On Sunday, the 49ers dropped another game, this time in embarrassing fashion, to the Los Angeles Rams 39-10. With the loss of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and a 1-6 start, the NFL flexed out this would-be Sunday night game to an afternoon slot on CBS. With the Rams up four scores, CBS then flexed the game out for a much more competitive game. The embarrassing part is all of this happened on a weekend during which the 49ers were honoring the memory and legacy of Dwight Clark and "The Catch" made famous in the 1981 NFC Championship game.

In what is becoming the norm around Santa Clara, the 49ers lost two of three fumbles, and quarterback C.J. Beathard threw two more interceptions, for a total of four giveaways. The 49ers are -15 in the turnover differential this season so far. On the day, Beathard finished 15-27, 170 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, and took seven sacks.

After the loss, Shanahan said:

"It's inexcusable. It's impossible to win in this league when you turn the ball over like we are… He's got to do better, I've got to do better and we've got to do better around him."

In effect, this was a total team loss.

One aspect of that team loss was the seven sacks that Beathard took. At least four sacks turned potential third down conversions into punting situations, two happened on first downs that put them in second and then third and long situations to convert, and one took them out of field goal range early in the game.

Let's look at the sacks and determine what went wrong and where the blame lies.

First sack: 1st quarter, 2nd and 16 at the SF 45, 10:07

The game started out on a positive note with the defense getting a quick three-and-out against the high-powered Rams offense. A Rams punt and subsequent return gave the 49ers the ball at their own 30 yard line. An opening drive touchdown would make a huge statement. It was not meant to be.



After moving the ball to midfield in five plays, the 49ers faced a second-and-16 from their own 45 yard line thanks to a false start penalty. The 49ers line up in a "pistol pro weak" formation with the tight end aligned on the line opposite of the fullback. The passing concept gives Beathard a high-low read with a deep crossing route by tight end George Kittle (No. 85) and a shallow drag route by Richie James Jr (No. 13).

As Beathard drops back to throw, he sort of meanders around at the top of his drop and doesn't really feel the pressure until it's too late. Nose tackle Ndamukong Suh (No. 93) rushes the A-gap to the left of center Weston Richburg (No. 58), pushes him into the backfield, and is able to disrutpt Beathard's attempt to step up in the pocket. At the same time, defensive tackle Michael Brockers ruhsing the B-gap to the right of right guard Mike Person (No. 68) beats Person's block with a swim move, causing Person's weight to shift and as a result he never recovers. Brockers loses his footing but is able to grab Beathard's ankle as he tries to break the pocket.

Rookie right tackle Mike McGlinchey holds strong for as long as he can versus outside linebacker Samson Ebukam (No. 50) but Ebukam eventually sheds McGlichey when he sees Beathard step-up into a running lane. He hits Beathard from behind and strips the ball, which then lands in the hands of Trevon Young (No. 48).

While we can place some blame on the blocking of the offensive line to his right, it is Beathard's inability to feel and recognize the rush that ultimately dooms the play. While the interior of the line was able to disrupt Beathard's rhythm, it would not have been able to do so if Beathard had not been so slow to recognize the rush. As soon as he hits the top of his drop, he then needs to hitch or shuffle up into the pocket to give himself a better throwing platform and one that isn't easily disrupted. This sack is primarily on him.

Second sack: 1st quarter, 3rd and 11 at the LA 27, 3:32

The second sack happened later in the first quarter as the 49ers were putting together a decent drive to get into scoring position inside Rams territory after gains of 15, 23, and 11 yards by running back Raheem Mostert.



Two passes, one for a one yard loss, and another incompletion, set up a third-and-11 situation for the offense. In a "gun far trips bunch left" formation, the play call gives Beathard a "levels" route concept over the middle at two different depths depending on the coverage. The Rams send a "green dog" blitz by linebacker Corey Littleton (No. 58) where he rushes the quarterback after he sees fullback Kyle Juszczyk (No. 44) stay in to pass block.

