Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan breaks down the 49ers’ thinking that left the Packers with time on the clock

Rohan Chakravarthi
Sep 27, 2021 at 4:40 PM--

On Sunday night, the San Francisco 49ers trailed the Green Bay Packers for practically the entire game, as the Packers held the lead until 37 seconds were left in the game.

To gain the lead, Jimmy Garoppolo threw a checkdown to fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who muscled forward for 12 yards and the touchdown. As soon as the score happened, the immediate focus went to whether the 49ers left too much time on the clock for Aaron Rodgers, aaaaaand they did.

Rodgers came back, firing two passes to Davante Adams to get the Packers into field goal range, allowing Mason Crosby to kick the 51-yard field goal and win the game 30-28 for Green Bay.

When asked about the 49ers last drive, Kyle Shanahan acknowledged that the plan was to keep the ball until the end of the game, rather than scoring and giving Rodgers the ball.

"That's why we worked really hard not using any timeouts on that entire drive," Shanahan said this afternoon on a conference call. "We wanted to run it down. No one wants to give it back to Aaron. I'm also not going to tell Juice to not try and score. You try to dictate that with some play calling. That's why we had a choice route called, which is a five-yard in-route or out-route based off of leverage by [Mohamed] Sanu. And if he's not open, you're just going to go hit it to Juice on your checkdown."

Shanahan directed the play call to get inside the ten-yard line with fewer than thirty seconds left to have full control of the clock, but Juszczyk fought through defenders for the touchdown off of the checkdown.

"Usually, checkdowns at their best are about a five-yard gain, but Juice ran a hell of a checkdown, and then ran over two people to score," Shanahan explained. "We had three timeouts, so I'm not telling Jimmy [Garoppolo] to run it down yet. You want to get that under 30 seconds and inside the 10-yard line, and then you can control it with your own three timeouts.

"But the only other option would have been to tell Juice not to score, which is something that you wouldn't do. I mean, it took us seven plays in the second quarter to score from inside the 11. Five plays from the one to score. So you want to make sure you get those plays and everything, but we definitely weren't expecting to score on that play."

The loss puts the 49ers at 2-1 on the season as they are in line for a matchup with the Seattle Seahawks next weekend at Levi's Stadium. They follow that matchup with another division opponent in the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium in Week 5 before their bye week in Week 6.

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