49ers

49ers review: Offensive player-by-player

539982.jpg

49ers review: Offensive player-by-player

The Dallas Cowboys had just pulled to within three points and the 49ers took over with 6:55 remaining in regulation.This was an opportunity for the 49ers to string some first downs together and either put the game out of reach, run out the clock or chew up enough time to make it more difficult for the Cowboys to get into position for the game-tying field goal.Instead, the 49ers experienced a complete meltdown that contributed to their eventual 27-24 overtime loss.Things started well enough. Alex Smith hit Josh Morgan for a 13-yard gain. Then, the 49ers fell apart.Backup offensive linemen Alex Boone and Adam Snyder reported as eligible receivers for a run formation. Inside the 49ers' coaches booth, they recognized that the 49ers came out in an illegal formation and they frantically got the sideline to call a timeout.The 49ers kept the same personnel on the field. This time Vernon Davis lined up on the left side to cover up tackle Joe Staley, making the formation legal. With a full timeout to prepare for this formation that included no wide receivers, the Cowboys stopped Frank Gore for 2 yards.On second and 8, the 49ers chose a strange time to leave outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware unblocked. Not only that, the play called for Smith to roll to Ware's side. What resulted was the easiest sack Ware might ever get in his career. That went for an 8-yard loss.Before the third-down play, offensive coordinator Greg Roman and coach Jim Harbaugh were late getting in the play call to Smith. The delay of game made it third-and-21.With the clock stopped, the 49ers still barely got off the next play. Smith rolled right to the short side of the field and had few options. He took the best one. He slid in-bounds to keep the clock moving. The 49ers punted the ball back to the Cowboys, who took over with 4:03 remaining.Here's the player-by-player review for the 49ers' offense:Quarterback
3-Scott Tolzien: Inactive.
7-Colin Kaepernick: Did not play. (Follow on Twitter @Kaepernick7)
11-Alex Smith: Completed 16 of 24 passes for 179 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for a passer rating of 99.1. He gained 21 yards on three scrambles. His best play was a perfectly thrown 12-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Williams. He also did a nice job of recognizing a mismatch and getting the ball to Delanie Walker on a 29-yard score. . . His two worst plays came back-to-back in the third quarter with the 49ers leading 14-7. On second-and-8, he missed Walker at the sideline wide open that would've been at least a 13-yard gain. Then, on the next play, he threw an interception with Vernon Davis and Josh Morgan in the vicinity. He had a clean pocket from which to throw on that play.Running backs
21-Frank Gore: Started at running back and played 53 of the team's 54 offensive snaps. There wasn't much room for him to operate. He gained 47 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. But do you want to know why the 49ers like him so much? His pass-protection was outstanding. He leveled blitzing safety Barry Church off the right side to allow Smith to complete a 21-yard pass to Braylon Edwards . On 49ers' second drive, cut-blocked DeMarcus Ware to the ground to allow Smith to hit Ted Ginn 14-yard gain. . . . Also caught three passes for 17 yards.
24-Anthony Dixon: He got on the field for two plays of offense, He gained 6 yards off the right side on a third-and-1 play in the on the final snap of the first quarter. . . . He was credited with one tackle on special teams.(Follow on Twitter @Boobie24Dixon)
32-Kendall Hunter: He did not play any snaps on offense. But he was the up man on kickoffs. He fielded a short kickoff that deflected off Will Tukuafu's hand. He bounced it to the outside and returned it 43 yards.
44-Moran Norris: Started at fullback and played 16 snaps in the game but just four snaps in the second half. He was seen wearing an orthopedic boot Monday on his left foot. His availability for Sunday's game against Cincinnati is not known. . . . Had a pancake block on linebacker Keith Brooking to enable Gore to pick up 3 yards on a third-and-1 in the first quarter. . . . Made block on cornerback Alan Ball on third-and-1 play on which Dixon gained 6. . . . Got block on Brooking on Gore's 1-yard TD run. . . . Sean Lee tossed him aside to drop Gore for a 1-yard loss in second quarter. . . . Whiffed on third-quarter block of outside linebacker Anthony Spencer and Gore was stopped for no gain off the right side.
