Three things you need to know from 49ers' 26-23 overtime loss to Colts

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 26-23 overtime loss to Colts

INDIANAPOLIS -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 26-23 loss to the Colts in Week 5 on Sunday:

1. Close is not good enough
The 49ers have not figured out this whole winning thing. Kyle Shanahan’s team is 0-5. After a blowout loss in Week 1, the 49ers have dropped their past four games by a total of 11 points.

The 49ers lost in overtime for the second week in a row. Trailing by 14 points at the midpoint of the fourth quarter, the fact the 49ers forced overtime against Indianapolis was a minor miracle.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer could not get things going until the final eight minutes of the fourth quarter. He finished with a more-than-respectable stat line, completing 29 of 46 pass attempts for 353 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

But when the 49ers had a chance to win the game in overtime, they could not capitalize.

The defense kept the team in the game for much of the day, including Ray-Ray Armstrong’s interception at the goal line to open overtime. But the defense did not get the big stop when it was needed. Colts running back Marlon Mack got around the corner on a 35-yard run in overtime to set up the winning field goal.

In short, the 49ers have found a way to lose every week. And things are not going to be getting any easier. The 49ers’ upcoming games are at Washington, vs. Dallas, at Philadelphia and vs. Arizona.

2. Is Bowman getting phased out?
Linebacker NaVorro Bowman has not been a role player since his first season in the NFL. And he does not appear ready to accept that role now after being named first-team All-Pro selection in all four of his full NFL seasons. But Bowman appears to have slowed down dramatically, and the coaching staff has determined he is a liability in coverage.

The 49ers’ coaching staff decided the defense could be better if Bowman is given some time to rest during the course of a game, too. Brock Coyle came off the sideline to play at least three defensive series on Sunday.

“They’re doing what they want to do, and . . . I don’t know. I don’t like it. Nobody likes coming out of the game, but I’m a team player,” Bowman said.

“They told me. But it’s hard to do that in the midst of a tough game. No player likes being taken out.”

We could be seeing the end of Bowman with the 49ers. He is scheduled to make $9.45 million next season in salary and bonuses, and the 49ers certainly are not going to pay that kind of money to a linebacker whose playing time is being cut back.

3. Kittle emerges in fourth
Looking for a bright spot? Rookie tight end George Kittle came through with a big fourth quarter to help the 49ers pull even and force overtime.

Kittle caught seven passes for 83 yards to exceed by 1 yard his total receiving output of the first four games combined. And Kittle came through in the clutch, too.

Hoyer looked for him when it mattered, and Kittle came through. He kept the late-fourth-quarter drive alive with a 19-yard reception on a fourth-and-1 play. Then, on a fourth-and-goal play from the 5 with time running out in regulation, Kittle caught a short pass and powered his way into the end zone with Colts rookie safety Malik Hooker on his back.


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.”