The NFL is a league defined by a head coach and quarterback.
This is bad news for the San Francisco 49ers.
Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo turned their personal and collective worst performances of the season on Sunday in a rain 30-18 loss to the Colts in Sunday Night Football.
The Colts are the kind of flawed team that the 49ers must beat—especially at home. Instead, another loss – his third and fourth in a row at home.
Losing to Indianapolis — poor quarterback, in-between head coach — is the kind of failure that only portends bad things for San Francisco this season.
Here are studs and dudes from the overall dud of a game.
Running back the rookie gave the Niners an early appearance on the ground, as he burst and showed good vision. He finished the day with 107 yards – 57 on the first drive of the game – and a touchdown.
He was so good, he recorded three quarterback hits a day and forced the Colts to overload their offensive line to try to stop him.
It didn’t matter, but it was impressive. Bossa made four tackles in the game.
Did he rumble setting up the Colts TD?
Yes. He has done. But he also took seven catches from 100 yards.
Let’s call it a wash.
do i need one more? Really?
Well, Moore was fine as a sub for Trent Williams, who missed Sunday’s game with an ankle injury.
Seeing as how the rest of the Niners’ 2021 draft class has fared, it’s good that Moore and Mitchell have made solid contributions.
But let’s go with the real stuff:
The other quarterback also had to play in the rain.
And even when he was bad, he found ways to at least get the ball down the field amidst his incredible efforts to deliver the ball to the Niners.
Make no mistake, Colts quarterback Carson Wentz stinks. They should use the Benny Hill theme music as their music.
But Wentz is now level ahead of Garoppolo.
Apart from a strange series in the fourth quarter, Garoppolo couldn’t put up an interesting performance on Sunday either.
Also, after the 49ers’ initial 2–0 turnover advantage, Garoppolo turned it three times. San Francisco lost the Battle of the Turnover 4-2.
It was another terrible performance from the quarterback whose supporters have every excuse for him to play and really have nothing valuable to offer.
Garoppolo delivered hits on Sunday. He didn’t read the field, he refused to push the ball down the aisle, and when he did those things, he pushed the balls into windows that didn’t exist and put his receivers in dangerous positions.
There were a few flashes of positive play, but they came nowhere close to dominating the negative – missed throws, classic strip-sack fumbles, and an indefinite interception late in the fourth quarter.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Garoppolo shouldn’t start another game for San Francisco.
Because if Garoppolo is the quarterback who gives the 49ers his best chance of winning, he has no chance of winning the game for the rest of the season.
Sunday was a truly unacceptable performance from the 49ers head coach.
Not only was he timid and predictable as a play-caller amid weather conditions, but he made three big mistakes as head coach:
• The Colts were on the doorstep of their second touchdown at the end of the second quarter by failing to call any timeout
• Kneeling to end the first half, knowing that his team will kick the ball to start the second half
• One of the worst challenges I’ve ever seen in an NFL game
The challenge flag was so confusing that the game came to a halt. Even the referee would ask “You want to challenge it?”
Shanahan said he didn’t see the play and apparently the team’s headset went out at the exact same time.
Shanahan raised the flag on the advice of the players on the shore.
Then, he didn’t see the thunder and threw the flag anyway.
It didn’t matter in the long run, but it’s worrying.
In public appearances over the past few weeks – press conferences and so on – Shanahan has been isolated at his worst and at other moments.
He is the coach of the team that lost the fourth year in five. I don’t expect him to be happy.
But not interested? this is unacceptable.
What’s worse is that there were moments when Shanahan’s guilt seemed capable—more than capable, in fact. The team’s first offensive of the game and their first fourth quarter was downright impressive.
But outside of those two series, the Niners continued to hold onto offense.
Shanahan is considered an aggressive talent. I bought into that exaggerated admiration and put it forward myself.
There is nothing genius in the crime of this Niners. It is stale and inadequate. Personnel may not be elite, but that’s no reason not to be interesting.
And yet it is.
All of this is enough to make you wonder if Shanahan wants to live in Santa Clara anymore. It certainly doesn’t seem like it.
Brandon Ayuk and the NFL Rulebook
Ayuk can’t get the ball to him and is no longer allowed to take a punt, as he lost the job in the middle of Sunday’s game.
The good news for Ayuk is that his terrible punt “return” in the second quarter could have been worse – should have been. The NFL rulebook bailed him out.
After dropping a punt to his side, Ayuk had a change of heart and ran after the ball. He kicked it in the process – all the way into the 49ers’ end zone. He picked it up and was dealt with immediately.
Logic says that the game is a defense. After all, if the Colts had gotten the ball back into the end zone, it would have been a touchdown.
Isn’t safety the opposite of touchdown?
apparently not. The rule book states that a punt returner has to create a “new force” to activate the ball where it will be a safety and not a touchback.
Sure it looks like Ayuk’s kick was a “new force,” but what do I know?
Except for a new rule. You learn something new (and funny) every day.
Choose your secondary member
Seriously, whichever one you wish – on Sunday everyone took turns to burn or raise flags.
The Colts’ aggressive game plan, for a large part of the game, was to run the ball to Jonathan Taylor (he’s brilliant) and then toss a deep-but-down ball down to Carson Wentz.
The Colts picked up a pass interference spot foul and suddenly Indianapolis was in the scoring range.
Josh Norman, Jakiwski Tart, Ke’Vaughn Williams, and Emmanuel Moseley were flagged for pass interference on Sunday.
I have no idea what Dre Kirkpatrick was doing on the Colts’ final touchdown. 50-50 Ball Requires Effort – Kirkpatrick decided that instead of letting Michael Pittman reject the ball or try to get it himself, he would instead put a double forearm shiver into the Colts receiver. It was such a weak attempt that he didn’t even get the green light to attempt a clear pass interference.
Congratulations to Jimmy Ward for staying flag-free on Sunday.