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Golden Nuggets: The overreactions continue, but are they justified?

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Tuesday, September 15, 2020

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

The You Did It to Yourself Award for a Self-Inflicted Mistake

Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers

Here’s where we introduce Garoppolo, whose 49ers started their defense of the NFC title with a 24-20 upset loss at home against the Cardinals. Garoppolo’s raw numbers look good, as he went 19-of-33 for 259 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 103.0, but he wasn’t anywhere near as impressive as those numbers indicated. (For one, 76 of those yards came on a Raheem Mostert completion in which Mostert racked up 71 yards after catch.)

The key moment of this game came just before the end of the first half. Facing a Cardinals team that had been ripped to shreds by tight ends in 2019, George Kittle was already up to four catches for 44 yards. The 49ers were up 10-7 and facing second-and-4 from the Arizona 8-yard line with 44 seconds to go. They tried to dial up a bubble screen to Kittle, but Garoppolo’s pass to Kittle sailed, forcing the star tight end to unsuccessfully leap for the football. Kendrick Bourne missed his block on the outside, allowing Budda Baker to hit an exposed Kittle in the leg. Kittle limped off, and while he returned to the game, he didn’t catch a pass the rest of the way.

In the second half, Garoppolo went 8-of-17 for 89 yards, 41 of which came on one pass to Kyle Juszczyk. He threw a terrible interception on the run, only to be bailed out by a questionable pass-interference call. On the final drive, Garoppolo wasn’t able to get the ball to an open Bourne in the end zone for what would have been a game-winning touchdown. His throw on fourth-and-5 at the end of the game led color commentator Chris Spielman to say, “I think the route was fine; I think the pass was bad,” which is the sort of criticism you don’t typically hear of quarterbacks who just went to the Super Bowl.

Even in his seventh NFL season, Garoppolo’s pocket presence remains a work in progress. He is alternately flat-footed or wildly jumpy in the pocket, with one sack on Sunday in which he appeared to be riding the Mad Tea Party ride.

Aaron Rodgers for MVP, Tom Brady is done, 49ers are hung over: Worst overreactions from NFL Week 1

‘The 49ers won’t recover from their Super Bowl hangover’

Jimmy Garoppolo missed some throws — including the overthrow that got Kittle hurt — just as he did in Super Bowl 54 against the Chiefs. But the 49ers were operating without a deep threat and were reliant big-time on short to intermediate passes.

The dual-threat Murray drove the 49ers batty when he was a rookie last season, and after two narrow wins San Francisco was due for an outcome to be flipped. The defense was adjusting to losing lineman DeForest Buckner, and No. 2 cornerback Emmanuel Mosley got exploited.

The 49ers are still a very good team and should be considered a contender to win the NFC again. But the conference is top-heavy and also has promising upstart teams such as the Cardinals. San Francisco is no longer sneaking up on anyone, either; it has gone from hunter to hunted.

Garoppolo comes up short in 49ers season-opening loss

The San Francisco 49ers still had a chance to win despite several missed chances on offense and a defense that wilted late against Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals.

But with the game in Jimmy Garoppolo’s hands, the Niners quarterback came up short once again.

Garoppolo missed an open receiver in the end zone and was off-target on a fourth-down pass on the final drive, sending the Niners to a season-opening 24-20 loss to Arizona on Sunday.

“You don’t always hit guys perfectly in stride,” coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday. “You under throw a ball and it makes it not perfect so the receiver has to go and make a play and they didn’t. But there’s nothing more to it. It’s pretty simple. He under threw it just a hair on both of them. Guys still had chances, but it would’ve been a real good play if they’d made it.”

NFL picks, predictions for Week 2: Cowboys, 49ers get on board with wins; Vikings edge Colts

Overreactions to Week 1 results are common, and suggesting the defending NFC champions are in trouble because they lost their season opener to a division rival is certainly an overreaction. Suggesting the Jets are still bad does not feel like an overreaction. Adam Gase’s team needs to flip that perception quickly before things get nasty in New York, but that’s unlikely to happen in Week 2.

Pick: 49ers 30, Jets 20

San Francisco 49ers’ crown means little in loaded NFC West - San Francisco 49ers Blog- ESPN

“I don’t think anybody is thinking about what happened last season after today,” tackle Mike McGlinchey said. “Today is the first day of moving forward and moving past all of that. It doesn’t feel good losing any football games, but we understand it’s Week 1, we have a long season to go and we have a lot of things to clean up.”

Yes, the same Cardinals who finished last in the division a year ago handed San Francisco its first loss of the season, something that didn’t happen until Week 10 last year. In knocking off the reigning division champs, the Cardinals made it clear that there is no easy out in the NFC West.

In fact, by the time Sunday’s action was over, the Niners were the only team in the NFC West with a loss, a double whammy since the defeat came to a divisional foe.

Thompson: Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t do much to ... - The Athletic

“Missed throws, missed opportunities we usually make,” Garoppolo said afterward, then offered his solution. “Gotta take it for what it is, look at the film, be hard on yourself like we always are, and move on. Gotta use the 24-hour rule.”

Unfortunately for 49ers fans, they don’t have that luxury. Hate to break it to you, Jimmy G.

It had been seven months since Garoppolo last played a game. Seven months since he couldn’t deliver a fourth-quarter drive, including the overthrow of a lifetime when Emmanuel Sanders beat his man for what looked to be the go-ahead TD in the Super Bowl. Seven months of questions about how good Garoppolo actually is and whether his impressive regular season was but a mask for the flaws that surfaced in the playoffs. Seven months of preparation, of stewing for a chance at redemption.

And after those seven months, Garoppolo looked very much like the quarterback we last saw. Still not the passer and playmaker who shined for most of 2019, still with the same struggles that kept the 49ers from cresting the championship hill.