The 49ers offense was supposed to be quite operational by the time the Miami Dolphins arrived at Levi's Stadium on Sunday.
Jimmy Garoppolo was back at quarterback, as was Raheem Mostert at running back. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel and tight end George Kittle were set to play in their second consecutive games, too, as the 49ers had their leading passer (Garoppolo), rusher (Mostert) and receivers (Kittle and Samuel) from 2019 all on the field in the same game for the first time in 2020.
The Dolphins didn't witness much, if any firepower from the 49ers' armed and fully operational offense in Miami's 43-17 win on Sunday. The 49ers managed just 259 yards of total offense, and that number is flattering considering the Dolphins led 30-7 at halftime.
Fullback Kyle Jusczyk faulted issues in the 49ers' play rather than any design flaws in the 49ers' offensive scheme.
"We had a lot of our guys back healthy, ready to roll," Juszczyk told NBC Sports Bay Area's Grant Liffmann on "49ers Postgame Live" on Sunday. "(With) the weapons that we had envisioned early in the preseason [finally] out there, so we felt like we needed to take it to another level, and help our defense out. We just simply didn't do that, and I don't think it's a lack of effort or anything like that. I do think it's just execution, and guys having the confidence to go out there and do what they're supposed to do on every play. I think it really came down to that."
Juszczyk scored the 49ers' only touchdown in the first half, cutting the Dolphins' lead to seven points with 12 minutes remaining in the second quarter. That was as close as the 49ers got, and the Dolphins closed out the half with 16 unanswered points.
The 49ers compiled 140 yards of offense in the first half, and Garoppolo threw two interceptions. Outside of Juszczyk's TD run, the 49ers turned the ball over or punted on each of their other six first-half drives. With the game out of reach going into the third quarter, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan benched Garoppolo.
Juszczyk admitted the 49ers offense lacked chemistry, perhaps a product of the injuries combined with not having a traditional preseason featuring exhibition games to shake off the rust due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the fullback said that's no excuse.
"We had a great week of practice," he said. "It's not like it's our first time together ever. We have gotten reps together, but we just have a higher standard for this group. We really, really do. We think that we can do some special things with this group on offense, but today, we just did not reach that standard at all."
The 49ers defense likely won't be firing on all cylinders for some time, with a battered secondary working its way back to full strength and the defensive line missing Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas for the remainder of the season. Shanahan's offense will be relied upon to carry the load as a result, especially during a daunting stretch that begins next week against the 4-1 Los Angeles Rams.
If they can't, the 49ers' Super Bowl hopes will pay the price.