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Why lack of execution led to a disappointing performance from the 49ers’ offense

Frustrating drops, poor pass protection and Jimmy Garoppolo’s indecisiveness lead to an ugly offensive performance vs. Seahawks.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Before the game, if someone had told you that Seattle would turn the ball over three times, quarterback Russell Wilson would get sacked five times, and the Seahawks score 24 points in regulation — you would tell me that the 49ers win that game nine out of 10 times.

But, injuries to tight end George Kittle and wideout Emmanuel Sanders, along with poor offensive line play and unreliable receiver play, lead to a poor offensive showing from San Francisco, who end up losing 27-24 to Seattle in OT.

Re-watching the game, the most eye-popping and frustrating thing was that the play calls and designs were good enough to win the game, but some facet of the offense would not execute their job, and the play would break down.

As a team, the 49ers finished with 302 yards of offense on the day, but only 87 of those yards came on the ground — less than half of their season average. The negatives were the turnovers — two Jimmy Garoppolo fumbles and one interception. It gave way to 14 Seattle points — 14 of their 27.

In this first play below, the way that Seattle’s initially lined up makes it seems like they are playing single-high safety and loading up the box to stop the run, but it’s a well-disguised Cover-2 look from the Seahawks.

With the corners playing man coverage underneath, wideout Kendrick Bourne can get past the defender, and Garoppolo delivers an accurate pass to Bourne for the first down.

That was one of the plays that the 49ers’ offense executed well on all levels, and they were able to come away with a first down as a result. On this next play, Sanders will come open on the right side of the screen, and Garoppolo just throws high and wide on this throw. Here’s one of the plays where Garoppolo has to be more accurate for his receivers.

Here’s great pre-snap recognition from Garoppolo at the line of scrimmage. With the middle of the field wide open and the single-high safety lined up 20 yards from the play — Garoppolo takes advantage with a quick slant to Sanders. The easy pitch and catch turns into a 12-yard gain.

Again, here’s an instance where there’s poor execution on multiple levels, and that leads to an incomplete pass and a punt. Garoppolo gets hesitant in the pocket — when I think he could have dumped it off to running back Tevin Coleman in the flat. He starts to get jumpy and leaves the pocket and makes a decent throw to Pettis, but it ends up incomplete.

It seems like Garoppolo should make the simple completion and try to make a first down on the play — considering it was only 3rd-and-3.

Now, here’s a play where Garoppolo does his part, but the offensive line and wideout Dante Pettis let him down. Seattle’s in a Cover-2, with zone underneath and Kyle Shanahan’s passing concept, has Pettis running an out route and Coleman in the flat between the two-zone defenders.

Garoppolo delivers a great ball — despite immediate pressure from the Seattle front — and Pettis initially catches the ball, but drops it as a result of the hit on the sideline.

Here’s another successful play from the 49ers’ offense. Seattle brings seven players near the line of scrimmage and leaves the middle of the field wide open. 49ers run play action, sucking in the Seahawks’ linebacker and wideout Deebo Samuel runs a quick slant in behind him.

Garoppolo does a great job of hitting him in stride, and Samuel’s able to turn on the jets for a 30-yard gain on the play.

This next play is an embodiment of the poor showing of the entire offensive line. Seahawks’ defensive end Jadeveon Clowney bursts past left tackle Joe Staley and single-handedly blows up the play as the whole. Garoppolo has nowhere to go and has to eat the loss on the play, as a result of Clowney’s rush.

In this instance, Garoppolo has to feel the rush and dump off the ball to his check-down option (tight end Ross Dwelley in the flat), but instead, he chooses to hold onto it for slightly longer, and it turns into a negative play for San Francisco. It certainly doesn’t help that McGlinchey gets beat on the play and gets pushed back into Garoppolo’s lap.

And now for the most frustrating play of the game. 49ers are down three in the fourth quarter and have a 3rd-and-8 in the red zone. They can get the first down here and make it 1st-and-goal with a chance to take the lead. 49ers sense the pressure from Seattle, Garoppolo holds onto the ball till the last second delivers a strike to Bourne — only for it to clank off of his hands and hit the ground.

The story of the offense on Monday was lack of execution from start to finish. The 49ers cannot afford to do that against the Cardinals on Sunday, otherwise they could be staring at their second-straight loss.