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Anatomy of defeat

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We take an in depth look at the five key turnovers versus the Cardinals

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Close your eyes. What if I told you C.J. Beathard would throw for close to 350 yards, and the San Francisco 9ers would go 10 for 17 on 3rd downs. What if I told you we would achieve close to 450 yards of total offense, and hold our competition to only half that. Imagine our defense holding the opposing quarterback to less than 50% completion percentage and a mere 2 of 12 on third downs. Would you believe we would lose such a game? I checked the box score twice. How could such a dynamic performance earn us a loss? One word, turnovers. We had five of them to be exact. Now some of our giveaways were pretty black and white, however in doing some in depth review, some turnovers have multiple parties at fault. We win as a team, we lose as a team. Let’s get into the film.

Our first clip is an interception. After such a promising drive to start the game watching this pick was frustrating. I should’ve known we were in for a rough day when Robbie Gould missed the extra point after the first score. Robbie never misses, it was fore shadowing. We run this play action pass several times a game. The run action brings the line backers up, the wide receiver at the bottom of the screen runs a deep route to clear the secondary. This leaves a nice area for Pierre Garçon to run a crossing route across the field. However on this play the normally sure handed Garçon simply drops the ball. Super slow mo shows the throw might’ve been maybe half a foot too high, but that's really nit picking. Another factor is Patrick Peterson, who’s in coverage, gets there just a split second early, and prevents Garçon from really running through the catch, and he ends up sort of extending for it more he normally would without the tight coverage.

Blame: Pierre Garçon.

Our next clip is a fumble by running back Raheem Mostert. After Matt Breida went down he was put in action to relieve Alfred Morris. He has great speed, but is relegated to special teams duty for this very reason. He has ball control issues. He has 13 career regular season carries, and 2 fumbles lost. That’s a fumble every 6.5 carries just about. In comparison Alfred Morris has 1,324 career carries, and only 8 fumbles lost. This fumble however, has some co-defendants. While obviously it’s Mostert’s job to hold on to the ball. Offensive linemen Mike McGlinchey and Laken Tomlinson add to the scenario that caused the fumble. At the snap we’re running stretch run right. McGlinchey is unable to drive his defender which sets the edge, and this prevents Mostert from getting out wide to use his speed. As he cuts up the field, there’s a small lane, however Tomlinson’s defender, Rodney Gunter No. 95, beats him across his face, and in turn tackles Mostert in the backfield causing the fumble.

Blame: Mostly Mostert but poor execution by McGlinchey and very poor execution by Tomlinson.

Our next clip is a strip sack. The difference between Beathard and Jimmy Garoppolo is Jimmy’s ability to quickly progress through his options and find the open guy. Often times we see him completing passes to his 3rd, sometimes 4th read. I believe both of them share similar arm talent, and both move well but, this play outlines that specific difference. Kyle Shanahan draws up a great play action pass. It just looks like the timing between CJ and wide receiver Richie James is off. CJ is waiting and waiting for him to break off this curl route. However in waiting CJ misses a wide open Kyle Juszczyk. It also doesn’t help on this play that Joe Staley, who had his hands full all game, gets beat badly. As CJ hits the top of his drop he also has the option to step up through the pocket and give Staley a better angle to recover, but CJ just does this little hop thing and ends up losing the football.

Blame: CJ Beathard mostly but Staley’s job is to block and he failed at that as well.

Our next clip is another strip sack. Here’s where I add some of the blame to the coaching staff. I left the down and distance frame up for context. Two point game, 5 minutes left, and we’re just about 10 yards from midfield. It is 2nd and 11, but we don’t need to get it all on one play. A field goal would win it. We just saw a strip sack no less than 2 minutes ago, yet Shanahan continues to put CJ in positions for bad things to happen. Our running game has been pretty consistent since week one. In fact, we’re averaging five yards a carry. We also know CJ’s thing has always been holding the ball too long, so I’m pretty sure Kyle knows it, but it’s like he’s too stubborn to change his play calling. He wants to show everyone, even with a backup he can still run deep passes. It’s overkill.

Arizona is showing blitz here, I highlighted all 8 defenders in the box. We’re in 4 wide with Morris in the backfield to block. Morris is 5’11 probably with spikes on. I googled it and the average height for an NFL defensive lineman is 6’3. The weight difference is even wider. Despite that the blitz is picked up. The strip sack occurs because CJ is waiting for Trent Taylor to break open. He never looks at anyone else. CJ stares down Taylor, as he fights to get free. He does but by then it’s too late. George Kittle is open at the top of the screen on a quick out. The other two receivers are running deep routes.

Blame: CJ Beathard, move to the next progression. Kyle Shanahan for not running more, especially with Captain “hold the ball” behind center, and the refs, that was illegal contact.

Our last clip, is the last pick of the game. CJ is desperate at this point being down two scores and is trying to push the issue. Problem is it’s first down and there’s plenty of plays to come if we just string together some completions. Instead he tries to fit the ball between three defenders in zone coverage, and he’s inaccurate. It’s possible he could’ve taken the short completion to Kittle at the top of the screen. I initially in review thought maybe he was expecting Victor Bolden to sit down and run more of a curl, but in review both outside receivers run the same crossing type route so it wasn’t an option route that was misread. This is just a poor throw.

Blame: CJ Beathard

This week, we face Green Bay and I want to see if Kyle and Co. learned anything from this game. Will they call more plays like that first drive that take advantage of defensive tendencies? Or will we continue to see six and seven step drops with long developing routes. One silver lining is CJ has drawn several personal fouls for roughing the passer and body weight penalties which never happened with Jimmy G. He simply got the ball out before anyone could touch him let alone land on him. The defense will face a stiff challenge, but it will be up to the offense to score and do their part to win the game. Green Bay is reeling right now and could be overlooking the 49ers. If we play defensively like we did on Sunday, we could have a shot of only losing by 3. Lol Go Niners!