5 biggest takeaways from 49ers waterlogged loss vs. Colts

Jonathan Taylor #28 of the Indianapolis Colts is tackled by Jimmie Ward #1 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Jonathan Taylor #28 of the Indianapolis Colts is tackled by Jimmie Ward #1 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Michael Pittman, Dre Kirkpatrick, Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (13) attempts to defend against Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman (11) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

19. 42. Final. 30. 46

The 49ers melted away in a rain-soaked Sunday Night Football embarrassment to the visiting Colts, which reveals some unfortunate takeaways.

The San Francisco 49ers are now losers of four consecutive games. And the last one, a 30-18 debacle against the visiting Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football amid torrential rain and wind at Levi’s Stadium probably sets the mood for just how bad things have gotten for head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad.

Now at 2-4 and looking like anything but a realistic playoff team, the Niners have some tough questions to ask themselves after their most recent setback. Especially in light of the fact they had two weeks to prepare for this contest after last week’s bye.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo struggled, the defense is committing way too many pass-interference penalties, top investments from the NFL Draft aren’t playing.

And simply put, San Francisco appears no closer to a Super Bowl than it did a year ago when injuries were a legitimate excuse.

What are the answers? It’s hard to say.

Nevertheless, Shanahan and Co. better know what the questions are right now, as the team is clearly in crisis mode.

Here are five brutal takeaways from Sunday’s loss.

No. 5: 49ers are paying for lack of investments at cornerback

Yes, it’s easy to point out how poorly the 49ers cornerbacks played in Week 7, particularly when looking at the three defensive pass-interference calls that all ultimately resulted in touchdowns for Indianapolis:

And it’s surely good (or bad) enough to call out cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick for gaffing on the Colts’ final touchdown of the game by wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr.

But there’s a bigger problem. One that’s much deeper.

The Niners failed to invest properly in cornerbacks the last two seasons, electing not to draft one in 2020 and then waiting until late in Round 3 to grab one this year, Ambry Thomas, who has scantly played this season and has been a weekly inactive. One of the corners who has played and succeeded a bit more, fifth-round rookie Deommodore Lenoir, was a healthy scratch.

It’s becoming a problem. A major one.

If San Francisco was trying to field players like Lenoir and let him go through the growing pains of life at the NFL level, it would be one thing. Instead, the 49ers are still content letting players like Kirkpatrick make mistakes, while veteran corner Josh Norman cancels out quality plays, such as forcing two fumbles by also being overly grabby and committing pass interference.

The Niners cornerback room isn’t good right now, and it’s hard to see this unit turning things around anytime soon.