That was one of the worst football games of all time.
Here are five takeaways from the 49ers' 11-10 loss to the Broncos on Sunday night.
1. Did it feel like 49ers football?
When Jimmy Garoppolo filled in as the replacement against the Seahawks to win the game, Kyle Juszczyk said, "I thought Jimmy looked great, and it felt like Niners football." On Sunday night, football fans went to bed early to avoid falling asleep on their chairs while watching the game. The offense managed to score only 10 points. The early signs of the offensive meltdown started to appear the week before against the Seahawks when the 49ers scored just 7 points during the second half. The 49ers offense is running short on creativity, execution and decisiveness.
2. Does Garoppolo know how to ride a bicycle?
After beating arch rivals at home, newly promoted starter Garoppolo said being back on the field felt "just like riding a bike." This week, he was an infant trying to ride a bike. There were times he could not figure out where to sit on it. One of the horrendous quarterback performances of the league this year included safety as a result of stepping out of bounds and a pick-six on the same play. He repeatedly missed wide-open receivers down the field and had a trademark interception while targeting Brandon Aiyuk in double-coverage. After the game, Garoppolo came up with a solid defense when questioned about his night. But the eight-year veteran cannot make excuses for too long if he wishes to prove that the 49ers are a better team with him at the helm, as pundits of national media and particular teammates believe.
3. Who is the genius?
The Miami Dolphins are thriving under former 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel. The Dolphins average 27.7 points per game (8th best in the NFL), while the 49ers average 15.7 points per game (5th worst). Every criticism of Kyle Shanahan starts with the mention that he is a great offensive mind. Strangely the combination of McDaniel and Shanahan did not produce as entertaining of an offense as Miami has right now. The 49ers offense always acted like a little brother who brags the loudest once his big-brother defense beats the bully. Shanahan should have tried to upgrade the offense with the gifted arm of Trey Lance. Instead, the sixth-year head coach is without Lance due to a brutal injury resulting from a designed quarterback run.
4. Who should be the no. 1 running back?
Jeff Wilson had a decent outing with 75 yards on 12 carries. But he does not have the explosiveness he used to have in 2020 before multiple injuries derailed his shot at becoming a legit No. 1 running back. Next week, the offense needs a spark in the run game against the Rams, who limited the Cardinals to just 70 rushing yards last week. If they suffocate the 49er rushing attack on Monday night, the game could be a replay of what happened against the Broncos. Jordan Mason is a player with the potential to shift gears, and the 49ers need to change their strategy.
Many believe the 49ers are a good football team. A team is a collective effort of different skills. Unfortunately, the 49ers are an average football team with an outstanding defense. Throughout the first three weeks, the defense kept the 49ers in the game with the blind hope of the offense arriving. Talanoa Hufanga continues to impress each game. The defense is missing Arik Armstead, Jimmie Ward and Azeez Al-Shaair. When you look at the performances of the head coach and the defensive coordinator, DeMeco Ryans looks like the one with six years of experience at the job, not Shanahan.