Falcons Embarrass 49ers

Many will make excuses for the 49ers.  They were down six starters on defense, and they were down Trent Williams and Elijah Mitchel on offense.  Still, the 49ers had their opportunities to win.  Mistakes and lack of execution led to their loss…not injuries.  To be sure, the 49ers missed eight studs.  However, the 49ers are one of the deepest rosters in the league.  When a team knows it is down players, everyone else must step.  Coaching must step up.  The 49ers failed on both counts.


Avoidable Mistakes

The first mistake in the game came on the 49ers second offensive possession.  The Niners started the drive well with a connection to Deebo Samuel and a decent run by Jeff Wilson.  Then on third and short, Wilson fumbles the ball and Atlanta’s A.J. Terrell scooped the ball fumbling it into the end-zone where a teammate dropped on it securing a defensive touchdown for the Falcons.

The second major mistake occurred at the end of the first half.  The 49ers fought back and brought the game to even.  However, the defense faltered once again and allowed another ATL score leaving 57 seconds left in the half.  The 49ers drove the ball to their own 47-yard line and there was 16 seconds on the clock.  They only had ten yards to go to get within field goal range.  Instead of scheming a ten-to-fifteen-yard play to the sideline Coach Shanahan appeared to allow Jimmy Garoppolo to convince him that a down the field throw was the way to go.  The ball was tipped and intercepted.

The third and fourth major mistakes occurred on would by strikes from Jimmy G to Ray Ray McCloud and Charlie Woerner.  During the 49ers first possession of the 2nd half a 40-yard pass went thru McClouds fingers on 2nd and 10.  Then, on their next possession Woerner drops a similar on target long range strike.  Opportunities to succeed and make plays are far and few between as these players found out.

The last major mistake was lack of execution by the offense in the fourth quarter.  Every time the 49ers would make a big play, they were penalized.  Three penalized were called negating three first down explosive plays down the field.    Finally, Jimmy G and George Kittle could not get on the same page on 2nd down toss to the end-zone.  IT was a scramble drill and Kittle had the step.  Jimmy G threw to the spot he directed Kittle to go but Kittle flattened his route out and the ball sailed over his head.  Poor communication and penalties negating big plays are a sure fire formula for losing.


The Good

George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk finally got activated.  Both caught eight balls for 83 yards.  Aiyuk also had two touchdown receptions.    Deebo continued to do Deebo things.  Sadly their efforts were not enough….


Defense Notes

The Niners defense allowed 21 points.  They also allowed their first touchdown in a first half of a game this year.  Their biggest issue is they just could not get the Atlanta offense off the field when they needed to.  At the end of the game, they had two key stops, however the offense failed to perform.  This is a team sport and the Niners defense did the best they could down six starters.  It’s also important to note that they lost Talanoa Hufanga during the Falcon’s first drive.  Tashaun Gipson was signaling and telling Tarvarius Moore what to do every play.  Small wonder ATL scored so easily on their first possession.  Hufanga came back in and played the rest of the game, but the Niners lost Mooney Ward in the second half due to a groin injury.  Still, the Niners did not allow any points in the fourth quarter.  The problem is that they didn’t score any either.

It is true the 49ers need to get healthy.  However, they need to quit making avoidable mistakes.  They need to execute the offense given to them.  Jimmy G was not the liability today.  He was an asset.  The rest of the team let him down.  Who knows what happens next week against the Chiefs…but the Niners have a long trip home…and some soul searching to do.


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