The 49ers’ failures were widespread in their 25-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night.
The 49ers rolled up 417 yards of total offense and limited the Eagles to just 267 yards. Turnovers killed the 49ers. One giveaway eliminated a certain scoring opportunity in the first half. Two other turnovers handed Philadelphia 14 decisive fourth-quarter points.
In this edition of 49ers Overreactions, we lead off with a key member of the team’s offensive line -- a unit that finds itself over as much heat as the Eagles’ pass rush generated Sunday night.
Trent Williams, Laken Tomlinson and Daniel Brunskill struggled in the 49ers’ Week 4 loss. But most of the scrutiny from 49ers’ fans seems to be directed at the team’s third-year right tackle.
Let's take a closer look ...
Mike McGlinchey, whom the 49ers selected with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2018 draft, has to improve his consistency in pass protection. No question.
But McGlinchey is among the best run-blockers in the game. And that effectiveness should not be simply glossed over.
McGlinchey executed great down-field blocks after creating deception at the line of scrimmage at the beginnings of both of Brandon Aiyuk’s touchdown runs in the past two weeks.
Coach Kyle Shanahan puts a lot on the plates of his offensive linemen to sell one play at the snap before getting out to finish a different assignment. McGlinchey has been very good in that phase of the game.
In pass protection, McGlinchey has allowed 10 total quarterback pressures in four games, according to Pro Football Focus. He has not allowed a sack, but he’s given up six hits and four hurries.
McGlinchey struggled late in the game on Sunday night when the 49ers had one last chance to pull out the victory. On back-to-back plays, edge rushers Genard Avery and Brandon Graham beat him rather badly to get hits on C.J. Beathard to force incomplete passes.
I agree with Kyle Shanahan’s measured assessment of McGlinchey after he studied the entire game tape.
“Mike's played at a high level here for two years,” Shanahan said, “and I think there's a lot of parts of Mike's game that he’s a lot better at this year than he has been in the past. You get towards the end of the game there and the two-minute situations and he had some bad-looking plays, which stick out. That’s part of being an O-lineman, but by no means do I think he's had a step back.”
Let’s take a step back to the 2018 draft.
My guesses, based on information I learned after the draft, are the next players on the 49ers’ draft board were linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and safety Derwin James. They were chosen at Nos. 16 (Buffalo) and 17 (L.A. Chargers).
Both have been to Pro Bowls. James is a phenomenal talent, as he showed his rookie season, but has been injured the past two seasons. So, obviously, there are risks and unforeseen circumstances that impact the productivity of all players.
Part of this question, however, is whether McGlinchey was a bad pick. I do not believe he was a bad pick. The player chosen after him, Josh Rosen, was a bad pick for the Arizona Cardinals.
Could the 49ers have done better? Yes, they could have gotten a better, more-impactful player at another position.
But that would have created another set of unknowns and issues with the offensive line, too.
Editor's Note: This was written before the 49ers released Mohamed Sanu on Tuesday.
The 49ers have six wide receivers on their 53-man roster. Richie James is likely to return to practice this week and could be activated for game action as early as Sunday to be available to face the Miami Dolphins.
It seems unlikely the 49ers would keep seven receivers on their roster, and Pettis is at the bottom of the depth chart.
After all, newly signed veteran Mohamed Sanu saw action ahead of Pettis on Sunday night. And there is no question Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Kendrick Bourne and Trent Taylor also rank above Pettis.
Moreover, Pettis has not shown anything on special teams. And, now, he is experiencing knee soreness after Sunday's game.
Depending on the severity of Pettis' knee, the 49ers could place him on injured reserve, which would sideline him for three games.
Or the team could just waive him to create room for James. It seems unlikely another team would claim him for their roster. So my recommendation to the 49ers would be to waive him and re-sign him to the practice squad for insurance.
Overreaction? Yes and no.
The 49ers’ season is not over.
But it just got a whole lot more challenging with the losses to the Cardinals and Eagles in the first four weeks of the season.
But, yes, Bosa is/was the key to the 49ers’ defense.
And it’s not only the season-long loss of Bosa to a torn ACL. It’s the uncertainty around Dee Ford’s back condition. Bosa proved how much an edge rusher can impact a game and a season. So his absence will be difficult to overcome.
On the surface, a 2-2 record to open the season is not insurmountable, of course.
But the 49ers made things a lot more difficult on themselves to earn a spot in the playoffs. If you look at the 49ers’ schedule, their six “easiest” games were their first five, as well as Week 14 against Washington.
If the 49ers had gone 6-0 in those games, then all they would have required was a 5-5 or 4-6 record in their difficult games to secure a playoff spot.
Now, even if the 49ers win against Miami and Washington, they would likely have to go 6-4 in their other games against Seattle (twice), L.A. Rams (twice), at Arizona, at New England, vs. Green Bay, at New Orleans, vs. Buffalo, and at Dallas.
And that will not be easy.