It’s been a tough first three weeks for the 49ers, and a tough start to the season for Jimmy Garoppolo.
Thrust back into the starting role in Week 2 after Trey Lance’s season-ending injury, Garoppolo had one of his worst games as a 49er on Sunday, not able to get the offense going in a 11-10 loss to the Broncos.
The offense as a whole was dreadful, going 1-for-10 on third downs and gaining a total of 267 yards. So what went so wrong? NFL Films executive producer Greg Cosell pointed to two factors, starting with the disappointing play of Garoppolo.
“I don’t think Garoppolo played particularly well,” Cosell told Murph & Mac on Friday. “He’s a timing and rhythm player. Obviously there’s only 17 games in the entire NFL season so there’s no excuses, but there are realities. The reality is that he did not have an offseason, he did not have a training camp. He came in the week before in a game that the Niners essentially controlled, and that touchdown pass he threw to Ross Dwelley was wide open because of the design of the play, so it was not a difficult throw. And then he didn’t have to do very much in that game because of the nature of the game.”
As is customary, Garoppolo’s stats looked better than the eye test on Sunday, with him finishing 18-for-29 with a touchdown and a pick, and a QB rating of 81.2. Still, Cosell explained why that didn’t tell the whole story.
“This was a game in which the game and the slog nature of the game demanded him to make some tight throws, some difficult throws, and he didn’t make them. Then there were some other throws that were completions but he was not precisely accurate. He hit [Deebo] Samuel on a play that was a completion that really should’ve been an 85-yard touchdown. It started their fifth possession with Samuel 32 yards, and he under threw it, it should’ve been an 85 yard touchdown.
“He was not sharp mentally, he was not sharp physically, and he did not have a very good game.”
Beyond Garoppolo, the 49ers’ bread and butter running game just couldn’t get going. Kyle Shanahan has historically used the run to set up the pass, but the ground game stalled out early.
“I think the other factor that’s playing into this now, and this could well be a function of the interior three of their o-line being brand new, is they’re not really running the ball with consistency,” Cosell continued. “They had the big run by Wilson on the touchdown drive and then they had maybe an 18-20 yarder by Wilson, which made his numbers not look bad, but when this team is running well, they’re sustaining offense with the run game. They’re staying ahead of the chains, and they have not really been able to do that.
“So, they have a lot to clean up. History tells you that it will likely get cleaned up. It was just a tough loss because the defense played really well.”
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