OMAHA, OMAHA! (calls audible) I’m changing the play this week, as the “welcome” greeting is now first. So welcome to (or back to) the Silverado, this weeks ride, and another NothingButNiners exclusive. Even though the San Francisco 49ers are home again at Levi’s Stadium for round two with Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals, we can still take our weekly ride to have a much needed conversation to vent, it’ll just be around the Bay Area. Call it, therapy if you will, because that Monday night game was definitely one for the books and there is plenty to talk about and unpack. No lie, it had me smooth stressed.

Unfortunately, the 49ers took their first loss of the season and are now 8-1 after the loss. They’re still atop the NFC West, but the loss still hurts. We’ll also discuss what Head Coach Kyle Shanahan and General Manager John Lynch will need address to put together another successful meal this week in an attempt to sweep the division rival Cardinals for the season. So, buckle up and let’s get moving. Per usual, I’ll have key highlights from the game ready for you to view.

Full disclosure, I’m glad the loss finally happened. Hold on now, don’t look at me like that, let me finish. You know Kev is always going to look out for the cookout (meaning look out for your best interest) and will make it make sense. Though I’m not especially happy the loss was to Seattle, I’m happy (more so relieved) that this undefeated streak is finally over, and that pressure of being perfect is gone. Now they can just focus on playing the best football they know how, without the added pressure of remaining undefeated. In addition, since the naysayers were waiting for the 49ers to lose, and say, “I told you so”, there you have it, you can take seat now.

Aside from the defense again being lights out and keeping Russell Wilson relatively in check, I was most pleased with how the team battled back after going up 10-0, then falling behind 21-10. Down 21-10 against a tough Seattle team and missing key play makers, they kept fighting! The word of the day is, “resilience”. Say what you want, but I was plenty pleased with the overall effort. Below you can see the drives by the Seattle that weren’t a result of turnovers.

Mind you, their three scoring drives were on a short field. Wilson is dangerous enough as it is, giving him a short field is in no one’s “Top 100 Good Ideas.” It’s in the past now, but if the 49ers don’t turn the ball over, Seattle has 21 less points, which means they don’t even score a touchdown and only score six points! I’ve never been, and am not one for moral victories, but that’s definitely something to be proud of. This defense is the truth.

 

Do you see those drives? Can you say stingy? Okay, let me calm down. Question for you though before we move on. Was it just me, or did the game have a playoff type atmosphere and feel to it? That or a heavy weight fight. It was good to see the 49ers competing again, with their backs against the wall, playing from behind, and with more key injuries than I like t speak of.

Most importantly, they played a quality team with a quality quarterback, and defense, and went toe to toe and took it to the wire. Say what you want, but Wilson is a nothing short of a magician and that defense is real. Despite the loss, as a 49ers fan one can’t help but to feel good about the way the 49ers kept grinding. They didn’t make excuse, they made plays. Enough of that though, now let’s get to how it all unraveled and where the 49ers can improve before Sunday.

Offensive line (That guy across from you, BLOCK HIM!)

I’ll just get right to it, no need to dance around it. Both starting left tackle Joe Staley and starting right tackle Mike McGlinchey looked more like they were the backups Monday night against Seattle and smooth got whooped! Veteran defensive end Jadeveon Clowney worked them both like a double time shift on Christmas (which is time and a half plus holiday pay by the way). Read that again. Time and a half plus holiday pay? Do you realize how fat that one day paycheck would be? Well, Clowney played like that’s what he was playing for, that fat check. Yeah, as you can see below, he had “a night”.

I know this isn’t a popular opinion, but it is what it is. I don’t know if both Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey came back too early or not….no, wait. Let me be brutally honest. I do feel as though they both came back too early and should’ve taken another week or so (however long they needed to be back 100%) before they jumped back into action, especially with how well the backups were playing. Speaking of the backups, here’s another (potentially) unpopular opinion, I think  Justin Skule and Daniel Brunskill would’ve been better options that night.

Clowney had the game of his career and made both look, inept, for lack of a better term. Oh, but don’t think it was just Clowney whooping the two tackles that was the issue, I have receipts for the whole offensive line. Poona Ford and Jarran Reed both bullied the interior offensive line from their defensive tackle spots as well. As seen in the clip below, Reed and Ford ran a twist inside, leaving both left guard Laken Tomlinson and back up center Ben Garland looking helpless, as Reed split the double team and hit Jimmy forcing him to fumble. Could Jimmy have done a better job protecting the ball? Sure. But you have to stay in front of your man, plain and simple.

