It was a surprising week in the NFL and one of the biggest surprises was the Falcons beating the 49ers in Atlanta. San Francisco only scored 14 points in the game, all in the second quarter, as Atlanta cruised to a 28-14 win. Both teams now sit at 3-3 on the season.
The 49ers have had a rollercoaster of a season so far and it’s only been six weeks. The Trey Lance injury gave way to Jimmy Garoppolo’s resurgence, but that’s come crashing down with this recent loss.
San Francisco has scored a combined 34 points in their three losses; they scored 37 points last week alone in Carolina. The 49ers are capable of winning games against good teams like the Rams, but they haven’t been able to find consistency.
Kyle Shanahan is now in his sixth season as the head coach of the 49ers after spending time with the Falcons. He was criticized for his second-half playcalling in the Falcons’ Super Bowl loss to the Patriots and is once again under fire for underperforming in San Francisco.
Al Sacco, Zain Naqvi, and Brian Renick of the Audacy Original Podcast “49ers Webzone: No Huddle Podcast” ranted about Shanahan’s inconsistencies and San Francisco’s “blue balls offense.”
“As far as the offensive genius, this is (Shanahan’s) 15th season as an OC or a head coach in the NFL. The 49ers currently rank 19th in points scored. So as of right now, his offenses have been ranked in the bottom half of the league in 10 of those 15 years,” Sacco said (3:20 in player above). “When are we going to start seeing these results? You throw around offensive genius, just where is the substance behind that? One year here and there?”
Sacco then brought up one of the best coaches in the game that is heralded as a defensive genius.
“We talk about Bill Belichick’s defensive genius. Do you know how many times his defenses ranked in the bottom half of the league in 37 years? Five. Five times,” Sacco continued. “They ranked 17th four times and 20th once. Do you know how many top-10 Ds he’s had? 29. 29. We’re talking points scored here. Kyle’s had four. What are we doing here with this? You’re only a genius if your scheme translates to performance on the field.”
In his sixth season in San Francisco, Shanahan has only had a top-12 offense once. The 49ers scored the second-most points with the fourth-most yards in the 2019 season. They ranked 13th in points and seventh in yards last season, but that’s taken a step back so far this year.
“He has to be better. He has to eventually be the difference-maker in a lot of these games. There’s one common thing with the 49ers that they can’t score in the fourth quarter when it counts,” Naqvi said. “They went three playoff games without scoring in the fourth quarter. They went the entire fourth quarter in the Super Bowl without scoring. One of those three playoff games was the championship game and if they score in the championship game last year in the fourth quarter they’re going to the Super Bowl. If they scored in the Super Bowl in the fourth quarter at all then they win the Super Bowl. That’s it.”
Shanahan has not been able to lead many comeback victories in San Francisco. In fact, the 49ers are 0-26 under Kyle Shanahan when trailing by more than four points after three quarters.
Shanahan’s 49ers have been able to get close to the ultimate goal, whether it be the Super Bowl or simply scoring a touchdown, but they seem to come up short.
Renick described it in a colorful way.
“It really feels like what we’ve gotten from Kyle Shanahan since he’s come to San Francisco, I’m going to start calling it the blue balls offense,” he said. “We get tons of yards. We get right to the end and then we can’t finish. We cannot finish the drive with points. We cannot finish the drive with touchdowns.
“But if you think about it and you even expand out, not only is our offense like that, but 49ers seasons have been like that since Kyle Shanahan has been here,” Renick continued. “We get all the way to the end and then we cannot finish the job.”