NASHVILLE, Tenn. — There were several moments where the 49ers were not on the same page in Tennessee, and at times they might have even been reading different books.
In the 49ers' 20-17 loss to the Titans, miscues on the offense led to a lack of conversions and multiple turnovers by Jimmy Garoppolo and Co. The offense got off to a quick start with a nine-play 75-yard drive that ended in a touchdown but inconsistency ended up taking its toll on Kyle Shanahan’s group.
Garoppolo and the offense were firing on all cylinders until the final play of their second drive when the quarterback went for George Kittle in the end zone. Titans' Jackrabbit Jenkins read the play and ended up with the first turnover of the game.
“Corner made a good play,” Kittle said. “Didn’t go with the corner at all, had outside leverage and he just made a play on the ball. It was just a miss by both of us.”
Garoppolo explained why he will still go to Kittle in red-zone situations but agreed with his tight end that they were not in sync on the play.
“We had it, it was tough,” Garoppolo said. “Just me and George not being on the same page. Just got to get it right. Get that one completed. It should have been a touchdown. The corner played it pretty well.
“We should have had a touchdown down there. We had an opportunity. Whenever you get a one-on-one with George in the red zone I’ll take that any day of the week and I’m not going to stop going to him.”
While there might have been miscommunication on the pass intended for Kittle, Garoppolo’s second pick of the game was one that Shanahan was less forgiving of.
“Our first play of the third quarter on offense was a pick,” Shanahan said. “That was a real bad one, shouldn’t have thrown that. It was a bad play. No one was open on the play, just have to take it.”
On the second drive of the second half, the offense was moving the ball and Shanahan decided to go for it on a 4th-and-6. Brandon Aiyuk was open in the flat but the ball fell incomplete after what appeared to be another miscommunication between Garoppolo and his receiver.
“You run a shallow cross, and you run it versus man or zone, everyone has to be on the same page,” Shanahan said. “You have to be decisive whether you sit down or not. He was a little in between and Jimmy was a little in between on the throw. Those two got to make that together.”
Garoppolo explained the miscue between him and Aiyuk on the play.
“I thought he was going to keep going,” Garoppolo said. “I kind of lost him behind one of the linemen, we couldn’t even see each other when I was throwing it. We were just on a different page. I thought he was going to keep going and he thought he was going to sit.”
Kittle explained after the game that there was a collection of mistakes and bad plays that allowed the game to slip away from them. Ultimately the team as a whole was not able to make the plays they needed in key situations and the price was leaving Nashville with a loss.
“Our best was needed tonight and our best players did not play our best game,” Kittle said. “As an offense, we have to not make mistakes. False starts are tough. We need to put ourselves in a position to win which we obviously didn’t do.”