49ers vs. Titans: Biggest studs, duds from flop of a Week 16 loss
By Peter Panacy
49ers Dud: Third-Down Defense
Entering Week 16, San Francisco was giving up third-down conversions just 37.2 percent of the time, good for ninth best in the NFL.
That number and ranking will take a serious hit heading into Week 17 now.
Yes, the 49ers defense was awesome during the first half, allowing Tennessee just 55 all-purpose yards and three first downs. But when the second half happened, it all fell apart and in a bad, bad way.
The Titans converted a whopping 9-of-16 (56 percent) mark of their third-down tries, many of which were 3rd-and-long, including this 3rd-and-23 play where the Niners jumped offsides, leading to a free play that gained 42 yards:
That wasn’t the only 3rd-and-long play Tennessee converted. If anything, it seemed as if that was a regular game plan for Ryan Tannehill and Co., working to perfection almost all the time.
Granted, San Francisco’s defense wasn’t aided by Jimmy Garoppolo’s mistakes, but EDGE Nick Bosa and the pass rush didn’t completely demolish what was a makeshift and banged-up Titans offensive line to get to Tannehill with much regularity either.
While Garoppolo bears 90 percent of the 49ers’ loss, that third-down defense has to bear probably about seven percent.
It was bad.