There were several plays that Jimmy Garoppolo wanted back from the 49ers' 24-20 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, but two stood out the most.
With 1:21 left in the game, the 49ers had a first down on the Cardinals' 21-yard line. Garoppolo took the snap from the shotgun and lofted the ball to the corner of the end zone to wide-open Kendrick Bourne.
But the ball was thrown short with a little too much air under it, failing to reach Bourne before Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson.
Coach Kyle Shanahan knows the incompletion was costly but sees a lesson from the lost opportunity.
“They weren’t perfect passes,” Shanahan said Monday. “[Bourne] did get by him, you guys all saw it. It would have been nice if Bourne would have gone up for it. I think he would have gotten the [pass interference]. That’s something he will learn from that.”
On the ensuing fourth down, Garoppolo targeted receiver Trent Taylor. Garoppolo threw again from the shotgun, but his pass seemed short of Taylor, who was just past the sticks.
The 49ers turned the ball over on downs and the Cardinals ran out the game's remaining 33 seconds.
“The one to Trent, their timing was a little off on it,” Shanahan said. “He did a little extra move at the top, and Jimmy hesitated just a little bit and tried to recover with his arm and left it a little behind him. Just got to get better there.”
Shanahan didn’t throw his quarterback under the bus a day after Garoppolo completed 19 off 33 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns. But the coach acknowledged both incomplete passes could've been better throws.
“You underthrow a ball and it makes it not perfect, so the receiver has to go up and make a play and they didn’t,” Shanahan said. “There’s nothing more to it. He underthrew it just a hair on both of them. Guys still had chances, but it would have been a really good play if they had made it.”
Garoppolo and his receivers will work on their timing in the week ahead as they prepare for back-to-back games in New Jersey against the New York Jets and Giants, respectively. The 49ers hope to have rookie Brandon Aiyuk back in the mix to bolster a group of wide receivers that caught just four of their 11 targets for 41 yards on Sunday.