Bad news, 49ers fans: of the six sacks allowed by the team against the Lions in Week 2, only half could be considered coverage sacks. After the game, I saw many 49ers fans attributing the sacks to coverage sacks and not on any offensive lineman in particular.
More accurately, people were hesitant to place the blame on Jimmy Garoppolo, but in doing some extensive film review, there’s really only a couple sacks I can pin on the offensive line.
This week, I’m going to try something a little a different and give a verdict for each sack after my short breakdowns of the coaches film. This batch of six sacks were actually fairly tough to analyze as a group, because a couple of them really could be blamed on multiple parties, from Garoppolo to the offensive play design to the defensive play design.
Either way, there are six sacks and 12 gifs to get through, so let’s jump in.
Note: if these gifs appear tiny for some reason (an issue some have reported on Google Chrome), click them to make them the proper size, which is 555 x 308. I’m not sure why they’re coming up tiny, but we’re looking into it.
8:22 of 1st Quarter, 1st-and-Goal at DET 10: Garoppolo sacked for -8 yards (Jarrad Davis)
Coverage sacks in the red one are the worst, aren’t they? Everybody holds their own here, and George Kittle even makes a really good second effort to try and get to the man who eventually brings Garoppolo down, but he can’t stop him. I thought both tight ends did an excellent job on this play, and you can’t fault Kittle too much for it as it lasted an awfully long time.. I do think there was room for Garoppolo to scramble — and on first down, it would make sense.
This is where I fault Garoppolo — yes the coverage is solid, but it looks like both of those receivers are running timing routes, and if he has al ittle trust in his man, he could hit either of them — but by the time they are actually open (and the man up top is close enough that his route could be jumped, so it’s not a guaranteed touchdown by any means), Garoppolo is brought down.
Verdict: Not an amazing play design by any stretch, but Garoppolo could have found his man to the left. No fault on the offensive line here, and you could call this one a coverage sack.
7:36 of 1st Quarter, 2nd-and-Goal at DET 18: Garoppolo sacked for -9 yards (Devon Kennard)
One-on-one, Kennard simply beats Mike McGlinchey on this play. He looks like he’s got it handled initially, but simply cannot get his hips around fast enough, allowing the edge rusher to get around and bring down Garoppolo. Garoppolo looked like he was just about ready to uncork one over the middle on the slant.
The Lions play close coverage on the play, but after the initial linebacker is past, Garoppolo definitely has a man over the middle. It’s a tight window, but one that great quarterbacks can and should hit. That said, McGlinchey was beaten pretty soundly on the play.
Verdict: McGlinchey’s fault.
5:34 of 2nd Quarter, 3rd-and-8 at DET 14: Garoppolo sacked for -10 yards (Eli Harold)
Joe Staley doesn’t get faked out often, but Eli Harold gets him and Laken Tomlinson good on this play, just before he gets Garoppolo. The line tries to crash together and Staley gives Garoppolo an extra second or two by recovering in time. Tomlinson was in a position where he would have had to hold on the play. McGlinchey and Richburg handle their men — let’s take a look downfield.
There’s an awful lot of contact, enough of it for a flag in my opinion, at the bottom of the screen there. Unfortunately, the only man to get open is underneath, and his man is close enough tackle him before the 3rd-and-8 can be converted. The rest of the receivers aren’t open, and had no prospects of getting open.
Verdict: Staley and Tomlinson’s fault, though the lack of a penalty bugs me, especially with a referee right there.
1:42 of 2nd Quarter, 2nd-and-10 at SF 13: Garoppolo sacked for -9 yards (Christian Jones)
Mike Person picks up this blitzer, but is easily faked out by Jones pretending to drop back into coverage. Person goes to help McGlinchey, but instead, Jones has a clear line at the quarterback and drills him. Staley does an excellent job on the other side, and Richburg also holds his own.
It’s a 2nd-and-10, and by the time two of his receivers — the bottom two in the gif, have broken on their routes and are open. If this is supposed to be a short throw in the 49ers’ own territory, Garoppolo has more than enough time to let the ball go. The deep routes are covered well by the Lions, but Garoppolo would never have a shot at throwing to them anyway.
Verdict: Person and Garoppolo both get blame here. Gotta get that ball out.
7:47 of 4th Quarter, 2nd-and-10 at SF 25: Garoppolo sacked for -4 yards (Davis)
The offensive line does a good job of individually blocking their men, but by design, the wide alignment by the Lions spreads things out. Garoppolo, unfortunately, plays right into their hands by bouncing outside. Let’s see if there’s anything downfield (other than the holding you can see about halfway through the gif).
When Garoppolo first sets his feet, he has one man over the middle who is being held (albeit briefly) and who the safety is looking to follow initially. Garoppolo has already started to run by the time he gets someone open at the 30-yard line at the bottom of the screen, and when Garoppolo is running, nobody on the other side of the field manages to get open. Two of the receivers get so close to each other that it would be foolish to throw it with two defenders.
Verdict: Coverage sack, which in this case I’ll assign blame to the play design because I’m not sure what routes they were supposed to be running against that defense.
1:41 of 4th Quarter, 3rd-and-8 at 50: Garoppolo sacked for -10 yards (Kennard)
Kittle loses containment on his man first, but there’s a delayed blitz right behind him. Unfortunately, Garoppolo only sees Kittle’s man getting to him, and not the man behind him, so he rolls out to his right instead of his left. Let’s see if anything downfield was the reason for that.
Again, there are short throws over the middle, and the man at the bottom of the screen is likely the reason Garoppolo wants to roll out to his right as opposed to his left, but nobody is really open. The routes, as usual, are taking too long to develop.
Verdict: It’d be easy to pin this one on Kittle, and to a point that’s accurate, but it was also really great play design and a great play call by the Lions, to the point where this could be called a coverage sack or a blown play in general.