top of page

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Thanks for subscribing!

Three Keys To Victory: Week Four

The San Francisco 49ers are coming off a loss in a game they had no business losing. After an incredible defensive performance, Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense stalled for practically the entire game leading to an 11-10 loss to the Denver Broncos. Heading into Week Four, here are three keys to avoiding an abysmal 1-3 start with a victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

Get Deebo Samuel In Rhythm

49ers’ all-pro wideout, or “wide back,” Deebo Samuel has struggled to get going so far this season. Opposing defenses seem to not be falling for any plays Shanahan draws up with Samuel as the ball-carrier. Defenses are refusing to allow a repeat of last season in which Deebo took the league by storm as one of the most versatile weapons in the league.

If this is going to be the case all season, the 49ers need to find a way to get him involved early and often in the passing game. Last season, Samuel was averaging 87.8-receiving yards per game along with his involvement in the running game. This year with the running part of his game neutralized, for the most part, he is also only averaging 43.7-receiving yards per game so far this season. So practically half of his receiving production from his all-pro season on a per-game basis thus far.

Deebo Samuel was arguably the biggest reason this team even made the playoffs last season due to carrying the load offensively. After seeing the struggles that Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense had on Sunday night, it would be very hard to foresee a season where the 49ers make a deep playoff run or even make it to the postseason if Samuel’s production doesn’t make a substantial improvement.

With the development of Brandon Aiyuk and his involvement in the passing game along with the return of tight end George Kittle, Kyle Shanahan needs to scheme up more plays to get Deebo Samuel the ball through the air to keep this offense moving. Putting Samuel in a position to rack up YAC (yards after catch) opportunities will put the 49ers in the best position to succeed with their passing game.

Steady Production At Left Tackle

You could say good offensive line play is a key to any victory for any team. However, the left tackle position specifically is the biggest worry on the entire 49ers roster at this point. On the nightmare of all plays in Denver, Jimmy Garoppolo backpedaled out of his end zone for a safety that negated the interception he also threw on the same play that was returned for a touchdown. But the worst part of that play was the best left tackle in the league and 49ers starter, Trent Williams, suffering a high ankle sprain.

Heading into the season, the offensive line was already one of the biggest worries for this year’s roster. After losing Laken Tomlinson and Alex Mack, they were replaced with Aaron Banks and Jake Brendel. Rookie Spencer Burford is also starting at right guard this year with McGlinchey on the right side who has struggled at times in pass protection at right tackle. They’ve all been decent so far, but Williams was the anchor of this entire offensive line, and he will be gone for a while.

In a matchup against the Rams, you’re already going to be dealing with havoc on the interior with Aaron Donald and likely have to double-team him as he’ll be matched up with inexperienced linemen. With this being the case, whoever plays left tackle needs to hold their own. Jaylon Moore entered the game and only got about a handful of snaps in Denver. He was pulled fast because he allowed two pressures in a such short amount of time and looked lost playing the left tackle position.

Colton McKivitz will likely replace Trent Williams for the time being, but it is also possible we see utility lineman Blake Hance get some run on the left side if McKivitz struggles throughout this week or during the game. Hance was claimed off waivers and can play just about anywhere on the line. This also could’ve been a spot where Daniel Brunskill would fill in, but he is still dealing with a hamstring injury. Whoever the 49ers start at left tackle, they have large shoes to fill this Sunday.

49ers Quarterback Play

The elephant in the room is the 49ers starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo. He has to play a clean game this week for them to have a realistic chance of beating the Rams. The defense will do what they can, but you cannot be successful in the NFL if you can’t put points on the board. After reviewing the film from Sunday night’s loss, there were numerous opportunities for big plays that could’ve been house call touchdowns that Garoppolo missed.

He had throws where he hit the check-down when a downfield play was available and throws where he forced a down-field play that wasn’t there when he should’ve checked down. It was just an ugly performance along with the self-safety. For the 49ers, they just need Jimmy Garoppolo to play a mostly mistake-free game in Week Four. Hopefully, that isn’t too much to ask of the ninth-year veteran quarterback this week.

Garoppolo after Sunday’s loss blamed his performance on a lack of training camp reps and lack of rhythm. Unfortunately, that excuse won’t cut it considering he practiced heading into Week One, practiced heading into Week Two, played fine in Week Two in relief of Trey Lance, and practiced heading into Week Three all within the same system he’s played under since 2017. Along with many of the same teammates from the last few years as well. Let’s see if another week of practice and preparation is good enough for the veteran, or else it’ll be more excuses and finger-pointing after a 1-3 start.

If Jimmy G can make his reads, take care of the ball and play with confidence, the 49ers are in good shape to start 2-2 and take first place in the NFC West.



bottom of page