At the time, the 49ers were leading 10-0 and was having their way with Seattle. Then, this happened. Clowney picked up the fumble in stride and scored the Seahawks first touchdown and changed the momentum. Yeah, that hurt. Garland was just in a bad spot, as he had just come in the game to replace starting center Weston Richburg as he had just left the field with an injury. There’s something we haven’t heard much of this season, an injury. (SARCASM ALERT) Can you say, I had it, you got it? Talk about bad timing for Garland. I know that defensive line was drooling waiting for the snap with the personnel change. Speaking of timing and Staley possibly coming back too soon, read the report below.

 

Staley was just one of the casualties from the game. Wishing all a full recovery. Let’s hope the offensive line has a short memory and the issues are cleaned up ASAP. Because, up next, Chandler Jones and Terrell Suggs, again. Yeah, no rest for the weary. Let’s go hogs.

Wide receivers (The ball, CATCH IT!)

There must’ve been some type of virus (dropsies) going around Monday night and it was running rampant with the 49res pass catchers, as there were eight total drops (Kendrick Bourne-2, Marquise Goodwin-2, Dante Pettis-2, Kyle Juszczyk-1, Deebo Samuel-1) on the night. I know dropped passes are a part of the game and things happen, but I’ve never seen anything like it and it was by far the worst I’ve seen in one game. Not just in a 49ers game, but in a game period. And these weren’t just any drops, one resulted in an interception, and most would’ve been 1st downs or touchdowns. Yeah, it was terrible. Below you can take a look at each, as John Chapman has the drops strung together, in a drop collage so to speak. Yikes. Well, proceed with caution, it’s hard to watch.

Though the receivers had an off night (to say the least) as a group, Deebo actually has his best game as a pro, producing the following stat line: 8 catches 112 yards. Below are some advanced stats on his production. THAT BOY GOOD!

His lone drop quite frankly a common mistake. Not so much acceptable, but understandable, as many vets make the same mistake. As he came free and went to make the catch, he tried to trap it using his pads and his hands. Yeah, not the best idea. As coaches, we preach using your hands and not allowing the ball to get into your body (pads) as in most cases if the trap isn’t executed perfectly, it’ll deflect off your pads and into the air for a good ole practice tip drill. Luckily for Deebo, the ball wasn’t caught off the deflection for an interception.

All in all, nice work Deebo, we’re just going to need you to catch with your hands young man. Have I given up on this receiving core? No, but I pray this was just a one off type situation. But one thing is for sure, beyond Emmanuel Sanders and Deebo, the depth chart is quite foggy. Hopefully the eight drop night humbled them and moving forward we’ll see their best on game days.

Good Jimmy vs Bad Jimmy (I’ll take good Jimmy for $1000)

Jimmy Garoppolo went from having his best game of his career against Arizona (good Jimmy), to, let’s just say not his best game against Seattle (a mix of both Jimmy’s). In the words of my guy Grant Cohn, it’s truly been a case of Good Jimmy vs Bad Jimmy, and we’ve seen good Jimmy make his appearances, especially on 3rd and 4th downs.

Unfortunately for him, those appearances are overshadowed by drops or penalties at times. He actually came out the gates looking like he’d again have a good Jimmy night, even with George Kittle sidelined. Then it happened. It being the injury to Sanders. Take a look at the difference in production from Jimmy with vs without Sanders.

Look, I know he’s still getting into his groove and he’s still developing (growing) as he hasn’t started many games, I know he’s coming off that ACL injury, I know he was seeing constant pressure that night, so he was rushed to make decisions for the majority of the night, and I also know this particular night his receivers dropped eight of his passes.

That’s definitely a lot to battle through, but it has to be done and he has to do and be better, consistently, and soon if this team plans to make (and sustain) a post season run. In this clip below, yeah he was more so bad Jimmy. He has to get rid of the ball or take off for as many yards as he can here.

