0-4. That’s not a fun place to be, but it’s exactly where the San Francisco 49ers are. After another close loss, this one in overtime to the Arizona Cardinals, the 49ers remain winless in 2017.
The Niners were up 15-12 in overtime but they couldn’t hold on to the lead, as Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer connected with Larry Fitzgerald for the game-winning touchdown. It was an ugly game with neither team getting into the end zone until the last play.
The story of the game, or the loss, was QB1, dropped passes, penalties and issues at cornerback.
Brian Hoyer and the Lack of Execution
Brian Hoyer had an awful game, finishing the day 24-of-49 for 234 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. He currently has an overall quarterback rating of 18.6 and was sacked three times for a loss of 24 yards. Side note: Hoyer is not a quarterback who should be throwing the ball 49 times and that’s part of the problem. His receivers didn’t help him with dropped passes, but Hoyer was throwing all over the place and couldn’t finish drives.
“We all have to be better,” said Hoyer. “I have to throw it better. We have to execute the plays better. It is frustrating because we are so close. It is one thing if you get blown out, and you say you never had a chance to win.”
They have been close, losing the last three weeks by a combined total of eight points. Today they were five for 19 on third down attempts. With 0:24 seconds left in fourth quarter, Hoyer threw a third down pass intended for Trent Taylor to Kyle Shanahan. That’s not going to get the job done. Shanahan was not pleased.
“You’ve got to throw and catch better,” said Shanahan. “It’s as simple as that.”
After Marquise Goodwin left the game with a concussion, Aldrick Robinson, Trent Taylor and Pierre Garçon finished the game with 52, 47, and 36 yards receiving respectively.
The 49ers were called for 13 penalties totaling 113 yards, and one of those was a pass interference call on Jimmie Ward in overtime that proved costly. Penalties have plagued this team week after week going back to the preseason, and they are going to have to find a way to clean those up and fast.
Rashard Robinson continues to struggle as the team’s #1 corner. Palmer seemed to be looking for him every time he threw the ball. Robinson was called for pass interference and illegal use of the hands, and he almost gave up a touchdown but it was called back. It is becoming increasingly clear that Robinson is not meant to be a number one cornerback and this is an area the 49ers are going to need to address if they want to compete.
Hello Pass Rush
On the plus side, the 49er pass rush came alive sacking Carson Palmer six times. Rookie Solomon Thomas got his first-career sack, Elvis Dumervil recorded his 100th and 101st career sacks, and DeForest Buckner had his first sack of the season. Dumervil was one of the first people to congratulate Thomas.
“[Dumervil is] a great leader for all of us,” said Thomas. “It’s fun to have him on the D-line. He’s a great player. He’s fun to be around.”
Buckner continues to be a monster performer for this team. According to Pro Football Focus, he had six total pressures, two run stops, and a game grade of 88.7. Bright spots, all of this.
And The Beat Goes On
Next up for the red and gold are the Indianapolis Colts in Indy. At 0-4, it would be easy for players to get down and start to lose some of their gusto. But NaVorro Bowman is trying not to let that happen.
“It sucks,” said Bowman. “We’ve put the work in, we just have to finish. We relayed the message to the guys. I strongly believe that we have more in the tank. We’ve yet to reach our full potential and I’ve stressed to them that I’m excited to get back to work because we’re letting teams off the hook. We definitely can play a full 60 minute game…I just stressed to them to get over it, get back to work because there’s more in the tank.”
Fill it up guys. Another game next week. Go Niners!