Instant Analysis: 49ers force OT, but still winless after loss to Colts

Instant Analysis: 49ers force OT, but still winless after loss to Colts


INDIANAPOLIS – Not even a defense that entered the weekend ranked next-to-last in the league could help the 49ers’ offense get going on Sunday.

The 49ers’ struggles under first-year coach Kyle Shanahan continued, as it becomes more and more difficult to find a winnable game on the schedule.

The 49ers remain winless with a lackluster showing in a 26-23 overtime loss against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The 49ers did not get into the end zone until the midway point of the fourth quarter on Brian Hoyer’s shovel pass to fullback Kyle Juszczyk for a 6-yard touchdown.

After Indianapolis’ Adam Vinatieri and the 49ers’ Robbie Gould matched field goals for most of the game, the Colts pulled out to a 10-point lead in the third quarter.

Vinatieri’s 38-yard field goal gave Indianapolis a 9-6 lead. The Colts got into the end zone on their next possession on running back Marlon Mack’s 22-yard reception from quarterback Jacoby Brissett.

Brissett later added a 3-yard touchdown run with 9:56 remaining in the fourth quarter to extend the Colts’ lead to 23-9.

The 49ers’ offense continued to stall. Running back Carlos Hyde, who has been limited due to a hip injury, accounted for just 10 yards on five carries. Matt Breida replaced him in the third quarter.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer completed 29 of 46 passes for 353 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Running back Frank Gore gained 48 yards on 14 rushing attempts to move past Eric Dickerson and into seventh place on the NFL’s all-time rushing yardage list.

Gore entered the game with 13,256 rushing yards in 13 NFL seasons. Dickerson gained 13,259 yards in 11 seasons. Gore broke into the league as a third-round draft pick of the 49ers in 2005. This is his third season with the Colts.

Gore also added three receptions for 38 yards, including a 26-yard catch and run that set up the Colts’ third-quarter touchdown.

The 49ers’ defense experienced problems keeping the yardage to a minimum on short dump-off passes to running backs. So the team made a change that included the benching of veteran linebacker NaVorro Bowman.

Bowman came off the field late in the first half for an entire series, as Brock Coyle replaced him. When the 49ers went with six defensive backs, Coyle remained on the field with Ray-Ray Armstrong also leaving the game.

Bowman and Armstrong started the second half, but Bowman was replaced again after several series.

--Rookie cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon made his NFL regular-season debut but left the game in the first half after sustaining a concussion.

Witherspoon replaced cornerback Dontae Johnson for one series, then replaced Rashard Robinson on the next series But after just a couple of plays on the field in Robinson’s spot, Witherspoon sustained a concussion in the second quarter and did not return.

--Robinson left the game in the third quarter after experiencing cramps. Reserve cornerback Asa Jackson was ruled out after sustaining a hamstring injury.

While Robinson was out, the 49ers used nickel back K’Waun Williams on the outside and moved Jimmie Ward to cover the slot receiver. Rookie Lorenzo Jerome took over at free safety.

--With Gould’s third field goal of the game set the franchise record with 14 consecutive made field goals to open a season. Wade Richey set the mark in 1999 when he made 13 in a row. It was also the 300th field goal of Gould’s career.

--On the 49ers’ touchdown drive in the middle of the fourth quarter, Hoyer hit Marquise Goodwin on back-to-back pass plays of 20 and 51 yards.

Kilgore: All of 49ers on same page 'for the first time in a long time'


Kilgore: All of 49ers on same page 'for the first time in a long time'

The 49ers’ coaching staff made its feelings known to center Daniel Kilgore throughout the season.

But, in the past, that would not have necessarily meant everyone in the organization had the same thoughts about Kilgore, who was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

“The whole season, coaches and I had a good relationship,” Kilgore said Wednesday on conference call with Bay Area reporters. “Just talking and having one-on-ones with various coaches, I had a positive outlook for the future.

“But that’s just one thing. The coaches have an opinion of you, but then there’s also the front office. That’s two totally different things. And I think for the first time in a long time, our coaches and the front office are on the same page.”

Kilgore was working out back home in Tennessee on Wednesday when he signed a three-year contract to avoid hitting the free-agent market. Kilgore, 30, a seven-year NFL veteran, described the contract as a team-friendly deal.

The 49ers presented Kilgore with a contract offer during the season but negotiations did not get serious until just recently. While the 49ers expressed interest in retaining Kilgore, he said he did not know what the future held for him when he packed his belongings from the locker room on the day after the season ended.

“It kind of makes you nervous because in this profession, people like the younger guys,” Kilgore said. “You just never know what will happen at any time, any given day, in the NFL. So toward the end, that last day of clearing out the locker, I didn’t know if I’d be back. I didn’t know if the Niners would want me back.”

Kilgore was named the winner of the organization’s top honor for an offensive lineman. Kilgore won the Bobb McKittrick Award for best exemplifying the dedication, excellence and commitment of the long-time 49ers offensive line coach. Kilgore started all 29 games in which he appeared the past two seasons, including a career-high 16 games last season.

"I've been here seven years and I consider the Bay Area my second home,” Kilgore said. “To be able to extend my career wearing the 49ers jersey was special to me. This team is heading in the right direction, I wanted to be a part of it."

Why the 49ers did not hesitate to pay Garoppolo big money

Matt Maiocco

Why the 49ers did not hesitate to pay Garoppolo big money

When Jimmy Garoppolo signed a contract that could pay him up to $137.5 million over the next five years, he was asked what convinced him during his nine weeks with the organization that he wanted to be with the 49ers for the long term.

“I think it was a number of things,” Garoppolo said last week. “The team, the acceptance that they had of me when I first got here from the get-go, the coaching staff, Kyle and Rich. It was a very welcoming environment, and I really liked that. We had some success down the stretch, and you could see that pieces were falling into place. We've got a long way to go, but I think we're moving in the right direction.”

Kyle, of course, is head coach Kyle Shanahan. Rich Scagarello is the 49ers’ quarterbacks coach, and the person from whom Garoppolo spent the most time after arriving in Santa Clara on Oct. 31 after a trade with the New England Patriots.

Garoppolo earned $3.5 million in his first four NFL seasons. His new contract makes him the NFL’s highest-paid player, making an average of $27.5 million per season, with $48.7 million fully guaranteed.

Scangarello, appearing this week on The 49ers Insider Podcast, talked about what he learned about Garoppolo from working so closely with him to teach him Shanahan's offense. Scangarello said there is no question in his mind the money will not change Garoppolo’s approach to his work.

“That’s why it was easy for the organization and everyone to invest in somebody like Jimmy Garoppolo,” Scangarello said. “I just think that’s not the kind of person he is. If you met his family, you know where he comes from, what he’s about. His brothers, his parents, are just good, solid people people. He’s made of the right stuff and I just don’t see that affecting him in that way.

“It’s just not who he is. That’s the fun part of working with somebody like that every day. When they’re really talented and they appreciate everything and they work at it, you have a chance to be a successful organization and they can be a great player. And I don’t think those things will ever affect him.”