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Golden Nuggets: The 49ers have to find a way to get their running game going

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The overreactions are pouring in and won’t slow down anytime soon. The 49ers need to flush Sunday’s loss and focus on Seattle, who will be more desperate than ever next week.

Good, bad and ugly: How PFF graded 49ers in Week 3 loss

On the offensive line, Trent Williams was his usual self, dominating in run blocking but allowing two quarterback hits on Jimmy Garoppolo. Daniel Brunskill and Alex Mack both had challenging days, the right guard allowed four pressures and the center allowed two, including one sack.

On the defensive side of the ball, Arik Armstead continued quietly dominating the interior of the defensive line. Finally the veteran lineman got through for a sack of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers after two weeks of racking up multiple pressures.

Loss changed perception of Jimmy G’s performance vs. Packers

The 49ers are a dramatically better team when he plays than when he does not. That is indisputable, though it also has a lot to do with the level of 49ers backups in recent seasons.

Clearly, it was a priority for the 49ers during the offseason to have another long-term plan. Despite what they might say, the issues the 49ers have with Garoppolo are not solely injury-related.

Yet, Garoppolo remains the current unquestioned starter. The belief is that he gives the 49ers the best chance to win now — but not in the future.

Through most of Sunday night’s game, Garoppolo was part of the problem, it seemed.

In the closing minute, he was the solution.

Minutia minute: 49ers were leaky in the middle; breaking down a tailback-light loss

Afterward, Shanahan said it wasn’t uncommon for three healthy tailbacks to go without an offensive snap, but that’s not true. The 49ers simply did not carve out a big role for tailbacks in the game.

Not counting penalties, the 49ers had a tailback, Sermon, in the backfield on 36 of their 70 offensive plays. On the others, it was either Juszczyk in the backfield by himself, an empty backfield, Deebo Samuel as the lone back (twice) or a pairing of Juszcyk and George Kittle (twice).

The 49ers seemed particularly nervous about their tailbacks in two-minute situations. On the end-of-half and end-of-game drive — both of which ended in a 49ers touchdown — Juszczyk essentially served as the team’s lone back. He had a career-high five carries and played 48 snaps. That wasn’t a career-high. He had 68 snaps in a loss to the Cardinals in 2018.

5 key takeaways from the 49ers’ stunning loss to the Packers

The most questionable call, in my opinion, was the choice to punt on 4th & 1 at the GB 49 on the first offensive drive where the ball was actually moving. Yes, the run game wasn’t functioning and Jimmy Garoppolo looked flustered, but was there really not an opportunity there for a Garoppolo sneak or even a Trey Lance package to get that yard? I find it hard to believe.

Punting at that spot down 10-0 already gave the 49ers just 36 yards of field position, which Aaron Rodgers easily made up on his ensuing touchdown drive, making the score 17-0. With the momentum shifting towards the 49ers at that moment on their positive drive, moving forward could’ve allowed for San Francisco to control the pace of the game before the half and get the ball back to start the third quarter.

Packers third-string LT Yosh Nijman allowed zero pressures against 49ers

Josh Nijman’s impressive 2021 preseason led to an opportunity for his first career start for the Green Bay Packers during their Week 3 meeting against the San Francisco 49ers. Nijman was called on to replace Elgton Jenkins at left tackle after Jenkins was ruled out on Saturday with an ankle injury.

Nijman allowed just one sack in 88 snaps as a pass blocker during the preseason. However, nothing could prepare him for a menacing 49ers pass rush on short notice. Somehow, in an impressive yet improbable debut performance, Nijman did not allow even a single pressure, according to Pro Football Focus.