Kyle Shanahan explains why 49ers passed on late fourth-and-1 vs. Ravens

Kyle Shanahan explains why 49ers passed on late fourth-and-1 vs. Ravens

BALTIMORE — Midway through the third quarter of the 49ers' 20-17 loss to the Ravens, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo carried the ball up the middle for a first down on third-and-1.

At nearly the same point in the fourth quarter, with a yard to go on fourth down, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan elected to pass.

Garoppolo’s attempt, intended for George Kittle, was batted down by Chris Wormley, and the 49ers turned over the ball on downs. The Ravens took over at their 35-yard line with 6:33 remaining, drove down the field and kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired.

So, why not go for the quarterback sneak again after having success with Garoppolo? Shanahan said it’s just not that easy. 

“Just because of what they do in that situation,” Shanahan said. “Same reason we did it earlier on fourth-and-1. They just put too many people in there, too many in there that you can’t block. That’s what we’ve seen all year on them, and that’s what they did there, too." 

When Garoppolo took the snap from the shotgun, there were more than a couple of raised eyebrows. The 49ers' offense was averaging 6 yards per carry, but Shanahan still stands by his choice on that final fourth down.

The pass play that the 49ers ran wasn’t Shanahan’s original choice. He adjusted the call during the timeout, but even if he had it to do over again, he still would have called a pass. 

“I didn’t mind the decision at all not running, but I wished I called a better pass play,” Shanahan said. “We changed it. We didn’t like the look we had out there.”

Shanahan also said there was no option for Robbie Gould to attempt a field goal from that distance, mostly because of the conditions. At that point in the game, Gould would have been kicking into the wind and rain. The call was going to be either a pass or a punt.

[RELATED: Shanahan explains his end-of-half strategy]

“Different stuff they do in those situations,” Shanahan said. “Third-and-1 wasn’t the same looks that they had. We saw it on the original fourth-and-1. They just committed everyone in there, and it’s extremely hard. We also thought it was a full yard, so it’s not always great to sneak it. 

“But definitely when they have people in there and safeties and they’re gapping it out. They best thing was for us to throw, but definitely could have come up with a better pass play.”

Jimmy Garoppolo 'really good' but not elite, analyst Chris Simms says

Jimmy Garoppolo 'really good' but not elite, analyst Chris Simms says

Is your quarterback elite? Well, if you're a fan of the 49ers then no -- at least according to Chris Simms.

The NBC Sports football analyst couldn't confidently put Jimmy Garoppolo in the elite category, but still had plenty of praise toward him, especially knowing he plans on leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl.

"I think there's some quarterbacks in football right now: Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, DeShaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes -- they kind of stand alone," Simms said.

After that handful of quarterbacks, Simms highlights a group of "good," a squad that he considers Jimmy G to be a part of. Plus, Garoppolo has a lot of "good" surrounding him.

The elite talents of tight end George Kittle are something that shouldn't be argued -- unless you're not sure if he's a decent blocker or not. Ahem, Doug Gottlieb.

"That's all you need to win a Super Bowl," Simms added.

The consensus around Jimmy G's eliteness is that he's not elite, but he's not bad, but he's good enough.

[RELATED: NFC offensive consultant on Jimmy G's eliteness

Got all of that?

His throwing abilities have been talked about, but once again the word "elite" was not mentioned.

49ers tackle Joe Staley doesn't have looming retirement on his mind


49ers tackle Joe Staley doesn't have looming retirement on his mind

A lot of times for athletes, it's not up to them whether or not they want to retire -- it's up to their body. For 49ers tackle Joe Staley, it's really no different.

"I like to think that I can continue to play football for as long as they'll have me," Staley said in an interview with 95.7 The Game on Thursday. "And that's my mindset. I've never thought about when an end is going to be."

The 35-year-old signed a two-year contract extension with San Francisco in June which ultimately means he could spend the entirety of his NFL career as a member of the 49ers. And while that seems like a long time, he's still soaking up the everyday grind of his job even with the setbacks he's faced this season.

"The challenges of this season have been different than seasons past," he said. "I love the adverse situations and you kind of learn a lot about yourself -- how you respond and challenge yourself daily with different goals ... "

Staley sustained a fractured left fibula earlier in the season during the Week 2 matchup against the Bengals and with a smile tried to remain positive but admitted: "it sucks." He was emotional after the injury but said that had a lot to do with how special the team was and the guys he was surrounded by.

Still, you can't fake the passion the six-time Pro Bowler brings to the 49ers and it appears you would have to pry the game away from his hands if you anticipate him hanging up his cleats any time soon.

[RELATED: How Jimmy G can enter record books in 49ers-Falcons]

"That love for the game is still there, burning," Staley said.

He finished the statement saying he doesn't have an honest answer as to just how much football is left in his body, but it's not something he's concentrating on at the moment.