Brian Allen started Sunday's game for the 49ers, only one day after being promoted from the practice squad, and it didn't go well, as the Miami Dolphins targeted the young cornerback early and often.
Ahkello Witherspoon replaced Allen in the second quarter, but the damage had been done, as the Dolphins rolled 43-17 at Levi's Stadium. For that, NBC Sports Bay Area analysts Donte Whitner and Jeff Garcia lay the blame on one person -- and it's not Allen.
“I’m putting it on the defensive coordinator, Robert Saleh,” Whitner told Garcia and Laura Britt on "49ers Halftime Live" on Twitter. “You understand that this guy was just on the practice squad yesterday, you’re going up against their No. 1 and No. 2 wide receivers, who are 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-5.
"They have 15 yards rushing, [so] why are you still in single-high? Why are you playing Cover 3? You don’t have [Nick] Bosa there to get you a four-man rush, [so] why are you continuing to play this coverage? Help this guy out.
“It is a practice-squad player covering DeVante Parker, who was the No. 5 receiver in the National Football League last year. How many times does he have to beat you over the top, before you play Cover 2, Cover 5 or get this guy some help?”
The 49ers’ secondary was banged up coming into Week 5, with Richard Sherman, Emmanuel Moseley and K’Waun Williams all ruled out with injuries. Witherspoon missed the 49ers’ last two games, but he was active Sunday, and Saleh elected to start Allen instead.
Garcia questioned why Witherspoon wasn’t out there to start if he was healthy enough to play.
“To me, that just is a guy who doesn’t want to play as well,” Garcia said. “If you’re healthy enough, you were a starter last year for this team. But you’re going to let a guy who comes from the practice squad [play], but you’ll suit up and now you’re in the game?”
There will be plenty of blame to go around after this effort, as this certainly wasn’t how the 49ers expected Week 5 to turn out.