The 49ers dropped their first prime-time game of the 2022 season, beaten by the Broncos and former NFC West foe Russell Wilson in an 11-10 Sunday night affair.
The Niners’ defense, stalwart all night long, relented on a Broncos drive midway through the fourth quarter, allowing Wilson and Denver to march 80 yards for a go-ahead touchdown.
Jimmy Garoppolo threw an interception on the ensuing possession, intending to hit Deebo Samuel in traffic. After the 49ers’ defense forced the Broncos to punt, Garoppolo got another chance to lead a game-winning drive, but the ball was punched out of Jeff Wilson Jr.’s grasp after he caught the ball on a checkdown, and Denver recovered to finish off the game.
Here’s what coach Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers’ players had to say after the game:
Azzeez Al-Shaair most likely an MCL (knee injury); Trent Williams most likely a high ankle (sprain)
On the game:
I wasn’t trying to play as safe as possible. I was trying to get things going. I felt like we had a lot of shots in the first half. It kind of went exactly how we wanted in terms of moving the ball and some big plays. But had a number of penalties that I thought hurt us in the first half and then we didn’t convert a third down (in the first half). I believe we were 0-and-4, so I thought we should have had a lot more points to show for what we did in the first half.
On the second half:
Never got into a rhythm. When we did, we had that fumbled snap, got backed up, went into the safety, had another turnover, didn’t get the run game quite going and just could never get in the rhythm in the second half that we did in the first. When you don’t convert a first down until, I think, that last drive, that’s usually not a good recipe.
I thought we made too many mistakes today.
On how bewildering it was on Garoppolo’s safety:
“That was a tough situation that I put him in, that unblocked guy coming. Wish we would have time for the big play, could have ditched it. But that was a tough situation I put him in.”
On shouting at the officials on the 49ers’ final possession before the fumble:
From where I was, I thought their three-technique jumped a couple of plays before that.
I thought he played real well in the first half. I mean, I thought he made some plays, hit the ones that were there, and then made some that weren’t there … In the second half, I don’t think anyone on offense did good, including myself. We didn’t get into a rhythm the whole time. Our defense did a heck of a job keeping us in there.
On what were his own mistakes:
Put him in a tough spot with the safety. Just not able to get anything going.
On declining a holding penalty ahead of Broncos’ field goal:
I was told it was a 50-50 decision. We were a little nervous of Russell making a big play on third-and-long, maybe throwing it up and getting a P.I., or getting a holding (penalty) for a first down, or something like that. So we went with a 55-yarder (field-goal attempt by them).
On Wilson’s comeback drive:
That’s what Russ does. He’s real good at that stuff and we held him for a while but it’s tough to keep doing that all game.
On Jeff Wilson:
He ran hard. Had some real good runs early but just couldn’t get anything going in the second half.
On the safety:
It was a tough situation, just trying to buy some time for the play. It was a tough situation.
On third-down woes:
It was altogether a sloppy day. We had, I think, one clean drive and got points off of it. Other than that, the defense really kept us in that game.
On the offense:
All together, we just were not in rhythm. Started off pretty good, too. I felt like we were in a rhythm early and then we kind of just got away from it. Things didn’t go our way.
On end zone play and Shanahan taking blame:
Yeah, I just run the play, trying to buy some time for it. It’s a longer developing play. It was just a tough situation, though, that whole thing.
On Williams’ injury:
It’s tough. Trent’s a warrior, man. Hopefuly he bounces back fast. It’s tough to lose a guy like that, especially the leadership that he brings to this team, the poise and everything he brings. It’ll be tough to replace that but we’ve got to.
We just weren’t in a rhythm at all in the second half. You could feel it. You could see it. We were talking about it on the sideline. Thinking about it, was my first week (practicing as QB1) with these guys, and we weren’t in rhythm. Especially on third down, we were terrible today.
On adjusting back to game shape:
Oh yeah, my arm’s feeling it right now. I mean, you try to do all the practice and preparation on the sideline, being the No. 2, and then when you get tossed into it, you just got… I didn’t go through OTA’s and training camp. I’m not trying to make excuses or anything but I just gotta get in game shape and get rolling.
