49ers vs. Chiefs: Lopsided Week 7 loss leads to ugly game grades
By Peter Panacy
49ers offensive grades vs. Chiefs
It’s interesting to think that San Francisco was still very much in contention after the first two quarters, only trailing 14-13 in a game where many thought it could come down to the wire.
The 49ers offense had stalled twice in the red zone already by that point, though, and a key gaffe by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the wake of the Niners forcing a special teams turnover proved to be just the first disaster of many.
Looking solely at the stats, Garoppolo was very Garoppolo-ish, going 25-of-37 for 303 yards with two touchdowns thrown against one interception for a passer rating of 99.3.
Yet that interception was a killer.
A muffed Chiefs punt gave San Francisco the ball on Kansas City’s 12-yard line, but Garoppolo tossing an interception in scoring position not only thwarted a golden chance for the 49ers to put up much-needed points, but it also nearly cost the Niners another touchdown allowed, as KC responded with a near-touchdown drive of its own, one which didn’t result in points but came a missed field goal away from doing so.
Plenty of things to chew upon here, but Garoppolo being sacked in the end zone for a safety, his second of the year, essentially put a cap on San Francisco’s ugly loss.
All eyes were on Christian McCaffrey and rightfully so, even though he only had a few days to absorb as much of Kyle Shanahan’s playbook before Sunday’s game.
Yet it was running back Jeff Wilson Jr. who led the charge on the ground, however he only managed 54 yards on seven carries but managed to average 7.7 yards per rush. Had the 49ers kept things close, perhaps Wilson and McCaffrey would have seen more action in the second half.
McCaffrey, meanwhile, saw his debut with the Niners net 62 all-purpose yards on 10 touches.
Drops were an issue for San Francisco’s top two wideouts, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, but Aiyuk nevertheless responded nicely enough with seven catches for 82 yards.
Samuel, meanwhile, was notably quiet with only 42 yards on five catches, and Kansas City did a good job to limit him to a mere 2 yards on his lone rushing carry.
Neither Aiyuk nor Samuel found the end zone, though, as wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud recorded one of only two touchdowns the 49ers would muster.
It’s at least fitting the 49ers got George Kittle involved in the pass-catching game on National Tight Ends Day, and the All-Pro responded with his best game of the year to date, hauling in six receptions for a team-high 98 yards and the other of the Niners’ two touchdowns scored:
At the time, it seemed as if that touchdown would help get San Francisco back into the game, if it could hold, defensively.
However, as anyone who merely looked at the box score could understand, Kittle’s touchdown was a mere blip in the overall storyline of the game.
The 49ers had to feel good about getting their two starting tackles back from injury, Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey.
But, after Sunday’s result, one can fairly wonder if the patchwork offensive line they fielded prior to Week 7 would have been a better option.
Williams was completely turnstiled by Chiefs EDGE Frank Clark on the Garoppolo safety, while McGlinchey was flagged twice for holding and emerged as a complete liability in pass protection.
Sure, Kansas City brought plenty of blitz packages. But, in total, the Niners surrendered five sacks for 26 yards on Garoppolo.
Pretty poor showing from this group despite the reinforcements.