The 49ers couldn’t survive the elements and made more mistakes in their loss to the Colts on Sunday night, now falling to 2-4 in the process.
In all honesty, though, both teams struggled in the deluge that swamped Levi’s Stadium for Sunday Night Football, forcing both the Niners and Colts to turn the ball over amid the wet and slippery conditions.
And, unfortunately for San Francisco, Indianapolis managed to navigate the conditions a bit better than head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad.
The 49ers ended up losing 30-18 in a game that featured more turnovers than necessary, bringing their record to 2-4 after the Week 7 contest and extending the Niners’ previous three-game losing streak to four.
Even with the bye week mixed in there, too.
San Francisco caught some breaks, yes, including an EDGE Nick Bosa pressure on quarterback Carson Wentz, who tossed an ill-advised red-zone interception to linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, who had himself a game despite the 49ers secondary being flagged for multiple crucial defensive pass-interference calls.
Meanwhile, rookie running back Elijah Mitchell got off to a hot start, scoring the Niners’ first touchdown and finishing the game with 107 yards on the ground, averaging 5.9 yards per play.
It’s a wonder why San Francisco didn’t feature Mitchell more in the second and third quarters.
For the few things the 49ers did well, though, Shanahan’s squad also had plenty of its own mistakes, including wide receiver Deebo Samuel’s fumble, which the Colts recovered and subsequently scored a touchdown that ensuing drive. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo‘s third-quarter fumble within the pocket and his two fourth-quarter interceptions amid his team’s comeback weren’t pretty either.
And those DPI calls, too.
49ers can’t get away from committing defensive pass interference
Cornerback Josh Norman can get handsy, and he was flagged for a pass interference, although it was a catch anyway and the flag was declined.
In total, though, the Niners committed three defensive pass-interference calls during the game, and all of them resulted in points for Indianapolis. On more than one third-down call, Wentz simply elected to air it deep with the hope San Francisco would be flagged for getting too aggressive on defense.
Simply put, it worked.
The 49ers were flagged seven times for 122 yards. The Colts, meanwhile, were flagged six times for 45 yards.
If you want a key X-factor, that’s it. The Niners beat themselves in a bad, bad way.
Kyle Shanahan again suspect in 49ers’ latest loss
Yes, Shanahan can’t exactly overcome the weather, even though Indianapolis’ head coach, Frank Reich, had to deal with the same elements.
That said, it was more than odd to see San Francisco get away from the outside runs Mitchell had success in for the first quarter. The 49ers’ opening drive was excellent. But aside from that, Shanahan’s offensive play-calling wasn’t exactly great regardless of the weather challenges. And it also has to fall on Shanahan for the sheer number of penalties his team endured, including the defensive ones.
Even worse, the botched second-half challenge on a clear Colts first down was not a good look for the head coach, who certainly experienced his share of the boos from the crowd at Levi’s Stadium.
That was one call. Getting away from Mitchell hurt, and so did not involving wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who was scantly a factor aside from a botched punt that was at least held to being a touchback.
Needless to say, Shanahan and a very poorish Niners team has a lot of soul-searching to do after this most recent embarrassing loss.