Do not be deceived by the score, because the game was never really close. The 20-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals was more about how the 49ers remain decimated by injuries and lack the talent and depth to overcome them. Niners Live exposes the bitter truth as we grade the performance of all three units in our post-game recap.
Honestly, it was never going to be a close game. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the 2017 San Francisco 49ers don’t need to purposely throw games; because when you have lost 9 straight, the contests seem to find a way to get out of hand. Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly that took place against the Arizona Cardinals.
Defensive Summary Breakdown
The 49ers Defense forced (2) turnovers which equaled the amount of their counterparts. Once again, the defense generated 0 sacks, 4 tackles for losses, 7 QB hits and 8 pressures against the Cardinals offensive’ line and quarterback Drew Stanton. The defense was on the field for 36 minutes and 22 seconds, allowing 368 yards of total offense on 73 plays and allowed Arizona to go 7 out of 16 on third down.
Stats to know: The 49ers gave up 167 rushing yards as a defense and 159 of those yards were gained by a now resurgent Adrian Peterson, who had his best game of the season averaging 4.3 yards per carry after getting the rock 37 times.
Drew Stanton was 15 of 30 passing for 201 yards and 2 touchdowns, with 1 interception. Stanton averaged 13.4 yards per completion. Larry Fitzgerald continued to be a thorn against the 49ers secondary, with a team-high 5 catches for 70 yards, which moved him past Hall of Famer, Tim Brown, to 6th place on the NFL’s all-time receiving yards with 14,953 (team stats courtesy of ESPN.com).
Grades for the defense break down as follows
- Ahkello Witherspoon, and Dontae Johnson – They were resilient, but still were no match for the Arizona receiving core. Johnson had a defensive holding penalty which extended a Cardinal drive leading to a field goal, which helped put the game out of reach. This duo combined for 9 tackles, but only 1 pass defended. Ahkello was beaten on two touchdowns and gave up a 50 plus yard pass play on the first play of the game. Not dominate, but not bad. (C-)
- Leon Hall- Remember him? The on again off again member of the secondary actually had the best performance of any member of the secondary, with 4 solo tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass defended, a QB hit and a near interception in the 3rd (B)
- Eric Reid – (Eraser) Isn’t he the linebacker? 4 tackles 2 of those were solo tackles and an interception. He may be back in the box. (B-)
- Jaquiski Tartt (Box) – His 2017 season is likely over after suffering a broken arm. He had 2 solo tackles, 3 tackles total.
- Adrian Colbert – Looked a bit tentative at times, but had a solid game with 4 solo tackles, 5 total tackles and 1 pass defended.
- Linebackers – In a mild achievement, Reuben Foster actually played all 4 quarters of an NFL game, the first complete game of his career. He also led the 49ers with 13 solo tackles, 14 in all with 1 tackle for a loss. Brock Coyle was next with 8 tackles, 7 of those solo and 1 tackle for loss along with a pass defended and a QB hit. Eli Harold, was less than stellar, with 3 tackles total, 2 of those solo. Yet, those numbers are inflated and the one number that cannot be ignored is 167; the amount of yards rushing Arizona finished with as a team. Combine that with the inability to tackle Adrian Peterson at the point of attack that pretty much summed up the game. This unit grades out at a (D)
- Defensive Line – DeForest Buckner and Tony Dewayne McDaniel together had only 1 QB hit, 1 solo tackle, 3 total tackles and 2 hurries solo tackles total with 1 tackle for a loss Elvis Dumervil managed only 2 QB hits. Leger Douzable was the lone standout with 7 total tackles, 6 of them solo and 1 QB hit.
- Earl Mitchell managed one pass defended to go along with his fumble recovery and 1 tackle.
- Ronald Blair had 4 tackles in all and 2 solo tackles. Meanwhile, Datone Jones had 1 of his 3 tackles as a solo effort.
- The continued lack of a consistent pass rush combined with no run support makes watching this defense a brutal task. (D-)
- DC Robert Saleh – His unit is young and inexperienced, and they were bullied all day by Arizona’s offense. It wasn’t the scheme that failed him, but the lack of quality players and just physical bodies unable to get off the field and give the offense a chance to win. Overall, this group gets a (D)
Offensive Summary Breakdown
The 49ers had (17) first downs, (3) rushing, (13) passing, (3) penalty; converting on third down just 6 out of 17 times and 0 for 2 on 4th down and were 1 for 2 in the red zone. The 49ers accounted for 73 plays for 329 yards; 266 of those yards were from the passing game on 14 drives for 4.5 yards per play average. On the ground, the 49ers managed a pathetic 63 yards total at 3.7 yards a carry.
