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49ers 10, Broncos 11: Grades

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DENVER -- Here are the 49ers' grades for their humiliating 11-10 loss to the Denver Broncos.


The 49ers seemed so happy last week to have Jimmy Garoppolo return as their starting quarterback. Are they happy now? Tonight, Garoppolo played like he usually plays -- like a backup. He had happy feet in the pocket, and no weight transfer or velocity on his throws, which is why so many of his passes sank and died. Plus he made some of the worst decisions you'll ever see. Garoppolo finished this game with 211 passing yards, one touchdown pass, one fumble, one interception and one safety that negated a pick-six. On the safety, Garoppolo casually stepped out of the back of the end zone because he didn't know where he was. He also underthrew what should have been a touchdown pass to Deebo Samuel. This is why the 49ers traded three-first round picks for Trey Lance. This is why Lance gave the 49ers their best chance to win this season before he broke his ankle. This is why zero teams were interested in trading for Garoppolo during training camp, and why the 49ers never will get anything in return for him. He doesn't improve, and he makes the same mistakes every week. Raise your hand if you expected him to force a throw into double coverage and get intercepted with the game on the line. That was extremely predictable. If I ever have to hear another 49ers player say how good Garoppolo is, I might throw up. The 49ers propped him up for years, but now they can't anymore. He's exposed. Too bad the 49ers lost Lance for the season by running him up the middle for two yards on 2nd and 8 in Week 2. Now they have 14 more weeks of Garoppolo. They might as well play Brock Purdy to see what they have in him, because they know what they have in Garoppolo and he's not good enough.


Jeff Wilson Jr. ran 12 times for 75 yards -- he had a good game, until he fumbled on the 49ers' final offensive play. Jordan Mason ran one time for seven yards -- he needs more opportunities. And Kyle Juszczyk made a beautiful 24-yard catch near the sideline -- he looked like a wide receiver.


The Broncos shut down Deebo Samuel the running back -- he had five carries for six rushing yards. But they did not shut down Deebo the receiver. He finished the game with 73 receiving yards, including a 32-yard catch that would have been a touchdown if Garoppolo had hit him in stride. Brandon Aiyuk also got open lots of times, but caught just three passes because the 49ers can't get the ball downfield.


George Kittle had four catches for just 28 yards -- he was mostly an afterthought. The 49ers need to do a better job getting him involved in the offense.


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Trent Williams left the game with a right high-ankle sprain -- the same injury he suffered at the end of last season. Before he went down, the pass protection was bad. After he went down, it was worse. Jaylon Moore was the next man up at left tackle, but he got benched for Colton McKivitz after giving up a sack. Spencer Burford had a rough game with two penalties and one sack allowed. And Mike McGlinchey committed a penalty for good measure. Overall, these guys can't block long enough to get the ball more than 10 yards downfield. I'm thinking the 49ers should have invested more in pass protection this offseason instead of holding onto Garoppolo.


They were nearly perfect all night until the Broncos' one touchdown drive of the game in the fourth quarter. On that drive, the defensive linemen allowed Wilson out of the pocket twice. The first time, it was 3rd and 10, and Wilson scrambled to his left and completed a pass for 27 yards. Three plays later on 3rd and 6, Kerry Hyder allowed Wilson to scramble up the middle for 12 yards. Those two mistakes extended the Broncos' only touchdown drive of the game.


Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner combined to record a whopping 17 tackles. Azeez Al-Shaair left the game with an MCL injury. No word yet on the severity of it.


They gave up 184 passing yards and zero touchdown passes. The defense absolutely played well enough to win this game. It's a Super Bowl defense. Unfortunately, the offense is horrible.


Mitch Wishnowsky pinned three punts inside the Broncos 20 -- that's exactly why the 49ers extended his contract. Ray-Ray McCloud had a nice 18-yard punt return, but two abysmal kickoff returns in which he caught the ball near the sideline and ran sideways across the field for 8 yards and then 15 yards. I can't imagine the 49ers coach him to do that.


DeMeco Ryans is the 49ers' best coach, and he coached one hell of a game as usual. He called blitzes at precisely the right moments to knock the Broncos out of field goal range. In total, the defense gave up just 9 points, and yet the 49ers still lost because their offense is that bad. The offense just needed to do something good after scoring 7 points in the first quarter, but couldn't. The offensive line couldn't block, the quarterback couldn't throw and the offensive genius head coach couldn't think of anything creative that would get his unit in a rhythm. It's Kyle Shanahan's sixth year with the 49ers, and his offense is still inconsistent at best. In fact, it seems to be getting worse. The Rams and Packers shut it down in the playoffs last year, and the Bears and Broncos followed the exact same script to shut it down this season. It has been almost a year, and Shanahan has made no adjustments. The offense looks just like it looked last year. Meanwhile, the 49ers offensive coordinator from last season, Mike McDaniel, currently is undefeated as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. Did McDaniel take all the 49ers' offensive creativity with him? Was he the real genius on the 49ers offensive staff the whole time? If Shanahan is such a genius, it's time for him to prove it. He needs to be on the hot seat right now. His offense has been a giant disappointment since he arrived here. The 49ers are good because of their defense -- it's why they win when they win. But Shanahan has nothing to do with defense. He needs to improve his offense immediately and win the Super Bowl this year. No more excuses. Otherwise, the 49ers should pursue Sean Payton. He could win a Super Bowl with this roster.