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Golden Nuggets: Mistakes were the name of the game for the 49ers

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Monday, September 14, 20220

Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

It’s going to be a long week as we put every mistake the San Francisco 49ers made under the microscope.

49ers HC Shanahan: Jimmy Garoppolo has ‘gotta play better’

immy Garoppolo picked up where he left off in the Super Bowl. It resulted in another come-from-ahead loss for the 49ers on Sunday.

More criticism for Jimmy G and his missed throws is sure to follow.

There were two balls in particular that the San Francisco quarterback would surely like to have back.

With the Niners trailing by four and a minute remaining, Garoppolo threw short of a wide-open Kendrick Bourne in the end zone, his pass bouncing off Patrick Peterson’s helmet. Three plays later on fourth-and-5, Jimmy G threw behind Trent Taylor, which allowed Byron Murphy to recover and bat it away and seal the Arizona Cardinals24-20 upset.

“I can’t really put my finger on one (play) right now, but there’s a number of them,” Garoppolo said upon being asked where he’d want a do-over. “Missed throws, missed opportunities we usually make.”

“He had some good plays in there, but just like the rest of the offense (he) had some missed opportunities,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters. “He’s gotta play better. We’ve all gotta play better. The entire offense missed opportunities.”

Rapid Reactions: Arizona Cardinals upset 49ers in season opener

What a win. Really not sure what the 49ers were thinking down four points with five minutes left and in no rush to move the ball downfield. They ran the ball and went with a short passing attack that chewed up almost all of the clock. They basically said, “We either win or lose with this possession,” when they had the option to play for two chances and possibly two field goals to win the game.

Maybe Shanahan knew his defense couldn’t stop the Cardinals or his defense was spent! Either way San Fran gave themselves only one chance to win with plenty of time left and failed. Credit to Vance Joseph’s defense for coming up with a huge stop to seal the win. Byron Murphy was always going to be a stud and he made the play on Taylor to knock the ball away on 4th and five that for all intent and purposes ended the game.

Loss to Cardinals Exposes 49ers in Bid to Repeat as NFC Champions

Shanahan has long been hailed as one of the game’s most innovative play-callers. But for the second time in as many games, his play-calling was questionable at times, especially in the second half. Yes, the run game wasn’t great Sunday, but abandoning it entirely at the end of the deciding drive was puzzling given the team’s injuries at receiver.

After Kittle returned to the field early in the second half, he wasn’t targeted for the rest of the game. Not once.

That’s more than puzzling.

With the offense sputtering against the NFL’s worst defense last year, the NFC’s best defense in 2019 was left with little room for mistakes. But the Niners didn’t turn in an error-free performance on that side of the ball, either. Far from it.

Kyle Shanahan’s Gamble Proves Costly for 49ers

During his postgame press conference, Kyle Shanahan told the assembled press, “I thought we had a chance to run away with it in the first half.” It was that belief that led Shanahan to make a call that would ultimately cost his team the game.

Kyle Shanahan: Wide receivers weren’t the problem in 49ers loss

“I don’t think those guys did play bad today,” Shanahan said during his postgame press conference.

Bourne finished the game with two catches for 34 yards, one of them being one of the two successful third down conversions the 49ers had on the day. Taylor finished with two catches for five yards while Pettis finished with zero catches on one target, while both Taylor and Pettis had opportunities on punt returns.

There were certainly chances the receivers would like to have back, most notably the passes that went in their direction on the team’s failed final possession. But Shanahan said the team wasn’t planning much on throwing to the receivers this week given how thin they were at the position and didn’t think they were a big reason behind the offense’s inconsistencies.

“I’ll watch the tape on them,” Shanahan said. “There’s a couple opportunities that they did have. KB (Bourne) had a big third down for us that he did his job on that. I think Trent had a chance on that last fourth down that we went to him on. I would like for it to get a little bit more in front of him. But I’m not blaming them at all in this game. We didn’t do very good as a whole offense. The game plan wasn’t going to those guys much knowing how light we were going into the game. Obviously we’ve got to get better in every spot, but this game isn’t put on the receivers at all.”

Cardinals vs. 49ers - Game Recap - September 13, 2020

“We were in that situation plenty of times last year,” Garoppolo said. “When you get in those situations, obviously it’s a little different today without the crowd, that game-day feel wasn’t there. It just comes down to execution. In the last minutes like that, every play is crucial, every yard is crucial. We just didn’t execute.”