49ers Out Coached & Out Played

The 49ers have dropped their third game in a row.  There are two things in common in all three games.  First the offense finds way to turn the ball over in every game.  Second, the defense has degraded tremendously.  Did the 49ers make a mistake in hiring Steve Wilkes?  It’s hard to say and a bit too early to tell.  I say that for a couple of reasons.  Coaches coach and players play.  In this case, in todays game, the 49ers had an opportunity to end Joe Burrow’s first touchdown drive.  Isiah Oliver should have had an interception.  Arik Armstead and Nick Bosa should have had a drive ending sack.  Instead, with a little luck, Burrow leads his team to six to start the game.  Still, last weeks zero coverage blitz to end the half is unforgivable.

Kyle Shanahan deserves a bit of the blame.  First, he, along with John Lynch hired Steve Wilkes.  By now the team should have figured out how to get this defense going.  Second, Coach Shanahan knows how difficult Lou Anarumo’s defense’s can be.  Shanahan called three straight run plays to start the game and the Bengals forced a punt.  Third, he should have anticipated difficulty running the football against the Bengals.  Coach Shanahan didn’t change to play action passing on first down until the second half of the game.  The adjustment was the right call.  However, when plays broke down, Brock Purdy still made mistakes.

Purdy started the game well.  He made good decisions, and delivered the ball on time and on target.  Then came a late 3rd quarter drive.  The 49ers are inside the 5 yard line.  Purdy is flushed on first down and instead of pulling it down to live another day, he trys to toss the ball over Germaine Pratt’s head to Elijah Mitchell.  Pratt intercepted it. Arguably, though the Niners were only down seven points, that is where the Niners lost the game.  They were in position to tie the game.  They were only five yards from pay dirt.  Instead they turned it over.  The Niners defense forced another turn over, but Purdy once again mis-read the situation and threw another interception his first play of the next drive.

The defense was inconsistent at best.  They Niners are not a zone coverage defense but Coach Wilkes fails to understand that.  He calls too many zone coverages to start a game.  Burrow is going to take what you give him, and he did.  Zach Taylor scouted the Niners defense well.  He knows Wilkes likes to run zone early in games to figure out the offense.  This is starting to cost the 49ers games.  The 49ers roster is built to have a safety in the box and play man on the outside.  They have won 75 to 80% of the time with that formula, however Wilkes thinks his zone coverages are better.  Three losses in a row seems to indicate otherwise.

The 49ers did some good things today.  However they didn’t do enough good things to win a game.  Three poor performances in as many weeks will hopefully motivate them to fix the problems.  The 49ers are not the best team in the NFL.  They are not even in the top five right now.  They have been consistently out coached and out played for the last three weeks.  The coaching staff and the players have to take accountability for their inadequacies.  The roster is stacked with too much talent to have a poor season.  This year is supposed to be their title run year.  No one is going to hand them the Lombardi trophy. The 49ers as a whole have to come together and fix their issues.  Then, they have to go out and take the trophy for themselves.  Hopefully the road to SIX restarts in Jacksonville in two weeks.



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