49-Bruce Miller: Played solely on special teams and recorded one tackle. (Follow on Twitter @bmiller_49)Wide receivers
10-Kyle Williams: He entered as the 49ers' third receiver after Braylon Edwards' injury and played 16 snaps for the most extended playing time of his career, Williams' second career catch was a touchdown. He made the finger-tip grab of a 12-yard pass over Michael Jenkins and tapped both feet in-bounds for the TD. It was the only pass that came his way in the game. (Follow on Twitter @KyleWilliams_10)
15-Michael Crabtree: Inactive with a left foot injury. (Follow on Twitter @KingCrab15)
17-Braylon Edwards : Started and played the first three snaps of the game before leaving with a right knee sprain. He caught a 21-yard pass from Smith, and immediately stuck his right foot in the ground to redirect up field. That's when it appeared he sustained the injury. GM Trent Baalke said Edwards is "day to day." (Follow on Twitter @OfficialBraylon)
19-Ted Ginn: Entered in place of Edwards on the first drive. He caught four of the seven passes directed his way for a team-high 38 yards. Ginn played 43 snaps in the game.
84-Josh Morgan: He started and played 52 of the possible 54 snaps in the game. He caught three passes for 35 yards.Tight ends
46-Delanie Walker: Played 26 snaps as the 49ers' second tight end. . . He exploited his matchup against outside linebacker Anthony Spencer down the right sideline for a 29-yard scoring play late in the third quarter. (Follow on Twitter @Dwalk46)
85-Justin Peelle: Did not play.
85-Vernon Davis: Started at tight end and played every snap. Let Spencer get past him too quickly before releasing into pattern. Spencer was on Smith for the 9-yard sack on first play of second quarter. . . . He caught just two passes for 18 yards, and was kept in to block on 10 of the 49ers' pass attempts. (Follow on Twitter @VernonDavis85)Offensive linemen
59-Jonathan Goodwin: Started at center and played every snap. . . . Got out to second level to block Keith Brooking on 9-yard run for Gore in second quarter. Had a high snap that got past Smith in the second quarter. He was able to get it back and throw it into end zone, where there was a pass-interference penalty. . . . Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff beat him for a costly sack in overtime.
62-Chilo Rachal: Started at right guard and played most of the game. . . . Did not stick with Sean Lee, who angled down line of scrimmage to stop Gore for 1-yard loss on opening series.
67-Daniel Kilgore: Inactive.
68-Adam Snyder: Entered the game at right guard for a series in the second quarter and another in the fourth quarter. . . . Got clubbed aside by Jay Ratliff, who stopped Gore for a 1-yard gain on a third-and-19 draw play in the second quarter. . . . Was used on a few second-half plays as an extra blocker. He tried to report as eligible receiver, and could be seen motioning to the umpire (not the referee) after breaking the huddle. But he was called for illegal formation to wipe out a 5-yard gain in the third quarter. (Follow on Twitter @ASnyds68)
74-Joe Staley: Started at left tackle and drew the assignment of blocking DeMarcus Ware for most of the game. He generally did a good job on Ware, though Ware got to the outside once to drop Smith for a second-half sack. . . Got double-team block on Marcus Spears to pave way for Gore's 1-yard touchdown run. . . . Spencer got past him to drop Gore for 1-yard loss in second quarter. (Follow on Twitter @jstaley74)
75-Alex Boone: He got on the field for two plays as an extra blocker, though one of those plays was nullified because of an illegal formation.
76-Anthony Davis: Started and played every snap at right tackle. . . Found himself matched in pass protection only three times against Ware, and held his own each time. His pass protection was generally very good. Defensive end Kenyon Coleman tossed him aside to stop Gore for 2-yard gain in third quarter. (Follow on Twitter @AnthonyDavis76)
77-Mike Iupati: Started at left guard and played every snap. . . . Got double-team block on Spears on Gore's TD run. . . . On an early third-quarter sack, he allowed defensive end Jason Hatcher to get between him and Staley for a sack. . . . Did not get as much push as the 49ers expect from him in the run game.
78-Mike Person: Not active.

