placeholder image

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

49ers not blaming defensive injuries for loss to Falcons

Oct 16, 2022 at 3:05 PM--

Videos are auto-populated by an affiliate. This site has no control over the videos that appear above.
It's tempting to point at the fact the 49ers were without over half of their starters on defense as the main reason they fell 28-14 to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, but the team wasn't interested in going that route following the game.

The 49ers were without defensive linemen Nick Bosa (groin), Javon Kinlaw (knee), and Arik Armstead (foot), as well as linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair (knee), safety Jimmie Ward (hand), and cornerback Emmanuel Moseley (knee). On top of that, cornerback Charvarius Ward left the game due to a groin injury. There's no question those absences made a difference, but the 49ers cited a number of other reasons for their loss, starting with missed opportunities on both sides of the ball to set the game on a different path.

"I think we had our chances to overcome," head coach Kyle Shanahan said Sunday. "We made it harder on ourselves. I'm not taking anything away from them. Yeah, that's a big deal missing those people, but we had every chance to still pull that off."

The 49ers needed to step up on offense due to the defense having so many players sidelined, but their performance turned out to be inconsistent throughout the game. There were two touchdown drives produced by the offense along with 346 total yards and 21 first downs, but there were also three turnovers and some costly dropped passes and penalties.

"I thought we had opportunities all day," quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. "I thought we had a lot of opportunities. We just didn't take advantage of them. It was self-inflicted wounds really. Guys making mistakes, and it wasn't just one guy or one position. It starts with myself, and I think we just kind of one after another kept making mistakes. When you do that, it adds up to a game like this."

On defense the 49ers had difficulty stopping the Falcons on the ground, allowing 168 yards on 40 carries. The Falcons were also able to dominate time of possession (33:25 to 26:35) while converting nine of 14 chances on third downs. Linebacker Fred Warner said the defense knew what the Falcons were going to throw at them but didn't do a good enough job of doing what needed to be done to stop it.

"We knew exactly what they were going to do," Warner said. "That was the challenge for us on defense was to stop the run and to dictate that. But I've got to give them props for dictating the entire game in the run game. We were getting knocked back, me included, and we've just got to be better up front in the front seven."

Warner admitted that he would have preferred to have the defense at full strength, but he also put some blame on himself for the players who were on the field not performing at the level the team expects.

"It does suck," Warner said. "You wish you have your guys out there, but at the same time, I feel like for me, I put a lot of pressure on myself in the fact that I command the defense. I'm the one who should get all eleven lined up at all times regardless of who's out there, and everybody else who's coming into the game, they've got to be ready to go no matter what. It's all about being prepared. Regardless of the circumstance, whoever's out there we've got to make sure we're playing to our standard."

Tight end George Kittle had a different take. While Garoppolo, Shanahan and Warner pointed at execution, Kittle questioned whether or not every player performed at the level of intensity the 49ers call for on every play.

"You could use (injuries) as an excuse but we're the San Francisco 49ers," Kittle said. "We have a standard that we play at. We play at a very high level, a lot of energy, 100 percent effort on every single play. I haven't watched the tape yet, but I don't know that we gave that today at every single position. We had a lot of young guys play. We're missing a lot of guys. We've just got to make sure we're playing at that level every single snap or that's going to happen, especially when you are down guys."

Things will likely get more difficult for the 49ers next Sunday when they host a high-powered offensive team in the Kansas City Chiefs. It's possible they'll be healthier on defense in that game than they were against the Falcons, but they'll still have multiple players who won't be available next Sunday. The 49ers have had more than their share of injuries over the last few seasons and have grown all too familiar with having to make injury-related adjustments, but they'll have to find better results with it than they did against the Falcons to avoid a similar fate against the Chiefs.

"The five years I've been here, this isn't anything new. I've seen it," Warner said. "At some point you've got to adjust and guys have got to be ready to go no matter the situation. We've got to find ways to win regardless of the circumstance."

Related News

Facebook Comments

More San Francisco 49ers News

placeholder image

How John Lynch's input shaped 49ers' defensive strategy against DK Metcalf

By David Bonilla
Dec 1

The San Francisco 49ers faced a tight schedule leading up to their Thursday night NFC West clash with the Seattle Seahawks. Despite the challenges, the defense successfully contained Seattle's main offensive threat, wide receiver DK Metcalf, limiting him to three catches for 32 yards on nine targets while primarily covered by cornerback Charvarius Ward. Ward's impressive performance held the 6-foot-4 wideout in check, allowing only one catch for 14 yards when matched against him. After the 31-13 victory, Ward revealed that the initial game plan didn't have him concentrating so heavily on Metcalf. This adjustment came late, but Ward embraced the

placeholder image

Ambry Thomas showing 49ers there's "not that many out there better than me"

By David Bonilla
Dec 3

The San Francisco 49ers' defense delivered an impressive performance in Sunday's 42-19 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite reportedly exploring options for another starting-caliber cornerback before the October trade deadline, the team ultimately stuck with Charvarius Ward and Ambry Thomas on the outside. Thomas playing outside has allowed Deommodore Lenoir to move to the slot corner spot. Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks seems to have found a recipe for success. Thomas has been impressive in recent weeks, earning his highest-ever overall Pro Football Focus grade (90.2) on Thanksgiving night against the Seattle Seahawks. We'll have to wait until Monday morning to learn how his performance against the Eagles compares, but it's evident that Thomas is

placeholder image

49ers 'not surprised anymore' by Brock Purdy's MVP-like performances

By David Bonilla
Dec 5

Last season, it was probably easy to look at Brock Purdy's early starts and be shocked by the rookie quarterback's ability to step in and play like a veteran. Then, as he turned in impressive performance after impressive performance, his San Francisco 49ers teammates became less surprised. Everyone was forced to acknowledge that Purdy could play in the NFL and do so at a high level. As the last overall pick in the draft, a player passed on multiple times by every team, including the 49ers, Purdy has defied expectations. Purdy entered this season as the starting quarterback despite coming off surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) he suffered in the NFC Championship Game. The 49ers quarterback has been playing at an elite level this season,

placeholder image

Dre Greenlaw discusses ejection from 49ers-Eagles: "I'm not a dirty player"

By David Bonilla
Dec 6

The NFL has not contacted Dre Greenlaw regarding the San Francisco 49ers linebacker's ejection from Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Both Greenlaw and the Eagles' head of security, Dom DiSandro, were forced to leave the field after engaging in a minor sideline scuffle. Debate surrounds the incident, with most understanding why DiSandro was forced to leave. However, many question the decision to eject Greenlaw, considering DiSandro shouldn't have been in the mix in the first place. Dre Greenlaw was called for a personal foul after this interaction with Eagles security staffer Dom DiSandro. Both were ejected


Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone