They almost did it.
The 49ers almost pulled a magnificent comeback against the Packers, but their first half woes were way too much to overcome.
Here are three things that was learned in the 49ers 30-28 loss to the Packers.
The jury is out on DeMeco Ryans
DeMeco Ryans was raved about this offseason with bringing about a new aggressive play calling style. So far through three games, it isn't the aggression that stands out, but the lack of awareness. This is what I was concerned about when it came to Ryans filling in for the massively underappreciated Robert Saleh. How would Ryans be able to handle in game adjustments? Or start to adapt a different style?
There doesn't seem to be much there. It is still early and the 49ers cornerback situation is bleak at best, so perhaps these are just part of his growing pains. Perhaps, but ultimately the jury is out on Ryans. It is one thing to know that the cornerbacks are not good. It is another thing to just let the Packers' best offensive weapon wide open a majority of the time. Shutting down Adams is impossible, but my goodness the lack of emphasis in keying in on him was evident. Saleh was able to figure it out. Will Ryans progress to that level eventually?
Running back is a massive concern
The running back room was comprised of duct tape and Trey Sermon for the 49ers. Seeing the running game ineffective was not surprising, but to see it at such an irrelevant level makes it a massive concern. The running game is only going to see success with Elijah Mitchell or Jeff Wilson Jr. back there. It is clear that Sermon is not ready to be a workhorse back and why he fell behind Mitchell on the depth chart. The 49ers had to use Kyle Juszczyk, Deebo Samuel, and even gave George Kittle a carry to make up for it.
Much to my surprise was the lack of Trey Lance. Getting him in the game surely would have opened the ground attack more. It definitely could not have been much worse than what it was already. The offensive line failed Sermon as well, so it is not all on him. There were several instances where someone on the interior line was getting driven back tough. This is just not ideal for the 49ers considering Shanahan loves to run the ball. And if they cannot run the ball, then they are forced to put Jimmy Garoppolo in a situation where he has to carry the weight, which he cannot.
Kyle Shanahan is underachieving
Shanahan is a fantastic offensive play caller, but where he lacks skill is his personnel decision making and conservativeness. In the first half, the 49ers were faced with a fourth-and-1 situation at midfield. Rather than go for it, he elects to punt it away. If he is as creative as he gets touted along with the skill players at his disposal, that should have been an easy decision to go for it. It was pretty much a spineless decision to punt. Shanahan was playing scared and that for sure sends a message to the team.
With his personnel decision making, notice how Brandon Aiyuk suddenly became a star against the Packers. So Shanahan has been limiting one of his best offensive players on purpose to prove a point. The pettiness of Shanahan is getting way out of hand. Lastly, where was Lance? Two snaps is all he accounted for and he is being boxed in as a red-zone threat only. Lance is more than that. And if he isn't in Shanahan's eyes, then that is on him for not getting him more up to speed.
Shanahan is the one who refused to get Lance first-team reps throughout training camp. Imagine if he did get just a fraction more of that, then perhaps Shanahan sees him in a new light. This is what Bears head coach Matt Nagy admitted before Sunday with Justin Fields. That they are seeing things in him now that they didn't before and that is thanks to him getting more reps in practice. That could be Lance. The 49ers are still a very good football team, but Shanahan caps certain elements of his team and it is leading him to underachieve through three games.