Juszczyk should be looking for the blitz threat from the B-gap inside out to the edge. There was no threat from the edge so he should've went straight for the B-gap. Littleton did a good job of disguising his blitz from behind a "stack" look and blitzed the open B-gap when his man coverage assignment stayed in to block. Defensive end John Franklin-Meyers (No. 94) rushes the outside shoulder of McGlinchey so McGlinchey never slides over to pick up Littleton either.

Beathard drops back on a short drop back and looks immediately over the middle at the shallow dig route by Kittle. By this time, Littleton is running free through the B-gap and Beathard sees it too late. Juszczyk also sees it and slips trying to get back over to make a block.

Beathard could've recognized this sooner and dumped the ball off to Kittle but it was a fast developing play. He has to recognize that he's going to take a hit on some throws like this but this cannot be placed at his feet. The pass protection is the primary culprit here as they failed to recognize their blocking assignments. Instead of being in field goal range, the sack was an 11-yard loss and they were forced to punt instead.

Third sack: 2nd quarter, 3rd and 13 at the SF 22, 13:40

The third sack occurred on a third down and long inside 49ers territory after Beathard fumbled the first down snap and overthrew Kittle down the right sideline. The drive was doomed from the start.

Out of a "gun far doubles" formation, the route concept is "spacing" and gives Beathard a trio of options to find an open receiver because it pulls defenders laterally away from each receiver. Pierre Garçon angles over the middle at a depth of about six yards, Juszczyk runs a curl route out of the backfield, and Kittle runs a deep dig or curl route over the middle between the two shallow routes.



The Rams drop seven into coverage under a quarters coverage shell and cover every spot on the field as Beathard drops back to scan. He recognized right away that the deep middle route by Kittle was bracketed and scans underneath. However, Donald slants across to the A-gap and pushes Richburg into the backfield into Beathard's lap.

There's a moment there when Beathard needed to recognize the rush from the inside and step up into the pocket in the open gap and try to make a play. However, having no internal clock, he doesn't even feel Richburg being pushed into his lap and as he steps up to throw, he has to pull it back down as Richburg knocks him over due to Donald's rush.

On the ensuing 4th down punt with Bradley Pinion backed up on his own goal line, the Rams rush overwhelms the blocking on the right side and breaks through to block the punt. The ball goes out the back of the end zone giving the Rams the safety as they failed to control it. The Rams would add a field goal on the drive following the safety kick.

Fourth sack: 3rd quarter, 1st and 10 at the SF 25, 15:00

The second half began with a bang and gave fans very little hope that any meaningful adjustments were made to overcome the Rams pass rush. On very first play of the third quarter on first-and-10, Beathard again took a sack in which he failed to even attempt to climb the pocket.



Out of 21 personnel, the 49ers are running a deep dig route to the right across the middle of the field, a deep out route from Kittle from the left in the slot, and a go-route from Marquise Goodwin (No. 11) split out wide left. The Rams again show a cover two coverage shell that morphs into a cover three "buzz/mable" and only rush four from their base 3-4 defense.

Beathard drops back in the pocket on a seven step drop looking for the deep dig over the middle against the "mable" man coverage on Garçon at the top of the screen. McGlinchey has the unfortunate luck of having to deal with Aaron Donald (No. 99) in pass protection and does himself no favors as his kick step on his vertical set takes him too shallow to deal with the speed rush from Donald.

McGlinchey has a hard time recovering as Donald goes wide around, slaps his hands away and drives through McGlinchey from his very proficient power position (spine and hips stay over the knees). Beathard again does not feel the rush from the right and creates very little pocket space for himself as he looks to throw.

He has a small crease he could've stepped up into to either escape or give himself a better throwing lane but he chooses neither of these and ends up on the ground. He also had a lane to the outside on the left he could've escaped from.

The sack by Donald puts the offense at second-and-19 and it would never get the yardage back on a drive it needed to open the half with a score on.

Fifth sack: 3rd quarter, 3rd and 7 at the LA 25, 3:29

At this point in the game down 32-7, the 49ers are just trying to move the ball and score points instead of throwing in the towel. This is the seventh play of this drive and the 49ers are accumulating yards in chunks thanks to a softer zone coverage by the Rams. However, any chance at converting into a fresh set of downs was again hampered both by an inability of the quarterback to recognize the free rusher and the offensive line's inability to block the blitz.



