Titans Capitalize on 49ers Deficiencies

Deebo Samuels

The story of the game is Jimmy Garoppolo’s interceptions and the 49er secondary allowing A.J. Brown 11 catches for 145 yards and a touchdown. That’s it…for the most part. The defensive line pressured Ryan Tannehill consistently. Deebo Samuel did Deebo things. Yet the Titans managed to hold George Kittle to just two catches and Kyle Shanahan mysteriously stopped giving Jeff Wilson Jr. the ball. For some reason the game plan seemed to center around Jimmy G’s arm and that plan failed due to lack of execution.

The Titans are a smart, well coached football team. They came into the game without two starting offensive linemen. They were also without Derick Henry. Drawing the Titans on a short week would be tough for any team. It was tough on the 49ers. The commentators discussed the injuries of the Titans but failed to mention the 49ers injuries. Both 49ers’ starting outside corners were out. They are missing a starting pass rusher, defensive tackle and linebacker. Dre Greenlaw is arguably the best Niner linebacker in coverage and he was out. Still, the Niners defense was not the sole contributor to the loss.

Jimmy Garoppolo highlighted why the 49ers traded three first rounders to move up and draft Trey Lance. Jimmy G can play. However, Jimmy G can also give the game away. You never know which Jimmy G is going to show up on game day. One game he will throw for 400 yards. The next he will throw two awful picks and lose the game. That was Thursday Night. The 49ers had the Titans on the ropes. At one point in the game, they had run 24 offensive plays to the Titans 9 offensive plays with 10 points to show for it. They should have kept pressing. They had already thrown an interception in the Titans endzone. Usually when Jimmy G makes a mistake like that, he gets it out of his system. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen on Thursday Night. He threw a costly interception in the 49ers own redzone which allowed the Titans to score the tying touchdown on a very short field. Jimmy G’s interceptions on Thursday night are troubling because he threw them while he was in a clean pocket. The picks were avoidable. More troubling is he missed a wide-open Kyle Juszczyk for a touchdown early in the game. They had to settle for a field goal that drive. These mistakes are correctable. However, they are troubling because this is his fourth year in Coach Shanahan’s system.

A.J. Brown really took the heart out of the 49ers secondary. Every time the Titans needed to convert on a long 3rd down, he was the go-to receiver. He continued his play into the second half ultimately setting them up for victory. Tannehill wasn’t fazed by the Niners pass rush. He was beat and battered around as the 49ers defensive line harried him and sacked him four times. Despite that, he ultimately won the game for the Titans with his late 4th quarter 23 yard run to set the Titans up for the winning field goal.

The Niners played gamely after the Titans went up 17 to 10. Deebo had a slashing, physical 56 yard run to set up the Brandon Aiyuk touchdown reception. Though the Niners tied the game, there was still time enough on the clock to allow the Titans to get in field goal position.

This game was a playoff caliber game on a short week. The team that made the least mistakes would win. On Thursday, the Titans played on the 49ers weaknesses and made the least mistakes. Now the Niners will rest up for next Sunday’s bout with the Texans.

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