The 49ers lost to the Denver Broncos on Sunday night as the offense had an embarrassing performance. The Niners are now 1-2 this season and will face the Los Angeles Rams next week. More specifically, the quarterback had an embarrassing performance. Here’s what we learned from San Francisco’s loss.
This 49ers Defense Is Championship Caliber
The Niners entered this game ranking at the top of the league defensively. Many could have made the case that was only because of the inferior opponents they faced in both previous games. This past Sunday was a legitimate test going up against Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos who were also averaging nearly five yards per carry in their running game. The defense showed up in a dominant fashion.
The 49ers’ defense played so well that the Broncos’ was getting booed off their field multiple times during the game. The defense only allowed nine points and held the Broncos to just 3.7 yards per play.
The defense was also able to sack Russell Wilson four times on the night. The Broncos, who ran 18 more plays than San Francisco, were only able to accrue one more first down than the Niners who struggled on offense all night.
This truly might be the best defense the 49ers have had in the entire Shanahan era. They were dominant last night without Arik Armstead as well and starting safety Jimmie Ward still hasn’t made his season debut. There are high-level reinforcements on the way for this defense which is already causing nightmares for opposing offenses.
The 49ers Are Struggling To Get Deebo Samuel Going
Deebo Samuel is being used as a running back more than last year due to the lack of depth at the running back position. The issue is that it seems like teams so far have shut that down for the most part. It’s almost as if teams are taking the same approach that defenses did with Colin Kaepernick when he ran the read option by just going after him no matter what. Every time Samuel takes a handoff it seems like the entire defense is already collapsing on him.
Aside from a 51-yard carry in Week Two where Samuel had to make a man miss behind the line of scrimmage, he only has 60-rushing yards on 16 carries this season. From those carries alone, the 3.75 yards per carry is barely over half of what he averaged last season as a ball carrier. It is still very early in the season, but it has just felt very difficult for the Niners to get Deebo involved the way they would like.
Samuel is also only averaging 43.7-receiving yards per game at the moment. Less than half of last season’s 87.8 yards per game through the air. One huge reason the Niners were able to make the playoffs last year was due to the emergence of Deebo Samuel as an unstoppable offensive weapon. With what looks like a more difficult schedule this year, they need to get him going if they hope to make a similar playoff push.
On the bright side, Brandon Aiyuk seems to be more involved by design thus far which could help open up the rest of the offense.
Jimmy Garoppolo Is The 49ers’ Biggest Problem
There is simply no way to sugarcoat it. Jimmy Garoppolo was bad last night. Really bad. It seemed like all of Twitter was making fun of the guy during and after the game, and rightfully so.
Let’s make this as simple as possible. The 49ers’ defense had an elite performance and held the Broncos to nine points. The 49ers scored ten points, yet lost the game. How does that happen?
Jimmy Garoppolo in the second half stepped out of the back of his own end zone for a safety. Believe it or not, that was the best-case scenario as he threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown that didn’t count because of the safety. He also had a throw on the first possession of the game which was luckily batted down by D.J. Jones because it had the possibility of being intercepted as well. In the fourth quarter, however, Garoppolo made up for missing out on turnovers by throwing the ball into double coverage directly at a Broncos defender which was tipped and intercepted on a drive that could have won them the game.
Garoppolo also fumbled a snap under center earlier in the game which gave the Broncos a free possession.
The 49ers were fortunate that Jimmy Garoppolo was called for a safety…pic.twitter.com/RQ84ARdHNu — Doug Rush (@TheDougRush) September 26, 2022
Jimmy G also missed a wide-open Deebo Samuel streaking down the field outside the right hashes which could have been a walk-in touchdown pass. Needless to say, many points were left on the board for the Niners’ offense.
Garoppolo finished the day completing 18 of his 29 pass attempts for 211 yards with a touchdown that technically shouldn’t have counted due to a missed penalty and an interception that should have been his second, but the first one didn’t count because of his self-safety. He finished the day with a quarterback rating of 14.2 on primetime.
At the end of the day, Garoppolo gave two points to the Broncos while his team lost by one.
The 49ers have all the talent any team could as for. All Garoppolo has to do is not waste it. If the Niners want to accomplish anything relevant this season, they need Jimmy G to play at least average. But unfortunately for them and especially the defense, that was too much to ask for last night.