The 49ers’ offense on Sunday looked like a shell of what we’ve seen this season. The loss of Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey can’t be understated, along with adverse conditions against an elite defense.
That said, there were countless self-inflicted wounds for San Francisco, largely in the form of sacks, penalties and missed explosive plays.
Kyle Shanahan said afterwards that the 49ers expected it to be a physical, drawn-out game, and admitted that the Browns, “played better than us today.”
He pointed to mistakes on offense as the decider, failing to blame rookie kicker Jake Moody’s missed 41-yard attempt at a game-winner:
We went in thinking it was going to be a grimy game like it was. We would have felt really good initially like coming [into the locker room] if we made that on the last play. But my message to them was, regardless of whether we hit that or not, there’s a lot of stuff in this game that we got to improve on.
I thought we made way too many mistakes on offense, just losing a couple guys in the game, we had to switch a couple guys around and we weren’t quite ready for that, which starts with me with too many mistakes on offense. This is our first time having to come in after a loss in a long time and it’s time to get back in, go to work and make sure we come back next week stronger.
That offensive execution falls on both Shanahan and Brock Purdy, who clearly struggled with the rainy, windy conditions, but also seemed like he would have struggled regardless.
Purdy threw his first interception of the season — on a very poor throw behind Jauan Jennings — and finished the day 12-for-27 with1 125 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Shanahan didn’t single out Purdy for blame, but acknowledged there were some massive missed opportunities, including a would-be touchdown to Christian McCaffrey in the first half:
I thought we had thought we did some good things in the first half. We had two opportunities in the first half to get two really big plays that I think would have changed a lot of it and we missed both of them, one getting a penalty on it so we didn’t get to do it.
And then we came out in the third quarter, got way behind the chains where there was a penalty, a stuffed run, we got in a ton of second and longs, which, you tell me we get in that many second-and-longs, third-and-longs versus that defense, I got a real good idea of how it’s gonna go. But it wasn’t just Brock, it was everybody. Everybody had their turn on offense especially and it starts with me.
That blame Shanahan owned was especially to do with the lost of Deebo Samuel and McCaffrey.
It was clear that there were a few miscommunications in the offense, especially with Ray-Ray McCloud. San Francisco took an egregious delay of game at one point as Purdy tried to get McCloud aligned.
“It’s more about just getting all the guys ready for [those situations],” Shanahan said. “You got a game plan that’s got enough stuff in it, but just moving some positions around, we just made too many mistakes.”
In total, San Francisco had 12 penalties for 105 yards and struggled to execute on offense. On their six drives which preceded their would-be game-winning drive, they accrued -8 net yards. It was a mess of a performance.