The San Francisco 49ers beat the Carolina Panthers so badly that they fired their head coach the following morning. However, Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo helped the 49ers stay in attack mode to help San Francisco earn their third win before finishing back-to-back east coast games before the bye. Let’s look at three things we learned from Week 5.
Shanahan put his players in a position to win
The 49ers won by 22 points, and it should have been more. Shanahan dialed up an attacking offensive game plan to combat the start of his third-string left tackle. Throws on early downs allowed Garoppolo to get in a rhythm and kept the defense out of whack when defending the run.
Player execution must improve if this team wants to hoist the Super Bowl trophy. George Kittle’s fumble halted the momentum. Then, Brandon Aiyuk missed another opportunity to show us his dynamic ability when he couldn't reel in a crucial 3rd and 5 throw.
I loved how Shanahan trusted Jauan Jennings on third down after Jennings had a few drops on third last week. Tevin Coleman established himself as the best receiving back on the team with his spectacular 30-yard catch.
Garoppolo shakes off early misses and moves the offense consistently
Garoppolo had a near interception to safety Juston Burris on San Francisco’s second offensive drive before he rekindled with George Kittle on back-to-back passes. Unfortunately, Kittle’s fumble ended the drive.
Garoppolo’s back-shoulder throw to Aiyuk against the blitz on third down was riveting. I know Aiyuk could not make the catch, but Garoppolo stood strong in the pocket to deliver an on-target throw outside the numbers.
Garoppolo’s best sequence came when a penalty negated his rushing touchdown. He threw a catchable ball to Deebo Samuel on the next play, but Samuel didn’t run hard enough to make a play on the ball. Garoppolo targeted Samuel again on third and goal for the touchdown.
There have been times when we’ve seen Garoppolo almost curl into a ball when things go haywire in the red zone. However, Garoppolo never wavered and silenced the red zone struggles.
Adversity begins, or did it ever leave?
What would sports be without adversity? The 49er’s misfortune continues in 2022 with the loss of CB2 Emmanuel Moseley to a torn ACL. In addition, San Francisco’s pair of starting defensive tackles have missed time, Jimmie Ward injured himself on the first play of the game, and Nick Bosa’s groin injury could linger through the season.
Robbie Gould’s bone bruise is concerning, as we saw Mitchell Wishnowsky attempt kicking duties. Gould is monumental to San Francisco’s scoring with red zone struggles over the years. Gould is second to Justin Tucker in adding win probability from a field goal since 2012.
DeMeco Ryans’ defense must drive through the speed bumps and continue to play at a high level. Moseley’s departure will be the biggest void to fill. San Francisco’s secondary has tremendously improved in defending the ball in the air and limited penalties downfield.