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Golden Nuggets: It's about to be a loooong bye week

Your daily San Francisco 49ers news for Monday, October 30th, 2023

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Kroichik: 49ers’ defensive players struggle to explain sudden troubles (paywall)

“That’s the least of my worries,” Warner said. “Honestly, I think players win games, not coaches. I think he’s done a great job. There are going to be ebbs and flows in the season, especially with a new defensive coordinator.”

Look Inward: 5 bye week questions for 49ers to answer after tailspin

“Double-A gap blitzes, or at least the threat of them, to disguise coverages, is few and far between. There are few examples of defensive ends being used in stand-up/interior pass rush roles in the way Charles Omenihu and Arden Key were, to substantial success. Their stunts are taking too long to develop when they are used. They drafted Ji’Aiyir Brown in the third round, who has played 26 total defensive snaps on a team which sometimes employed big nickel (three safety) packages.

The 49ers have arguably the two best linebackers in football who have the ability to flash pressure and drop into coverage. They have an abundance of positionally-flexible players.

Yet, they opt for predictability.

Cincinnati picked them apart by taking underneath throws, running multiple draws when the middle of the field was open, and then taking their one-on-one shots when they were available. San Francisco continues to appear massively vulnerable to screens as teams encourage their front to get upfield while the backend is locked into coverage 15-plus yards away.”

What Kyle Shanahan, Brock Purdy, other 49ers said after 31-17 loss vs. Bengals

“San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, quarterback Brock Purdy, and others spoke with reporters after Sunday’s 31-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Here is everything they had to say.”

Kyle Shanahan: Answers for sliding 49ers already on team

“Though the Niners are likely to be active in the search for outside help, coach Kyle Shanahan made it clear Sunday afternoon that another McCaffrey isn’t walking through that door. Which means improvement must largely come from within, a process that will begin with plenty of self-reflection over the bye week before the Niners play the Jacksonville Jaguars on Nov. 12.”

3 takeaways after 49ers drop 3rd straight in ugly loss to Bengals

“The defense’s inability to get stops for consecutive drives and Purdy’s turnovers are the clear top problems for this team. Put them in whatever order you want, but they are pressing, existential problems.”

Kawakami: Should Steve Wilks be the 49ers’ scapegoat for this losing streak? No, at least not yet (paywall)

“Heading into the bye week, the 49ers’ D seems a little caught-in-between: The defensive front hasn’t been getting to the QB reliably, so Wilks started dialing up more blitzes but then got burned to bits when he called an all-out blitz at the end of the first half in Minnesota and other consequential moments. So he pulled back this week. But against Cincinnati, the 49ers’ D neither got to Burrow enough (including on the tone-setting play of the game, when Burrow escaped from two 49ers’ rushers, stepped aside and completed an 11-yard pass on third-and-10 to fuel the Bengals’ first TD drive) or tackled well when he completed passes.”

49ers’ Christian McCaffrey keeps scoring, but his production is dipping (paywall)

“With the Bengals regularly employing five-man defensive fronts to thwart the 49ers’ outside-zone runs, McCaffrey had 54 yards on 12 carries while scoring on a 2-yard run and 4-yard reception. McCaffrey, who remains the league’s rushing leader after averaging 114.7 rushing yards in his first four games, has since had fewer than 55 rushing yards in four straight games for the first time since his rookie season in 2017. He’s averaged 45.3 yards in the past four games.”

Thompson: 49ers were world beaters not long ago. Now, are they cooked? (paywall)

“The general theme from the 49ers after getting outplayed by the Bengals was how now is not the time to panic. With nine games left, we can grant that. But it’s definitely a time to be perplexed. To feel bamboozled. Hoodwinked.These 49ers look unrecognizable from the squad we were FasTraking to the Super Bowl just a few weeks ago.

While they were once physical, they suddenly look feeble. They formerly looked like the most explosive team in the league, and now they look exposed. They went from humming with precision to decidedly pedestrian, prone to penalties, missed tackles and head-scratching turnovers. It’s been such a dramatic shift, it’s hard to tell which are the real 49ers.”

Barrows: Brock Purdy is prolific, but 49ers can’t win games on a young QB’s arm alone (paywall)

“Kittle said he’s used to being the “tip of the spear” on the outside zone run plays that are the staple of the 49ers’ offense. He noted that the 49ers gained 8 yards on that play on the first snap of the game. But that was one of the few times they ran it due to penalties and the fact that they trailed from the end of the first quarter onward.

Kittle said that when the outside zone run disappears, all the plays that the 49ers have built off it — the play-action passes, the bootlegs, the quarterback keepers — disappear as well.”