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49ers’ mistakes lead to third straight loss: Quick observations

Marc Adams
Oct 30, 2023 at 5:44 AM--

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Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, and Ronnie Lott were in the building and you lose to the Bengals? I'd be embarrassed if I was a member of the San Francisco 49ers, who after dropping their third consecutive game, head into the bye week before traveling east to play a good Jacksonville Jaguars team. There's a real chance they could lose four in a row.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. We need to wallow in the pain of a home game beat down first. The Cincinnati Bengals came to Levi's Stadium, on a day the 49ers were celebrating their two Super Bowl victories over the Bengals, and dominated San Francisco 31-17.

First, the Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings steal the 49ers' boom box entrance. Then the Bengals spoil their beating the Bengals in the Super Bowl celebration. The 49ers were the bullies of the NFL. Now they're being bullied.

Here are my thoughts from the game:

  • The 49ers defense started off like it looked in Minnesota—bad.

  • Did Nick Bosa retire? He's making very little impact. Are offenses even having to gameplan for him anymore?

  • Christian McCaffrey. Professional touchdown scorer. That's 17 straight games with a touchdown.
  • I'm old enough to remember when the 49ers defense could stop the run. Now they can't stop anything. Not Joe Borrow passing. Not Ja'Marr Chase catching. Not Burrow running. Nothing.

  • I'd rather see Brock Purdy slide as opposed to diving head first. Especially less than one week after suffering a concussion. And why did he stay in the game after his head hit the turf in the 4th quarter?
  • Ambry Thomas even makes bad plays on special teams.
  • Talanoa Hufanga has forgotten how to tackle.
  • Isaiah Oliver sure knows how to tackle, though. He was the 49ers' best player on defense (from a tackling standpoint).
  • I like seeing McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell in the backfield at the same time. Not that it helped much, but I still like the idea.
  • Oliver got called for misuse of his helmet, but somehow the face mask on Purdy was missed.
  • Why is Brandon Aiyuk suddenly dropping passes? He actually had one go off of his facemask.
  • Where has the 49ers run game gone? I wonder if it's the same place the 49ers pass rush has gone.
  • Some big first-half mistakes put the 49ers behind at the half, and they never held the lead. A big drop by Aiyuk, a missed sack by Bosa and Arik Armstead, missed tackles by Hufanga, and a dropped interception by Oliver were all big.
  • What was that play with the first Purdy interception? What a disaster.

  • Mistakes have killed the 49ers in the past three weeks.

  • Nice halftime adjustment by Steve Wilks. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough, and the defense still had issues stopping Borrow and the Bengals offense.
  • Two bad interceptions by Purdy that cost the 49ers 14 points. That was very Jimmy Garoppolo-like. The only difference is that Purdy is still a very young player.

  • Three bad games in a row for Purdy. Three turnovers in this game, and he had another interception get called back because of a roughing the passer penalty.

  • Too many dropped passes. George Kittle dropping some of his own.
  • The way Purdy manipulated the linebacker on the second McCaffrey touchdown was impressive. Sadly, it didn't work on the interception.

  • No one needs this bye more than Dre Greenlaw. He's struggled to get off the ground on just about every play.
  • The 49ers' strengths have become their weaknesses. The lack of run game and pass rush has been key in this three-game slide.
  • Jaylon Moore played well last week. He did not this week.

This was just an all-around ugly performance by the 49ers. I know Purdy had the turnovers, but he was really good for most of the game. I'm not too concerned about him. He's still a young player. But I am concerned about the defense. I'm worried that it's more than just a quick fix and is something that a big trade deadline acquisition can't help.

Then again, we've seen the 49ers look bad in October before. Last season, the 49ers were 3-2 in October, after going 1-2 in September. They finished October 4-4. In 2021, the 49ers were 1-3 in October. That team finished October 3-4. Both teams would make it all the way to the NFC Championship Game.

It's been ugly. But it's too early to call it a season.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

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