Officially, the San Francisco 49ers allowed three sacks in their season-opening loss to the Minnesota Vikings. A fourth sack was allowed, but was nullified due to a defensive penalty on the Vikings, but in our first breakdown of the breakdowns along the offensive line, we’re going to take a look at all four.
In-all, I thought the offensive line did a decent job given the injuries that occurred. Joe Staley and Weston Richburg had good games, and so did Mike McGlinchey, though he was beaten a couple times. Surprisingly, I thought McGlinchey played his best football when he moved to right guard after the injuries happened.
It’s possible that the extremely lacking play of Garry Gilliam served to make McGlinchey look better, of course.
Garoppolo had a very uneven game for the 49errs, and as the game went on, the Vikings put more and more pressure on him. They allowed a sack per quarter, but Garoppolo was pressured much more in the second half than the first, at least that how I saw it. I thought, for the most part, Garoppolo handled the pressure okay, but he held onto the ball too long on a few plays and, of course, was pressured into some bad throws late.
But we’ve been over that for the most part. Let’s dive into the coaches’ film and break down the sacks allowed by the 49ers.
3:27, 1st Quarter, 1st-and-20 at SF 15: Garoppolo sacked at SF 6 for -9 yards (Everson Griffen, Sheldon Richardson)
Eventually, it’s Joe Staley’s man that brings down Garoppolo, but the real breakdown occurs at right guard, where Mike Person gets shoved wide right off the snap. Garoppolo starts to get away from that, but Staley has done all he can without drawing a holding penalty. Let’s take a look downfield and see if there was anything for Garoppolo.
As we can see, Garoppolo has a man underneath to his right, but he has two defenders just waiting to jump that route and grab an easy interception, so it’s a smart decision to not let go of that ball. He also doesn’t have time to get out of the tackle box to throw the ball away, while the three receivers to his left don’t open in time. In fact, only one of them gets open at all, on the deep curl, but Garoppolo is already down by the time he turns.
3:37, 2nd Quarter, 2nd-and-Goal at MIN 3: Garoppolo sacked at MIN 8 for -5 yards (Danielle Hunter), PENALTY on Xavier Rhodes, Defensive Holding (Kendrick Bourne), No Play
This play was wiped out due to a defensive holding penalty on Xavier Rhodes, who forced Kendrick Bourne to the ground on the play. Had he not done that, it’s certainly possible that Bourne would have cut inside and been open for a touchdown. But we’ll look at where the breakdown occured regardless — Laken Tomlinson, and then Mike McGlinchey.
You could argue that McGlinchey did enough to get his man around the edge so Garoppolo could step into a throw, and that an attempt might have been made if a penalty didn’t occur, so I’m not going to be too hard on McGlinchey here. But Tomlinson was definitely beaten off the ball.
1:24, 3rd Quarter, 1st-and-10 at MIN 17: Garoppolo sacked at MIN 22 for -5 yards (Hunter)
This is after both Person and Garnett were injured, prompting McGlinchey to move to right guard and Garry Gilliam to come in at right tackle. McGlinchey holds up fine on this play, as do everyone to his left. It’s Gillian who is beaten, and it’s not even close. Garoppolo takes a hard, hard hit as Gilliam is soundly beaten around the outside. But was there anything for Garoppolo?
Short answer: no. Long answer: kind of. At the end of the play you’ll see a receiver getting open in the end zone on the top right, and if Garoppolo releases that ball early on a timing throw, that could be a touchdown. Great quarterbacks have made that throw before and I certainly believe Garoppolo is capable of doing it. He probably should have uncorked that one over the top and taken an incompletion at the very worst.
6:32, 4th Quarter, 3rd-and-5 at 50: Garoppolo sacked at SF 40 for -10 yards (Harrison Smith)
Tomlinson makes a call with Weston Richburg just before this play starts that I stupidly didn’t catch in the gif. There’s no telling what the call was, but the two double-teamed Richburg’s man, which is probably what that meant.
Breida is in the backfield to pick up the blitz, but it’s essentially an all-out from the Vikings here, and Tomlinson-Richburg double when they should have went single. If Tomlinson gets the linebacker, then Breida might have a shot at chopping Smith. It really does look here like Breida has time to get in the way of Smith — and he has to know that Staley is getting the edge rusher, so he probably should have made the other decision. Let’s go downfield again.
This is a well-designed play by both teams, honestly. The 49ers get Trent Taylor wide open in the middle of the field. There’s a linebacker underneath covering covering the receiver out wide, and if the pass isn’t perfect, it could be picked. But tossed over the head, Taylor has a first down to extend a potential game-tying drive. That said, Garoppolo is hit so quickly I can’t really fault him here.