Stats to know: The 49ers’ offensive line gave up 5 sacks, 16 QB hits and gave up 4 tackles for loss as a unit. Since C.J. Beathard became the starter, he has been sacked 16 times in just 3 starts.
Grades for the offense breakdown as follows
- J. Beathard– completed 24 of 51 passes for 294 yards at 6.2 per pass attempt, no passing TD’s and no interceptions while posting a QBR of 23.0 and a 57.1 RTG. Beathard did rush for 16 yards on 3 carries and a touchdown but took a violent hit which led to a fight resulting in the ejection of Carlos Hyde. Beathard did a little better getting rid of the ball quickly; but still displayed some inaccuracies and tried to force plays that were not there; one of which led to an interception, which killed any hopes of a last-minute comeback. Once again, his patchwork offensive line offered him little to no help. C.J. Beathard grades out at a (C)
- Carlos Hyde, Matt Breida– Hyde was the featured receiver as well as running back. He had a team-high/career-high 9 catches for 84 yards on 11 targets and rushed for 41 yards on 12 carries. Breida was largely ineffective with 1 yard on 1 carry and catching only 2 of his four targets for 18 yards. Kyle Juszczyk made a brief appearance this week, with 1 catch for 5 yards and 1 carry for 5 yards. He would leave the game with a neck injury in the first half. The lack of decent run blocking was apparent throughout the game. This unit grades out at a (C-)
- WR’s and TE’s– Pierre Garcon was sorely missed, and that is a great understatement. Trent Taylor had 2 catches for 22 yards on 3 targets but left the game in the 2nd quarter due to injury. Marquise Goodwin displayed his speed once again, but also, unfortunately, displayed his ability to drop passes in critical moments. He had a 55-yard reception in the game. However, he finished with just 2 catches for 68 yards on 8 targets, which included 2 drops. Aldrick Robinson was also targeted 8 times, but could only manage 2 catches for 18 yards and 1 catch for 15 yards on 1 target. Garrett Celek had 1 catch for 13 yards on 4 targets. George Kittle had 3 catches for 27 yards on 5 targets, one of which was a drop and was ineffective once again blocking. Kendrick Bourne displayed his ability to separate himself from the cornerback on more than a few plays, as he had 2 catches on 6 targets for 39 yards, however not even he was immune from dropping the ball. This unit left much to be desired in the impact plays column and failed to score a single touchdown in the game. While the spots of Garcon and Taylor appear safe for 2018, everyone else is playing for a spot not only on next year’s team, but perhaps for any NFL roster. This team now lacks a receiver that can consistently put fear in the hearts of any defensive coordinator, let alone a secondary. This unit grades out at a (C-)
- Offensive Line –Gave up 5 sacks, 16 QB hits, and too many pressures up the middle and on edge. Beathard may have better served on the FBI’s Witness Protection Program than behind the center. This is an offense that succeeds when the attack is balanced, but with no running game to speak of, that’s not likely going to happen anytime soon. This unit grades out at a (D)
- OC/HC Kyle Shanahan – The Jimmy Garoppolo deal may have deflected some criticism away from Shanahan this week, but that doesn’t mean it will silence the critics for the rest of the season. The lack of a playmaker and a healthy and decent offensive line, makes it unfair to judge his offensive scheme fairly this season. What is subject to criticism, though, is whether he has this young team’s ear. Eventually, you have to be able to inspire players to run through a wall for you. This was surely lacking from the offense this week. It seemed the only time they came together, was when Beathard was the recipient of a cheap hit, by former 49er Antoine Bethea. As a fan, you keep telling yourself, he has to evaluate the best talent available, but it’s apparent, that at this point of the season, it might be more of a question of who really wants to be a part of the rebuild and who’s here to collect a check. Shanahan has to draw a line in the sand. This week, he gets a (D)
The Demons are overpowering
Continued dropped passes, penalties at inopportune times resulting in staying on the field, allowing the opposing offense to score; it’s a broken record. Yet, there is STILL no one who has stepped up to take the mantle as the leader of this team. Until that takes place, no rebuild can take place.
Made for Television Drama
The 49ers have more players on the Injured-reserve list than there are doctors on ABC’s Greys Anatomy. When injuries pile up week after week, it’s almost impossible to compete. The only question that remains this season is, will they let Jimmy Garoppolo play this year? My question is, with all of the injuries, especially along the offensive line, does Kyle Shanahan even wish to take that chance? Needless to say, the 2018 NFL Draft can’t come soon enough.
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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus, 49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author and Staff Writer @NinersLive.net, David Edmondson. Content Creator, Editor, Sequoia Sims