Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Maiocco criticizes 49ers coaching decisions after ‘horrendous’ showing vs. Dolphins

Oct 11, 2020 at 11:09 PM--

Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area criticized the San Francisco 49ers coaching staff after the team's embarrassing 43-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Even with several offensive weapons back in the lineup, the Niners looked nothing like the team that just eight months ago played for a Super Bowl championship. They own a 2-3 record, and their hopes of returning to the big game seem to diminish more with each passing week.

"I just try to hold us all accountable. Know it starts with me," head coach Kyle Shanahan said after the loss.

It sounds like Maiocco agrees. He didn't blame the players. Instead, he blamed the coaching staff that made some seemingly questionable personnel decisions.

The longtime 49ers beat writer questioned the decision to play Jimmy Garoppolo when the quarterback was limited during two of three practices this week and clearly wasn't ready to return from the high-ankle sprain he suffered during Week 2. Garoppolo completed just seven of his 17 pass attempts for 77 yards and two very poorly thrown interceptions during his half of play.

"If at halftime, you determine that he's not good enough or he can't protect himself, why was he starting this game?" Maiocco asked. "He didn't make it through a complete practice on Wednesday or Thursday. Why was he out there playing if he couldn't protect himself? Then that became apparent in the first half of this game."

The 49ers activated Brian Allen from the practice squad on Saturday. It was a shock to see him start against the Dolphins when most assumed he was elevated to provide some depth to an injury-depleted secondary.

"As for Brian Allen, none of us even knew who Brian Allen was before he ended up in the starting lineup," Maiocco said. "A lot of people are going to be criticizing Brian Allen. Don't criticize Brian Allen. Criticize the people who put Brian Allen into that position. It was a no-win position for him.

"Up from the practice squad on Saturday, in the starting lineup. Of course the Dolphins are going to go after him. And if Ahkello Witherspoon is healthy enough to suit up for the game, why wasn't he in the starting lineup?

"There were so many things about this game that absolutely made no sense from a coaching standpoint, from a playing standpoint, from every standpoint. The 49ers looked like a disorganized, horrendous football team."

After the game, Shanahan explained why Allen started over Witherspoon and stayed in the lineup despite his early struggles.

"Ahkello, he tried to go this week," Shanahan said, "but he was too tight to go throughout practice this week. Because of our low numbers, we still dressed him for emergency. So we were trying to hold out, see how long we could go through with that, and when Ahkello came up to us on the sideline and said he wanted to go and wanted a shot, it gave us a little more confidence with his hamstring."

The coach expressed relief that Witherspoon didn't suffer further injury and was able to play for so long.

The worst part of the situation is that these first five games were the easy part of the 49ers' schedule. The team emerged with just two wins — none at home — and now enters a much more difficult stretch, starting with a game against the Los Angeles Rams next weekend.

H/t to @TheSFNiners for the find.

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