Meltdown by the Bay
By: Cole A. McMahon
(Photo: Cary Edmondson)
If you thought last week’s loss to the Falcons was bad, try a 44-23 blowout for size.
An undisciplined 49ers team got exposed in a Super Bowl LIV rematch against the Chiefs. Both the Niners and Chiefs were coming off disappointing losses and looking to bounce back. The game was going to be a brawl against the top-5 Niners’ defense and top-5 Chiefs’ offense. The Niners would regain some strength for this game having Trent Williams, Nick Bosa, and “Mooney” Ward all back.
The big trade for Christian McCaffrey brought excitement coming into this big game. McCaffrey would not see a lot of action since he still needs to learn the playbook, but the 8 carries for 38 yards he did have looked promising for the star running back. However, his debut would be overshadowed by the beating the Niners suffered. Like last week, the 49ers had a promising first drive and first quarter going up by 10 points. In the red zone, Garoppolo connected with Ray-Ray McCloud for the first touchdown of the game. The defense came out shooting as well with safety Tashaun Gipson tipping a Mahomes pass into Hufanga’s arms for an interception.
Things took a turn for the worst once the Chiefs came back firing and making the score 14-13, never giving up that lead. The 49ers quickly became unhinged getting penalty after penalty tallying up 10 penalties for 80 yards. Demeco Ryans’ so-called “elite” defense got torched by the Chiefs and was not able to make adjustments to stop the Mahomes-Hardman connection that had three touchdowns on the day. The defense did not have an answer and their performance today could have opened up a realistic idea that they are not as good as we thought. Even with Bosa back in the lineup, the defensive line could not apply any pressure on Mahomes the entire game.
After the game, Brandon Aiyuk stated, “we got too many people who can change the game to score 23 points” (95.7 The Game).
Shanahan’s offense became stale once again as they stalled for most of the game. For the second week in a row, the 49ers abandoned the run game having Garoppolo pass 37 times and only rushing 18 times. Running the football is supposed to be the offense’s identity, but at this time their only identity is putting up one or two good drives and then falling apart the rest of the game. The biggest missed opportunity for the Niners happened late in the second quarter when Kansas City muffed a punt recovered by Samuel Womack. The Niners’ offense would begin their drive inside the red zone only for Garoppolo to throw an interception in the end zone intended for McCloud.
The second half arrived and the 49ers still had no answers. The third quarter would open up with the Chiefs’ Isiah Pacheco returning a kick for 48-yards. Jennings would commit a late hit penalty on the return tacking on an extra 15-yards. The Chiefs would score in less than two minutes. The Jennings penalty epitomizes the lack of discipline this team has. Penalties would stack up on both sides of the ball that would hold back the Niners from even trying to compete. The late push the offense made with a touchdown pass to Kittle on National TE's Day would make the game 28-23. That drive would be the last good thing to come out of the game.
Frustration cannot begin to summarize the state the 49ers are in. They have been embarrassed two weeks in a row and Shanahan does not have the answers to get his team to play to the high standards this franchise is held to. One of the best offensive rosters in the league has been in shambles this entire season with no consistency whatsoever. The disciplinary problems with penalties have also been an issue throughout the year. These problems can all be attributed to Kyle Shanahan. The “offensive wizard” has not been able to give this offense any magic. According to a tweet from Matt Miller, when trailing by 3+ points in the fourth quarter the 49ers are 1-29. A stat that is very pessimistic to the Shanahan regime. That record is abysmal and is one to continue to look into depending on where Shanahan takes this team this year.
The only positive news is that the Niners will be playing the Rams next week. A game that could put the team in a better spot when they reach their Bye the following week. Shanahan and the Niners need to get their heads right and figure out how to play like the talented team they are said to be.