SF 49ers can’t pin blame for Week 5 loss on Jimmy Garoppolo

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

The SF 49ers lost ugly to the Dolphins in Week 5, and Jimmy Garoppolo was benched after one half. But the blame shouldn’t fall on his shoulders.

Um, OK. I’m not so sure how to get through this article without the use of excessive language, but on the strength of professionalism, I’ll do my best. The previously 1-3 Miami Dolphins went into Santa Clara and totally destroyed the defending NFC champs, the SF 49ers, by a score of 43-17.

This was one of the most grotesque losses in recent history for head coach Kyle Shanahan, and the wheels are slowly beginning to loosen from the hub.

Despite this, it’s unwise to pin the blame solely on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo even though his efforts resulted in him being benched at halftime.

SF 49ers offense looks like a hot mess

Here we are at Week 5 of the regular season, and the Niners look nothing like the Super Bowl runner-ups from 2019. In fact, this is the fourth-worst regular-season loss during the Shanahan era (Week 7, 2017 vs. Dallas Cowboys: L 10-40; Week 7, 2018 vs. Los Angeles Rams: L 10-39; Week13, 2018 vs. Seattle Seahawks: L 16-43) and it can easily be the ugliest one of them all.

Typically, when I write about the SF 49ers, I love pointing out any and all silver linings that may have occurred during the course of the game.

However, this is definitely not going to be that type of article because the positives we’re looking for do not exist in this game.

I mean, from the opening kick and first two possessions, it was painfully obvious something was hampering this once dominate offensive juggernaut. The 49ers received the ball first and immediately went 3-and-out, looking flat and lethargic while doing so.

Although the quarterback position will be the most heavily scrutinized topic, I strongly believe the 49ers can’t pin the blame for Week 5 on Garoppolo.

Through the first five games of the season, we’ve seen all three quarterbacks man the position.  Also, for the first five games, we’ve seen each of those QBs take multiple sacks, hits, hurries, pressures, fumbles and everything in between.

Prior to Garoppolo’s high-ankle sprain suffered in Week 2 versus the New York Jets, there were already concerns along the offensive line, and they have yet to be answered. The 49ers are struggling to create a consistent running game, which is spilling over into the passing game. As a collective unit responsible for controlling the trenches, San Francisco hasn’t adjusted to the way defenses have adjusted to its game plan. Quarterbacks under center for the SF 49ers this year have been sacked a total of 18 times, hit 28, blitzed 44 and pressured 55 times.

These numbers are a clear indicator of how defenses plan to attack Shanahan’s offense: Neutralize the zone-running scheme, hit the QB early and often and make him make off-schedule throws.

So far, that’s exactly the case, and the SF 49ers have not shown improvements on a weekly basis.

I am certainly not ready to count them out because of the talent and leadership still on the roster. But until a number of players return from their respective injuries, the team must dig deep and find a way to win without them.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened so far but the season is nowhere close to ending and anything is possible.

SF 49ers defense looked as bad as the offense

If you weren’t familiar with the name Brian Allen prior to Sunday’s game, there’s no doubt about his identity now. However, if you’re expecting a “bash Brian Allen, they lost because of him” type of article, I’m sorry to disappoint, but that won’t be happening here.

This has very little to do with the recently promoted practice-squad cornerback and a lot more to do with poor positioning, schematically.  After the first two defensive possessions, it was pretty apparent Allen was the clear matchup the Dolphins wanted to exploit, and exploit they did. The first play from scrimmage for Miami featured a 47-yard bomb from Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to wide receiver Preston Williams with Allen in coverage.

This was a constant theme throughout the first quarter-plus until someone finally talked defensive coordinator Robert Saleh into making a change at corner. By the time cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon entered the game in the second quarter, Miami’s victory was already in hand at that point.

I commend Allen for stepping up and trying to give his team the best he had. Unfortunately, his best wasn’t good enough on this day, but there is no way he should shoulder 100 percent of the blame. The SF 49ers’ depleted secondary had a lot to do with Allen’s extending playing time, but preparation and field positioning falls on the coaching staff. If a player is signed from the practice squad a day before kickoff, chances are that player is far from 100-percent prepared. As a coach or coordinator, you have to recognize this flaw and disguise as best as you can otherwise, opposing teams will punish you for it.

In my humble opinion, this debacle falls on the shoulders of San Francisco’s coaching staff. The offense was extremely dull and looked stagnant for most of the game. The defense looked worse and couldn’t get a stop even if they were traffic cops.

Next. 4 former players 49ers wish were on current roster. dark

The 49ers are in an early season hole, but this is not the time to panic.  Stay faithful, Faithful!