Lance replaces Garoppolo – for good?
SANTA CLARA – Here’s how the 49ers (2-2) ranked in Sunday’s 28-21 home loss to the Seattle Seahawks (2-2):
OFFENSE PASSAGE: D +
Jimmy Garoppolo’s calf injury (officially) ushered in the Trey Lance era. No one can say if Garoppolo will get his job back, considering how his health history is what mainly forced the 49ers to find an extra QB, which cost an expensive No.3 draft pick. Garoppolo is not a model. He knows how it works, how you can lose / take a job. He hates getting hurt (and that jump over the double-pass debacle couldn’t have helped). “I’ve been in this situation too many times and it’s getting really old,” Garoppolo said, echoing the thoughts of fans. A touchdown on an opening disc was top notch Feels Great Baby. Then came an interception from Jimmy Throw, when a defensive back cleverly figured Garoppolo would look for George Kittle over the middle. The offense stalled and Lance couldn’t save it, not with impromptu runs (is Kyle Shanahan ready for that bet?) Nor with two touchdown passes to Deebo Samuel. If left tackle Trent Williams’ shoulder injury is serious, it could be a season-saver more than any other job, no matter what rookie Jaylon Moore is said to be the one protecting the blind side of a quarterback. – rookie back (who shares a backfield with a returning rookie).
RACE BREACH: C
Trey Sermon ran more convincingly than his titular debut. He had 89 yards on 19 carries (4.7 yards per carry). However, he did not break a run of more than 15 meters. Lance’s longest run was a 13-yard dash (seven carries, 41 yards). Jacques Patrick’s first two races with the 49ers (12 yards) were just a setup for his third snap, which was a pass to Garoppolo for a deep failure to George Kittle. No touchdowns for the first time this season, although their 143 rushing yards and 4.9 yards per carry average were their best to date.
DEFENSE PASS: D +
The 49ers got an A + with their pass rush (three sacks) and cover that forced a threes-and-outs on Seattle’s first five possessions. Then? Well, they failed to stop Russell Wilson from doing things to Russell Wilson on the 49ers field. He only passed 149 yards, but a 12-yard touchdown pass to DK Metcalf thwarted the 49ers’ shutout offer and put a stop to the momentum before halftime. Two shots after Wilson’s touchdown run, the Seahawks converted a special teams takeaway into Wilson’s second touchdown pass, on a brilliant escape from Dontae Johnson’s grip and Nick Bosa’s chase. After halftime, Wilson was not sacked and was only hit twice. Dr. Kirkpatrick started out hot, faded late, and shot the NFL’s eighth pass interference penalty this season. This happened on the Seahawks’ last touchdown, which was bolstered by an offside penalty from Ford.
RUN DEFENSE: D +
A 319-pound defensive tackle (Javon Kinlaw) shouldn’t be the last line of defense for a quarterback rushing for a touchdown. Then again, linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair was busy on other plays in the coverage – on touchdowns by DK Metcalf and Freddie Swain. A 14-yard touchdown run topped an 81-yard run and gave the Seahawks a 28-13 lead, making the final 12 minutes seemingly wasteful time until Lance’s touchdown pass with 80 seconds remaining. This defense has ONE takeaway (Dr. Greenlaw’s choice of six) across four games. Unacceptable.
SPECIAL TEAMS: F
This isn’t a downgrade against Robbie Gould for injuring his groin before the game, nor a damning indictment against Mitch Wishnowsky, their emergency kicker / punter / tackler. No, this rating is mostly down to Trenton Cannon’s fumbles on the return from kickoff – after the Seahawks took the lead, then built it with another touchdown – followed by another gruesome comeback from Cannon. Back to Wishnowsky for a second: Why dare to go for a 41-yard field goal after seeing how he barely fielded a kick after kick through the wickets? Which brings us to …
Losing your first two games at home, and doing it with a rambling offense (regardless of quarterback)… and a retreating second-half defense… and special team errors… is no way to return to the NFC roost. Newcomer Jacques Patrick’s double pass to Garoppolo at Kittle appeared to be a player who thought they were playing with house money when there was only a 7-0 lead. I despise the “unexpected” clause for Lance’s entry, because that crutch conflicts with the job description of a backup quarterback. Lance admirably offered no excuses (but didn’t look prepared with limited first-team reps). The 49ers seem adrift. Who will rally them? Is this list too heavy, since only a few veterans have been paid in recent years when everyone is proving it? Welcome (back) to the last seat in NFC West.