Mailbag: Are 49ers trying to win or develop players?

shanahan-kyle-presser-face.jpg
AP

Mailbag: Are 49ers trying to win or develop players?

After five consecutive close losses and some reason for optimism, it all came crashing down for the 49ers on Sunday.

Rookie Trent Taylor fumbled a punt just one minute into the game. Ninety seconds later, the Dallas Cowboys scored.

And it was over.

The Cowboys steamrolled the 49ers, 40-10, providing a slap across the face to anyone who believed this rebuild of the franchise was trending consistently upward without any complications.

The team appeared to be moving along harmoniously. But on Sunday, there was an incident in which Jaquiski Tartt, Ahkello Witherspoon and Ray-Ray Armstrong were seen jawing at each other. Things got heated. The optics in a home blowout loss were not good.

There are plenty of questions, and here are some of the questions from The Day After that were submitted on our Facebook page:

What is the philosophy? Are we trying to win or develop players? Cause it seems you can't do both? (Frank Vega)
The 49ers are definitely trying to develop players. They are also trying to evaluate players. They are looking to the future, and they are not deploying a win-at-all-cost approach this season. They do not want to win an extra game or two this season at the expense of possibly making the team worse for the future.

That is why the 49ers, almost invariably, went with younger players at any position in which there was competition . . . Eli Harold over Ahmad Brooks; Trent Taylor over Jeremy Kerley; Raheem Mostert over Tim Hightower; etc.

It’s why the 49ers made the decision two weeks ago to part ways with NaVorro Bowman, who had expressed dissatisfaction over his reduced role. Bowman was still the 49ers’ best linebacker at the time. But he would not have been on the team next year, so the decision was made to release Bowman now and go with the other less-accomplished players. (The Raiders, by the way, say 'Thank you.')

Rookie C.J. Beathard is now the starting quarterback. Cole Hikutini has moved into the No. 2 role at tight end behind fellow rookie George Kittle. Ahkello Witherspoon is being weaved into the action at cornerback, splitting time with Rashard Robinson and Dontae Johnson.

The 49ers did not want to create a mirage. They did not want to win any games this season that would be the result of a veteran rent-a-player approach. In that respect, the 49ers have succeeded. The 49ers will be picking near the top of every round in the 2018 draft.

The risk, of course, is that the young players get beaten down so badly that they lose their confidence and their edge.

What do you make of Eric Reid’s move to LB? Is his time with Niners nearing the end? (Peter Chan)
The 49ers no longer use a “nickel” defense. They go straight from their base defense to six defensive backs whenever the opposition puts more than two wide receivers on the field. It’s not a true linebacker position Reid is playing. It’s considered more of a “big nickel," designed to give the 49ers more speed on third downs to cover and run to the ball.

Reid is no longer a starter. What it shows is that the 49ers are sold on Jaquiski Tartt being a long-term answer for the 49ers secondary. The 49ers view Tartt and Jimmie Ward as the starters for 2018. All things being equal, Reid will have a chance to go somewhere else next season and be a starter.

The 49ers are not committed to re-signing him on a deal that extends beyond this season.

Is it a coincidence that the two worst teams in the NFL have the most cap space? (Gary Staebler)
That is no coincidence at all. It is the very reason the Cleveland Browns and 49ers are the only two winless teams in the NFL.

The Browns have $61.6 million in cap space. The 49ers are currently $61 million under the cap. Next year, with carryovers of unused space, the 49ers and Browns are projected to both have more than $117 million in cap room, according to Overthecap.com.

Bad teams do not draft well.

Teams that do not draft well, do not sign their draft picks to lucrative second contracts.

Therefore, teams that do not draft well cannot spend a large portion of their cap space to retain their own players because they have no good players worth retaining.

