Did 49ers lack ‘intensity’ during uninspiring Week 6 loss to Falcons?

Arnold Ebiketie #47 of the Atlanta Falcons tackles George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Arnold Ebiketie #47 of the Atlanta Falcons tackles George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

14. 42. 28. 44. Final

The 49ers may have been shorthanded against the Falcons in Week 6, but some may question whether or not they also lacked intensity and focus.

It’ll be easy to blame the San Francisco 49ers’ 28-14 Week 6 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on the swarm of injuries head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad is currently dealing with.

Yet most of those were on the defensive side of the ball. And while that didn’t bode well matching up against a Falcons team that owned the No. 10-ranked scoring offense entering the game, the Niners’ own offense was still relatively healthy.

And yet San Francisco was still only to muster 14 points, had a mere 50 rush yards and was completely shut out during the second half.

While Atlanta was seemingly able to carve up the 49ers defense with ease, it’s worth pointing out the fact the Niners still outgained the Falcons 346 yards to 289.

“We are the San Francisco 49ers, we have a standard that we play at,” tight end George Kittle told reporters after the game. “We play at a very high level with a lot of energy, 100 percent effort in every single play… I don’t know if we gave that today.”

Perhaps the Niners overlooked their Week 6 opponent, or at the very least, they thought they had gotten back on track this season in the wake of a dominant win over the Carolina Panthers the previous week.

Or, maybe, it was a lack of intensity.

However, and in some contrast to what Kittle said, Shanahan didn’t seem to think there was a lack of intensity on Sunday, publicly saying that he disagreed with the tight end to a certain extent:

"I would disagree with that. I mean, I like George saying that. That’s, to me, how you feel, especially when a team kind of dominates the game in terms of how they ran the ball, with the amount of carries that they got compared to us, the time of possession, and stuff like that.But I didn’t look at any of the guys lacking intensity or [not] going after it. That was a very physical team. That’s how they’ve played every single team they’ve played. That’s why they’ve been in pretty much every game they’ve played. That’s why they’ve been close to winning a number in a row. That’s why they had a chance to come back versus Tampa [in Week 5]."

Perhaps San Francisco lacked focus and intensity. Perhaps it was the fact its defense was still banged up and shorthanded.

Perhaps it was a little bit of both.

Either way, the 49ers may very well look back at this game and wonder if it was a contest they should have won.

And that might matter a lot by the time playoff seeding comes around.

Let’s take a look around the league and see what other Niners news and tidbits are out there.

49ers news from the FanSided network

NFC East is NFL’s best (and most surprising) division — Matt Verderame, FanSided

"Going into Week 7, no other division has more than two teams above .500. Hell, the NFC South and AFC North don’t have one. The worst team, the Washington Commanders, are one of only two last-place teams to have at least two victories.And, more bad news for the rest of the league? Look at who the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys have to play going forward. Yes, they’ll beat up a bit on each other, but the NFC East got the good fortune of facing the NFC North and AFC South."

Reasons the Falcons dominated the Niners — Nick Halden, Blogging Dirty

"It wasn’t just the Atlanta Falcons’ run game that carried the offense on Sunday but veteran quarterback Marcus Mariota. Mariota was close to perfect on Sunday going 13/14 for 129-yards and tossing two perfect touchdown passes."

49ers news from around the rest of the NFL

What we learned from Sunday’s Week 6 games — Around the NFL, NFL.com

"The 49ers offense was blanked in the second half and Demeco Ryans’ unit only gave up seven points in the final two quarters. Garoppolo’s interception to start the fourth quarter was ultimately a back-breaker for a team that lost the turnover battle 3-0, and his inability to complete passes downfield made the offense predictable in the screen game and disabled in long-yardage situations."

49ers need their uneven offense to pick up short-handed defense — Nick Wagoner, ESPN

"Indeed, the Niners’ offense will need to summon much more moving forward if they’re going to remain in the thick of the NFC West and postseason races. By the end of Sunday’s loss, the 49ers were down to just four of their projected defensive starters — linebackers Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw, safety Talanoa Hufanga and end Samson Ebukam. Which means a whopping seven projected starters entering the season were either on injured reserve, a pregame inactive because of injury or — in the case of cornerback Charvarius Ward — departed the game with a new injury."

Read more: Position grades, analysis from 49ers injury-depleted loss to Falcons

Kyle Shanahan uncertain about Mike McGlinchey, Charvarius Ward injuries — David Bonilla, 49ers Webzone

"Head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with reporters after Sunday’s gut-wrenching defeat. A reporter asked if [Charvarius] Ward’s injury is something that could linger.“We’re not sure yet,” Shanahan responded. “I hope not, but he couldn’t go, which usually is not a good sign. But we’ve got to see how it is tomorrow.”The situation with [Mike] McGlinchey is similar."

Takeaways from 49ers’ loss to Falcons: It’s a marathon, not a sprint — Jordan Elliott, Niners Nation

"It feels eerily similar to last season when the 49ers got hit with the injury bug early and struggled to put together a complete product as they stumbled out to a 3-5 start before getting hot down the stretch.That very recent example should provide some hope that the 49ers can find a way to right the ship and correct the litany of self-inflicted mistakes that have largely contributed to their early-season struggles."

Next. 5 painful takeaways from 49ers' Week 6 loss to Falcons. dark