston Smith, Matthew Ioannidis)
Hoyer completes his dropback, seems to have someone, and then hesitates. To me, he was going to go for the underneath option, but saw it was short of the sticks, and was hoping to buy some time. He didn’t get that time though, as both Daniel Kilgore and Brandon Fusco got pushed back into Hoyer. Maybe Hoyer held onto the ball too long, but the pocket really got broken down on the play. Staley loses his man late as well, and Hyde doesn’t do much as a blocker.
Moving onto the coaches film, we see three 49ers receivers turn just at the line of scrimmage, but all are covered fairly well save for Trent Taylor at the bottom of the screen. These are all timing routes and the ball has to be coming out by the time the receiver starts to cut, and Hoyer is nowhere close to even looking at that side of the field, unfortunately.
2:53 of 2nd Quarter, 1st and 10 from SF 26: Cousins sacked at SF 31 for -4 yards (Solomon Thomas)
One thing I like on this play is D.J. Jones’ ability to recognize a closed door and move on. He gets out and around really quickly, though was ultimately not in on the sack. Still, it’s good hustle from a player I’m not super familiar with. Solomon Thomas gets the sack on this play, and it’s a good bit of disengagement on his part. He gets away from his blocker to bring Cousins down and looked pretty good doing it.
Cousins definitely had his underneath man for a gain of about 6 yards if he wanted that, and on first down it was probably the smart option. But he either wanted to run or felt good about one of the deep routes, all of which I think the 49ers covered quite well.
11:17 of 3rd Quarter, 1st and 10 from WAS 30: Beathard sacked at WAS 41 for -11 yards (Ryan Kerrigan)
There is some serious contact with the tight end at the top of the screen, like a full 6 yards down the field. That’s concerning, and perhaps that’s how Beathard wanted to go to. It was a pretty decent play action I thought. It looks like the 49ers’ offensive line thinks Beathard has the ball way because they stop blocking, and Daniel Kilgore gets punked by Ryan Kerigan. Like, big time.
So here’s what Beathard saw down the field. He primarily keeps his head to the right, which is a shame, because he gets a man deep over the top in the middle of the field. It’s a for sure touchdown that he completely misses, and has plenty of time to make that throw. It is worth noting that there was a ton of contact near where he was looking though, and no flags were thrown.
4:08 of 3rd Quarter, 3rd and 5 from WAS 20: Beathard sacked at WAS 28 for -8 yards (Ioannidis)
This is just bad play from Kilgore, who gets pushed far back and can’t reset his feet to go back after his man. Trent Brown handles his business while both Kilgore and Fusco kind of get jammed up together. Fusco doesn’t do well, but Kilgore is ultimately to blame, I feel.
So here’s what Beathard saw down the field. By the time he’s sacked, I feel like he should already have the ball out to the underneath option on the right side. That’s on him. Beathard gets taken down fast so I can’t say it’s all on him, but a high-level quarterback let’s the ball fly. Then again, there is a receiver getting open deep on the left side, and more time for Beathard could easily have resulted in a touchdown.
Also, I see what looks to be defensive holding by Washington at the 10-yard line. Lot of that going on this game.