Injuries and defensive woes: the story of the 2018 San Francisco 49ers. Today’s game was truly a microcosm of the season and ended in the most heartbreaking of fashions.
The biggest news of the day is the injury to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. On third and goal from the Chiefs’ 20-yard line, Garoppolo scrambled for seven yards. On that scramble, Garoppolo tried to cutback inside and took a monster hit from cornerback Steven Nelson. Garoppolo’s knee buckled on the hit, forcing him to leave on the game on a cart and creating despair among fans, especially as Kyle Shanahan said the team is “fearing [a torn] ACL.” The 49ers’ playoff hopes heavily rely on Jimmy G and his control of the offense so losing him is the worst thing to happen for this team.
Jimmy G wasn’t the only important Niner to get hurt, however. Star cornerback Richard Sherman left the game with a calf injury and will have an MRI tomorrow, per Matt Maiocco. By far the best player in a bad secondary, losing Sherman has a similar effect on the defense as Garoppolo’s injury to the offense. Starting safety Adrian Colbert also dealt with injuries.
Speaking of the defense, the 49ers cannot expect to win many games with the way they’re playing. The defense continued to do a good job of stopping the run, but the secondary remains one of the worst in football. Patrick Mahomes had a field day tossing three touchdowns as he led the Chiefs to five straight touchdown drives. They picked up the slack in the second half, but performances like this will continue to prevent the 49ers from winning.
The 49ers also continued their penalty problem. Committing 14 infractions for a whopping 147 yards, the 49ers have secured the title for most penalties in the league, per Football Database. The 49ers are continuing their troubling trend, they finished fourth in penalties last season, and it continues to haunt them. Whether killing offensive drives or extending defensive stands, this has to get cleaned up as soon as possible.
Next week, the 49ers head to Carson to play the Los Angeles Chargers. Both teams are 1-2 and have similar issues: a strong offense hampered by a subpar defense. Of course, entering the game with C.J. Beathard under center won’t inspire much confidence in the fans. And if Sherman is out next weekend, it’s going to be a long day for the defense.