It was just not going through training camp the same way as normal. it’s a different routine than I’ve been used to in the past. I’ve got to get back to where I was.
On no camp reps:
That’s what I was saying about getting on the same page with these guys. We had a good rhythm last year. You could see it on the field and feel it on the sideline.We just have to get back to it, and we’re capable of it.
On 2021 comparison with slow start then Rams:
We’re only three games into this thing. we’ve got a lot of football left. You never really like to lose like this, in that fashion. I wouldn’t put it in that category yet.
On the rhythm:
It’s something with our rhythm. It wasn’t the same in the second half. They didn’t really change up too much throughout the game.
We were preaching that all week, trying to make sure we finish the game and didn’t let him get out of the pocket and do the things he does best. And we did a good job for a good portion of the game but we just got to be more sound in our rush lanes and be a little more sticky in coverage. We’re going to do that as the season goes on.
on how to take blame
I don’t like to blame. I know for myself I could have made more plays in that game. I was definitely a little quiet at times. For the type of player I want to be, I want to affect games more than that, and I know a lot of guys on our defense feel the same way. So we have to take the ball away.
On the near-trip call:
I just shot through and… and didn’t trip him.
On bouncing back:
Just get home. We get an extra day this week, so that’s going to be big for us after a tough fame like that. But yeah, we’ve been here before and it’s just part of the game. It’s never easy, and I think our team’s built for that.
We turned the ball over, what three times with a safety. Kind of hard to do anything. We were one-for-10 on third down. Kind of hard to get anything going, and that’s all it is.
We have really good players at a lot of positions and I thought guys played well tonight. The effort was there. We didn’t execute very well.
I didn’t feel a disconnect at all. Didn’t really feel a change at all. I mean, this is my first game this year and my last game last year was with Jimmy as well. So it wasn’t really too big of a change for me.
On the game:
Three turnovers, safety, 1-for-10. That’s just bad offense.
On the defense:
They gave up one touchdown tonight. They gave up six points, really, and we gave up two points… as an offense, we have to put more than 10 points on the scoreboard.
On Williams’ injury:
He’s the best football player in the NFL, so when you lose the best player in the NFL… It’s nothing against the guy below him (on the depth chart) but there’s nobody nearly as good as Trent Williams.
On how defense played:
We talk about it. We have to play a full four-quarter game. That last drive, we can’t let them get down there and score like that. Also, we have to get the ball back for the offense. You lose every time minus-three (in turnover differential)
On missed turnovers:
We had a couple opporutnites, and had even more to attack the football and it didn’t go our way tonight.
On Russell Wilson:
Having played him multiple times, you know you have to play four quarters with him. It takes one or two plays. He made the plays at the end to get them the score they needed.
I’m not worried at all. I look first at what we could have done better on defense. We could have helped them in certain areas
It all comes down to the ball, forever in time, it’ll come down to turnover margin. When we have a goose egg on our side, it will be tough to win.
On his foot injury:
“I haven’t missed a game in a long time, and I couldn’t play through it. It came on and got worse and worse last week.”
On watching from sideline:
“It was pretty tough. You want to be out there and help.”
KERRY HYDER JR.
on defensive effort:
It’s hard, we put a lot of work into it during the week. Give those guys credit, they made some plays at the end. We just have to clean it up. There’s always room to get better. At the end, we just didn’t finish it off.
on Russell Wilson:
“It’s Russ, man. He’s been in this league and made a lot of plays for a long time. As a defense, we felt we could obviously dominate the game. Aside from a couple of plays we left out there, we felt we could have finished it off.”
on nearly sacking Wilson in the fourth quarter:
He had some help right there. Somebody came and hit me in the shoulder.
on defensive effort and finish:
It’s a loss but it’s something to build on. It was a tough one. But it’s definitely something to build on.
On defensive control:
Sometimes things don’t pan out how they’re supposed to, but you go back to the drawing board the next day and get better.
on his first sack:
“Pretty lit. But we lost so it kind of doesn’t matter to me.”