There are many things that can frustrate fans in the San Francisco 49ers loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, but a lot of the threads of frustration connect to the offense. And nothing was more infuriating than the drops.
Per Pro Football Focus, there were a total of six drops committed by the 49ers. Three for Pierre Garçon, and one each for the trio of George Kittle, Kendrick Bourne, and Cole Wick. Garçon tied Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Michael Crabtree for most drops Sunday. It is worth noting Garçon entered the game with one drop through the first four games.
The drops themselves wouldn’t be so maddening if they were simply drops, but that’s just too easy, now isn’t it? They wound up producing awful consequences. One of Garçon’s drops could be better classified as self-batted pass that landed in the hands of a Cardinals defender. Was it catchable? After rewatching the game (don’t get me started), the pass looks like it could have been caught if not for Garçon getting tripped up at the last (and perfect) minute which may have messed with his timing. The other two were just bad. One was a low-thrown ball, but still catchable for a first down. The other may have been a bit behind, but Garçon should have been able to turn and catch it. It would have been another first down if he did.
The Kendrick Bourne drop teetered on the realm of unacceptable. Bourne had a nice path to make a lateral move and cut down the field for a first down. The pass hit him right in the numbers and bounced in the air for what could have been an easy interception if defenders were placed right. Those are catches you need to make if you want to keep your job.
That brings us to the Cole Wick drop. On 3rd and goal on the 49ers’ 1-yard line, C.J. Beathard throws an absolute dart that had everyone thinking Cole Wick caught it. By everyone, I mean everyone because the foghorn that plays for every 49ers touchdown at Levi’s Stadium even started a brief rumble before it was apparent Wick dropped it. As one of the more maddening drops, at least Beathard was able to get the ball into Trent Taylor’s hands a play later—good teams can at least do that.
And finally, the George Kittle drop. The Wick drop probably wins for worse drop of the day, but the Kittle drop is up there. For a two point conversion, Beathard threw another dart that looked locked into Kittle’s bicep, and then it fell out. It was yet another catch he should have had. It was a catch you thought he had for a brief moment.
The 49ers have had drop issues for several games and they are going to need to get these fixed if they are ever going to be competitive. C.J. Beathard went 34 for 54 on Sunday, which gives him a 62 completion percentage. Had those six drops not happened, Beathard’s numbers would have shot up to a near 75 completion percentage. And yes folks, that’s very good for anyone, not just C.J. Beathard.
Catch the [site decorum] ball!