Though there was pressure (and right in his face), he had time make and executive decision to either get the ball out to Ross Dwelley who was out to his right at about the 30, dump it off to Raheem Mostert in the flat on the left hash, or he could’ve taken off out the backdoor (backside to his left) for a decent gain. Yeah, he went rouge here and ended up getting stripped. Seattle recovered and eventually scored on their third touchdown off a 49ers turnover. What Jimmy was this? SURVEY SAYS? DING, bad Jimmy.

Another bad Jimmy sighting here. As KP eluded to in his caption of the below tweet, Jimmy normally hits Emmanuel Sanders here (clearly the best option with the absence of Kittle) and adds to his touchdown total, as he was running butt naked (wide the hell open) across the middle of the field on a post route and was running away from his man, with a good 3 yards of separation. JIMMY, HE’S OPEN, HIT HIM!

As you can see, Jimmy had time and a fairly clean pocket here. He even avoided being sacked and climbed the pocket to extend the play. I’m still trying to figure out why he opted to try and force the ball to Marquise Goodwin, especially since he’d yet to come out of his break or even come open yet. One can argue Goodwin may have been his first read all they want, but when you have Sanders on the field and he’s as open as he was, you have to get the ball to him.

He ended up throwing it high and the pass sailed a bit, and Goodwin ended up dropping it. It definitely hit Goodwin in both his hands, but it was a more difficult catch than it needed to be, and thus resulted in a drop  Granted, the pass was a bit high but it hit both his hands and ah, yeah he needs to make that catch.

Now, this next advanced stat took me awhile to wrap my head around. One would think the longer a quarterback has to throw, the better right? I mean, on the surface this would mean he has minimal pressure and maximum time. Well, per the numbers below, it’s seems to be more of a hesitation issue for Jimmy more than anything else. This is a bad Jimmy trait.

If a quarterback has a higher passer rating when holding onto the ball for shorter periods or time (under 2.5 seconds) than he does when holding onto the ball for longer periods of time (more than 2.5 seconds), either he’s thinking too much as nobody is open and he’s going through his available reads, or for whatever reason he’s hesitating. After all the drops that night, I can see why he’d probably be hesitant as he’s trying to determine who he trusts most, but in the play where he tried to hit Goodwin when he had Sanders open, he just hesitated for whatever reason.

Or? Could it be he doesn’t pull the trigger because he doesn’t even see the target/the entire field? I mean, I know I’m not the only one that sees (bad) Jimmy has a problem seeing the field at times. I get it when there’s pressure and he has to make a quick decision to avoid taking a sack, but when there is ample time to find the open man,there is no excuse. This ladies and gentleman, is a result of sitting on reads too long, which sadly is a trait of bad Jimmy. I for one advocate for more good Jimmy, that guy is pretty good.

We have arrived

So, during the drive we discussed mostly the things that went wrong and things that need to be cleaned up, and rightly so seeing as how it’s fact. If they want to get back to their winning ways., cleaning things up is exactly what will happen. Watch this game tape on repeat, play by play if you have to and dissect each one by one if you have to. In a post game presser, Richard Sherman said the following, “You learn more from a loss than you do with a win, so that’s a silver lining” (via sacbee.com).

As both a fan of the game and coach, I couldn’t agree more. Grow from the lessons, build on the positives, discard the negativity, and move forward with the “be better tomorrow than you were today” attitude. This was only one loss, no need to panic, just get better, be better, and be confident. The Cardinals are coming in with a chip on their shoulder and a bad taste in their mouths due to losing the last meeting (a game they felt they should’ve won) and they’re looking for revenge.

That said, this offensive line, receiving core, and Jimmy must all be focused. With two of his favorite targets dealing with injuries and their statuses uncertain (Kittle and Sanders), good Jimmy will need to be more present than bad Jimmy Sunday. In addition to the three aforementioned needing to be focused, the defense must also be ready and prepared for the return of running back David Johnson, paired with Kenyan Drake and Kliff Kinsbury looking to again, spread them out and utilize space and the screen game.

The return of Johnson adds to their running game as they now have both backs available. Limit (pressure) Murray, prevent him from getting outside, stuff the running lanes, and play sound coverage on the back end and all should be well. If not, it could very well result in a two game losing skid for the 49ers. Let’s go defense, be dominant. Let’s go pass catchers, CATCH passes! Let’s go Jimmy, be good Jimmy! Let’s go offensive line, give Jimmy time to be good Jimmy! GO NINERS!