SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers' season-opening 24-20 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday felt oddly like the last time their 2019 season-ending loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.
The offense sputtered after a hot start, and exactly when production was needed most. The defense failed to hang on to a fourth-quarter lead.
Jimmy Garoppolo struggled again, too. The quarterback threw to a depleted group of wide receivers this time around, which managed just four catches for 41 yards. Garoppolo's total statistics looked productive, as he threw completed 19 of 33 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns, but those numbers don't tell the whole story.
Subtract Raheem Mostert's 76-yard TD reception, and Garoppolo's stats look pedestrian. Garoppolo also missed important throws to Kendrick Bourne and Trent Taylor in the fourth quarter, both of which he'd like to have back.
“I don’t think we got into a very good rhythm,” Garoppolo said. “One drive would be great, one drive would be not so good. [Consistency] is what wins games in the NFL. The more consistent you can be, starting with myself, it’s just going to make everything a lot easier.”
The 49ers only converted two of their 11 third downs. Three of their 11 drives were three-and-outs and only two drives lasted at least 10 plays. Garoppolo put much of the 49ers' onus to improve on himself.
“Personally just the consistency, making every drive as perfect as we possibly can,” Garoppolo said. “You just want to eliminate errors is what it comes down to. To be on the same page and see the same picture.”
Garoppolo didn't seem flustered or panicked after the loss, knowing that it was only the first game of the season. He will be his own worst critic later this week while reviewing the game film, knowing he left points out on the field Sunday.
“You got to take it for what it is, look at the film, be hard on yourself like we always are and move on. Garoppolo said. “Got to use the 24-hour rule.”