Losing to the Seahawks is becoming routine for the 49ers.
So is the roller coaster ride that is Jimmy Garoppolo. The 49ers never know which version of him they are going to get. But more times than not, it is the version of Garoppolo that was poorly on display against the Seahawks.
The 49ers were very well within reach of victory in Seattle. They were moving the ball with relative ease and suffocating on defense in the first half. And then they fell flat on their faces. Special teams atrocities and defensive penalties played big roles in the loss to the Seahawks. But when other parts of the team are failing, that is where a team looks to their quarterback to pick up the slack. That is something Garoppolo is not capable of.
Garoppolo reminded the 49ers why they traded up for Trey Lance.
The limitations of Garoppolo have to be infuriating to Kyle Shanahan. Knowing that he has to call an A plus game just to make up for what Garoppolo lacks has to be an immense weight on his shoulders. This is partly, if not largely why the 49ers have to run the ball roughly 40 times a game. It just makes the game significantly easier to call with Garoppolo as the quarterback, especially because it limits his attempts.
Since the 49ers were not able to limit them due to an ineffective run game, he registered 31 pass attempts. The sweet spot with Garoppolo is always 20 to 25 attempts. Anytime the 49ers get to the 30 spot with him, they are doomed. Anytime Garoppolo throws a pick, the 49ers are doomed as they're 1-5 this season when he does. This is why the 49ers traded up for Lance. They're hoping they get a guy who adds a new dynamic to the offense with his mobility as well as not having to hold his hands through the offense and mask his deficiencies.
Do not think I am slandering Garoppolo. He is who he is at this point. It is Shanahan who chose to make Garoppolo the starter and go all in. Garoppolo is an eight year veteran, yet he is still making rookie mistakes. Shanahan still has to answer questions from reporters based on Garoppolo's decision-making process. Here is what he had to say.
“Just how not to make the wrong read when something goes differently than you're anticipating," said Shanahan. "So you try to coach on what you're anticipating throughout the week. Who's going to take something away, where to get your eyes in the right spot, and when there is a guy there, when to progress to the next guy.
"Whether it's a high-low, whether it's across the board. Or when someone's taking him away and the protection's not good, do you ditch it or if you can't ditch it, how do you protect the ball and just take a sack before ever turning it over? Those are the really the main things you work on.”
This could be done with Lance because clearly Garoppolo isn't learning anything. You want your quarterback to be a sponge to soak up as much coaching as possible. But Garoppolo is a rock at this point. There is no teaching him anything and Shanahan is insanely naive to believe otherwise. And it is all because he doesn't want to live with the rookie growing pains of Lance.
There is no fixing the quarterback position at this point in the season. Advocating for Lance to start now isn't going to benefit the 49ers. The only way it was going to benefit, at least optimally, is if they made that move in October. Lance would have had multiple games under his belt to become adjusted a potentially improve.
Now, the 49ers have to deal with the roller coaster ride that is Garoppolo.