3 Mistakes 49ers Must Avoid in October

Alex BallentineOctober 5, 2022

3 Mistakes 49ers Must Avoid in October

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    SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 03 San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan during the NFL game between the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers on October 03, 2022, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    All things considered, the San Francisco 49ers find themselves in a good position as September gives way to October.

    Despite losing quarterback Trey Lance for the season and playing without left tackle Trent Williams, the Niners find themselves at 2-2 and tied for first in the NFC West. With Jimmy Garoppolo back in the saddle, this isn't quite the season the 49ers thought they were going to have, but they are still dangerous.

    Staying in contention is going to require a strong showing for the rest of October.

    They can ride the momentum of a 24-9 win on Monday Night Football over the Rams into two favorable road games against the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers. Then it's a key matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs before meeting the Rams again.

Trying to Do Too Much with Jimmy Garoppolo

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    SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 03: Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers throws a pass as he warms up before playing against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi's Stadium on October 03, 2022 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    The 49ers clearly wanted to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason, but it just didn't work out. It's probably a good thing. Had they traded him then Lance suffered his injury, it's hard to tell what the Niners would do.

    At this point, we know what Garoppolo is. He's a quarterback capable of protecting the football, setting up Deebo Samuel and other weapons with room to work after the catch on underneath routes.

    The Niners run game, combined with Samuel's ability to rack up the yards after the catch, is enough for the team to control the tempo of the game and set up an excellent defense to carry them.

    A look at Garoppolo's rating grid from Next Gen Stats confirms the eye test on the quarterback. He's above average with his ball placement and finding receivers underneath, but he's average at best when trying to throw the ball more than 10 yards downfield.

    San Francisco has proved it can win at a high level with him doing that. It's when it expects more that it gets in trouble.

Continuing to Use George Kittle as a Decoy

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    San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle, middle, cannot catch a pass in bounds during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)
    AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez

    If you happen to be a George Kittle fantasy manager, you might have just shuddered at the mere mention of the tight end's name. The Niners star has been an absolute bust when it comes to fantasy football this season.

    After missing the first two games of the season, Kittle has been missing from the passing attack. Through two games, he's seen nine targets, but the average depth of those targets has been 3.7 yards, a career-low.

    On one hand, Kittle is more than a fantasy football tight end. He's arguably the best combination of blocking and receiving in the league. With Trent Williams out, the Niners needed to rely on his blocking as much as his abilities as a receiver.

    On the other, Kittle becomes even more important with Jimmy G at quarterback. With his ability to win matches in the middle of the field and make plays after the catch, he's going to be vital to the passing game moving forward.

    The Niners just have to get him involved.

Overlooking the Atlanta Falcons

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    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 02: Marcus Mariota #1 of the Atlanta Falcons runs with the ball against the Cleveland Browns during the first quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 02, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    The 2-2 Atlanta Falcons have been surprisingly competitive over the last four weeks. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    This might seem funny, but this 49ers team has already lost to the Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos with an 11-point output.

    One of the most difficult things for an NFL team is maintaining focus over the course of a 17-week season. Every week there are unpredictable results, and nothing can be taken for granted.

    Looking at the slate for the rest of October, the Falcons game is the closest thing to a trap San Francisco has.

    For one, the Falcons have yet to be blown out all season. They started the campaign with two losses, but both were in one-score games with the Saints and Rams. Since then, they've pulled off two close wins against the Seahawks and Browns.

    Both feature patient offenses that might not have the most talented quarterbacks but rely on putting them in a good position to succeed and take care of the ball. That's the exact style the 49ers are going to have to play.

    It doesn't help that the 49ers are scheduled to play the Kansas City Chiefs the following week. If the coaching staff and defense have Patrick Mahomes and the AFC powerhouse on their mind, it's a recipe for an upset loss.

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