49ers snap count: Reid no longer starter; rookies see more time on offense

reid-eric-49ers-hurt-ground.jpg
USATI

49ers snap count: Reid no longer starter; rookies see more time on offense

Veteran safety Eric Reid returned from a knee injury that kept him out three games to discover he lost his starting job.

Strong safety Jaquiski Tartt has continued to serve as an every-down player for the 49ers’ defense. On Sunday, Reid played 48 snaps (64 percent) as the 49ers employed six defensive backs against the Dallas Cowboys three-receiver sets.

The 49ers had to adjust their sub package after nickel back K’Waun Williams sustained a hip injury. Rookie Adrian Colbert entered the game at safety with Jimmie Ward taking over Williams’ role. Colbert played 29 snaps.

Newly signed defensive linemen Leger Douzable and Tony McDaniel saw a lot of action in their 49ers debuts. Douzable played the third-most of any defensive lineman (behind Solomon Thomas and DeForest Buckner), seeing action on 47 of the team’s 75 snaps. McDaniel played 25 snaps.

On offense, the 49ers appear to be making a point to go with younger players. Rookie Cole Hikutini played 21 snaps, taking over as the No. 2 tight end over Garrett Celek and Logan Paulsen.

Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, another undrafted rookie, played a season-high 23 snaps. On fourth-and-4 from the Dallas 28 early in the third quarter, coach Kyle Shanahan decided to go for it instead of kicking a 46-yard field goal. Bourne was the intended target. But he stumbled after a spin move from the slot, and C.J. Beathard’s pass was incomplete.

“As I was throwing the ball he tripped,” Beathard said. “If he hadn’t tripped on a DB’s feet or whatever happened there, it would’ve been a big play.”

Here is a look at the 49ers’ playing time on offense, defense and special teams:

OFFENSE
(66 plays)
Quarterback – C.J. Beathard 66
Running back – Carlos Hyde 51, Matt Breida 15
Wide receiver – Pierre Garçon 46, Trent Taylor 46, Marquise Goodwin 39, Aldrick Robinson 30, Kendrick Bourne 23
Tight end – George Kittle 31, Cole Hikutini 21, Garrett Celek 18, Logan Paulsen 11
Offensive line – Joe Staley 66, Daniel Kilgore 66, Laken Tomlinson 66, Brandon Fusco 52, Trent Brown 45, Garry Gilliam 20, Zane Beadles 14

DEFENSE
(75 plays)
Defensive line – Solomon Thomas 61, DeForest Buckner 50, Leger Douzable 47, Earl Mitchell 38, Xavier Cooper 26, D.J. Jones 25, Tony McDaniel 25, Elvis Dumervil 15
Linebacker – Reuben Foster 53, Eli Harold 31, Ray-Ray Armstrong 27, Brock Coyle 22, Dekoda Watson 9
Cornerback – Dontae Johnson 63, Rashard Robinson 51, Ahkello Witherspoon 35, K’Waun Williams 20
Safety – Jaquiski Tartt 75, Jimmie Ward 75, Eric Reid 48, Adrian Colbert 29

SPECIAL TEAMS
(24 plays)
Elijah Lee 21, Coyle 21, Raheem Mostert 16, Celek 15, Colbert 16, Witherspoon 15, Breida 14, Harold 12, Hikutini 12, Armstrong 10, Tartt 10, Bradley Pinion 9, Jones 8, R.Robinson 8, Ward 8, Johnson 7, Kyle Nelson 6, Buckner 6, Thomas 6, Paulsen 6, Reid 5, Mitchell 5, Douzable 4, A.Robinson 3, Taylor 3, Robbie Gould 2, Foster 2, Staley 2, Kilgore 2, Gilliam 2, Beadles 2, Tomlinson 1, Fusco 1, Brown 1, Dumervil 1, Watson 1, Williams 1

DID NOT PLAY
QB Brian Hoyer

INACTIVE
WR Victor Bolden
DB Dexter McCoil
FB Kyle Juszczyk (back)
LB Mark Nzeocha
LB Pita Taumoepenu
DL Aaron Lynch (calf)
OL Erik Magnuson