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There’s no defending what the 49ers did on Sunday. They failed in every aspect of their 43-17 stomping by the Miami Dolphins, and it started with Brian Allen. Promoted off the practice squad for the week, he was left out to dry as the Dolphins challenged him time and time again.
Robert Saleh did not scheme ways to provide him help in coverage, and Allen was torched to the tune of 139 receiving yards, 31 penalty yards (two penalties) and two touchdowns before Ahkello Witherspoon replaced him in the second quarter.
NBC Sports Bay Area’s Donte Whiter, a former standout 49ers defensive back in his own right, put the blame initially on defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.
“It was really ugly. Robert Saleh, you really let this football team down today,” Whitner said. “I put everything on him. If they don’t give up those big passes and those early scores, they’re able to stick with the running game more, they’re able to use the misdirection. They’re able to use the play-action pass. Once you fall behind two or three scores, your running game is out the window. Now you have to rely on your quarterbacks to read defenses. It was very difficult for them to do today. So Robert Saleh, this game is on you.”
But Whitner included Witherspoon in his scathing critique, saying that it was on Witherspoon for not telling the coaching staff he could go. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said that Witherspoon came up to the coaching staff in the second quarter and told them he felt good enough to play. In a bizarre admission, he said he was happy Witherspoon didn’t tear his hamstring.
Whitner wasn’t having it.
“Initially, it’s on the player,” Whitner said. “If you know that you can get out there and compete and help your football team, why would you sit on the sideline? You know that this guy is overmatched.
“This is what I’ve being saying all year and I’ll say it now: Ahkello Witherspoon is soft. S-O-F-T. You let the football team down by letting this young guy get out there. You guys fell behind three scores and there’s no coming back. So it’s on him and Robert Saleh.”