49ers takeaways: What we learned in bewildering 43-17 loss to Dolphins
What We Learned in 49ers' embarrassing loss to Dolphins originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
At 2:32 p.m., a stripped down Joe Staley opened his Twitter app to echo the thoughts of every 49ers fan:
"What the hell is that??!"
Staley, who was with the 49ers in his first retirement season after a 13-year career, couldn't help going public with an emotional reaction.
And who could blame him for this reaction? The 49ers got off to a sluggish start and never pretended to belong in the same field as the Miami Dolphins at Levi Stadium on Sunday.
The Dolphins (2-3) defeated the 49ers (2-3) at every stage of the game by hitting a 43-17 win over the 49ers, who dropped to 0-3 in their empty home that season.
Staley certainly felt empty when he saw his former team shake.
After Jimmy Garoppolo's second interception in a row, he hit the "send" button - a pass he shot through Deebo Samuel into the grateful hands of Bobby McCain, the Miami security officer.
The interception, which came late in the first half, resulted in Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders knocking through a 50-yard field goal in the final game of the first half, giving Miami a 30-7 lead.
Here are three takeaways from the baffling loss of the 49ers.
Garoppolo returns, but sits on the bench at halftime
After missing the final 2 1/2 games with a sprained right ankle, Garoppolo was counted to kickstart the 49ers offensive and set the pace for the tough part of the team's schedule.
Garoppolo is probably not entirely healthy. But that's not an excuse. He was cruel.
There have been protective breakdowns that resulted in him picking up three bags in the first half. And he ended the first half with two bad - really bad - interceptions that resulted in two field goals in the last minute of the second quarter.
Coach Kyle Shanahan told Fox Sports side reporter Lindsay Czarniak that he made the move early in the second half to “protect” Garoppolo.
In a very bad half of football, Garoppolo completed seven of 17 attempts to pass for 77 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
He was released three times for 23 yards as the 49ers' problems with pass protection continued.
C.J. Beathard stepped in and played the last two quarters of the blowout loss.
Everyone's not a good, very bad day
It was a weekly event for the 49ers. You raise one or more players from the training team and entrust him (or them) to play a key role the next day.
And so it was that weekend when the 49ers raised cornerback Brian Allen. It didn't go well. And that's an understatement.
The 49ers originally enrolled Allen in the practice group on September 13th.
Allen played a total of 16 games with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2017 and 18, but saw no action in a regular NFL season game in 2019.
Due to the numerous injuries to the 49er cornerback, Allen had the surprise start. Richard Sherman, Emmanuel Moseley and Dontae Johnson were not available. Ahkello Witherspoon, who suffered from an Achilles tendon, was kept off the grid.
Everyone had a miserable day.
It started badly and only got worse.
On his first play, he gave a 47-yard pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Preston Williams.
Allen was later called for a horse collar that initiated the Dolphins touchdown on the game's first ride. He also made a 28-yard pass to DeVante Parker. He was called for pass interference and then gave Parker a 22-yard touchdown pass.
All within the first quarter and a half of the action.
That was all it took.
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After the 49ers were set on fire at Parker's touchdown, they graciously sat Allen on the bench and replaced him with Witherspoon, with 7:35 left in the first half.
Should that be easy?
In theory, the first five 49ers games of the season should be among the half-dozen or so easiest matchups of the season.
It was imperative for the 49ers to get off to a strong start - possibly with a 5-0 record - before facing a weekly battle of tough competition.
Yes, so much for that.
If the 49ers have only won twice on their inaugural run against the Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Dolphins, how will they hold up against stronger competition?
Things don't look promising for the team that crossed the NFC side of the playoffs and into the Super Bowl last season.
After all, the 49ers' next six games are against the Los Angeles Rams, at the New England Patriots, at the Seattle Seahawks, at home against the Green Bay Packers, at the New Orleans Saints, at the Rams and at home against the Buffalo Bills.
The 49ers are in last place in NFC West after five games. And they don't look like a team capable of fighting for a Super Bowl.
The so-called revenge tour looks more like a search and rescue mission.
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