The Rams send "hurricane" blitz from a dime package personnel grouping. Littleon gets the sack, and he comes from the same spot as his first sack on the right side of the offensive line, shaded slightly more to the interior, and loops around through the opposite B-gap. Juszczyk rightly blocks the rusher through the B-gap, safety Marqui Christian (No. 41). In the pass protection assignments, that makes the free unaccounted for blitzer the quarterback's responsibility.

The receivers are all running deep curl routes but everyone is covered, leaving Beathard with a decision to either break the pocket or eat the sack. He chose to eat the sack as the rush consumes him and Littleton jumps over the top and tackles him. The problem Beathard struggles with is processing the rush too slowly and dropping back with no urgency. His footwork remains slow as a result and he gets taken down. Complicating the issue was Donald working McGlinchey around the edge again and pushing straight back into the pocket.

The quarterback and line share the responsibility for this one.

Sixth sack: 4th quarter, 1st and 10 at the SF 9, 13:44

Backed up inside their own 10 yard line, the 49ers faced a first-and-10 on the opening drive of the fourth quarter. By this point the game was well out of reach.



Out of a "gun far trey left" formation (trips to the left but with a tight end in close to the line), the 49ers are running a switch verticals concept to the left with Kittle and Garçon and a deep dig route to the right with Goodwin. Beathard fakes the sweep handoff to Mostert but by that time the pocket is already collapsing around him.

On the sweep run action, Staley kicks out to the edge to help sell the run fake while Laken Tomlinson (No. 75) is tasked with pass blocking defensive end Michael Brockers (No. 90). Brockers uses his speed and athleticism to get up field quick and rip through the block of Tomlinson. As he does this, he shoves Mostert into Beathard just after the mesh point on the play fake.

On the other side, Donald has beaten McGlinchey and easily fights through the block of tight end Garrett Celek (No. 88). As Beathard sets to throw, both Donald and Brockers meet at the quarterback and take him down.

This sack is primarily on the offensive line for not being able to handle the rushes of both Brockers and Donald. It also looks as though Beathard was getting ready to throw to Goodwin on the deep dig route over the middle but had Beathard been able to throw, it would've likely been intercepted or fallen incomplete because of Goodwin slips and nearly goes to the ground. He would not have been able to recover to make a catch in time.

Seventh sack: 4th quarter, 3rd and 5 at the SF 40, 9:56

The final sack on the second to last drive of the day. Donald bull rushes Richburg right into the backfield and into Beathard.



Beathard motions Goodwin from a "gun far doubles" formation into a "gun far trips left bunch" formation. The two inside receivers switch release with Kendrick Bourne (No. 84) running a shallow cross and Goodwin running an inside go route up the seam. Kittle is the outer most receiver running a quick out at the sticks. Beathard's two options were Bourne on the shallow cross and Trent Taylor (No. 81) on the deep dig from the right.

As Beathard drops back, Bourne gets open on the crosser over the shallow middle while Taylor comes open above him. Beathard immediately looks to his left for Kittle though but his route is well covered by the cornerback. He pulls it back after the pump fake but by that point Richburg had already been pushed into his lap by Donald for the sack.

Had Beathard chosen Bourne or Taylor pre-snap, then the play might have had a chance to be successful. Beathard could have high-lowed the read and shuffled in the pocket to make a play. Instead, he pulls the ball down looking at Kittle when he sees the defender. At that point it would have been better to give Kittle a chance or just throw the ball away.

It was a perfect storm of events for the offense this past weekend with sacks, fumbles, and interceptions. However, inconsistent quarterback play more than anything right now will doom this team going forward and ensure they are in prime position for the top overall pick in the draft or somewhere very near it. Maybe that's not a bad thing. But knowing what we know about Beathard and the offense, they could easily rip off wins against one of, or all, of the next three opponents in the Cardinals, Giants, and Raiders.

All pics and images courtesy of the NFL.

All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.