DeMeco Ryans Breaks Down Penalties & Coverages in Week 1 Loss to Chicago

Sep 15, 2022, 4:15 PM
SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 14: Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryan of the San Francisco 49ers l...
SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 14: Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryan of the San Francisco 49ers looks on from the sidelines against the Kansas City Chiefs during the fouth quarter at Levi's Stadium on August 14, 2021 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

If you haven’t heard by now, the San Francisco 49ers lost their Week 1 matchup against the Chicago Bears. If you have then you probably know when they lost: Penalties and blown coverages.

The 49ers were flagged an atrocious 12 times in Sunday’s contest, racking up a total of 99 yards on both sides of the ball. Those penalties are what let quarterback Justin Fields and the Bears back in the game, scoring 19 unanswered points in the second half to seal the win, 19-10.

So how did this happen to an elite defense that gave up a total of 29 yards on 20 plays in the first half?

For defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans it’s simple: indisciplined players and a mobile QB make for a bad combination.

“Yeah, you don’t want penalties. That’s it. You got to play smarter right. The thing about those penalties are they’re self inflicted, self inflicted penalties will kill you. So we have to do a better job of just playing smarter,” Ryans said after practice Wednesday.

“They went down to score it on us, on the three times we stopped them on third down, and we allow drives continue to go on. Guys in this league are too good. You can’t continue to give good players opportunities to make plays. So once we have guys down, we have to finish [the play].”

Three penalties by the 49ers defense resulted in all three touchdowns by the Bears offense. And while we’ve covered said plays, Ryans broke down the Dante Pettis TD Thursday, citing antsy players eager to get after the quarterback.

“Just a breakdown in coverage,” Ryans explained. “I think when you play a quarterback like Justin Fields, a quarterback who’s gonna scramble move around the pocket…We can’t have everyone running down to get the quarterback and he’s not past the line of scrimmage. So it’s just one of those plays that he got out of the pocket, guys got antsy in coverage and guys just, you know, just undisciplined from a standpoint of trying to go get the quarterback too quickly.”

Some might argue that it’s Week 1, guys are still getting their feet wet in terms of real game time on the field. But that’s not an excuse for Ryans, guys should be ready to go at the start of the season, especially with the extensive training camp the 49ers have.

“I don’t,” the defensive coach said with a laugh. “I think we’ve had a lot of reps of training camp. We’ve had preseason games, so I don’t attribute it to it being Week 1. I think Week 1 you should come out and the focus has always been on your fundamentals and technique. That’s the things you have to rely on in Week 1 and we did that for the most part…We just had a few breakdowns with the penalties that we can clean up, and we just got to go get the ball more.”

Week 1 in Chicago had some bright spots, including second-year safety Talanoa Hufanga who was everywhere in the first half. The USC product totaled 11 tackles, one INT, and a few TFLs to round out an impressive day in the Windy City.

“I think Huf had a really good game for us. He flew around, he played with the type of energy, tenacity, the girt that you hope for. He stuck out amongst the entire group,” Ryans said with a smile. ” I think Huf did a really good job and he’s only going to continue to get better, so very happy with what he did for us.”

As for the upcoming contest against the Seattle Seahawks, Ryans issued a challenge to his unit this week: Get more takeaways.

“I think it was great for have get into one interception, but my challenge to our guys is: Can we get more [turnovers]? Can we get more, Can we get more. So if we continue to play like we played on Sunday, play smarter and continue to attack the ball, everyone’s going to be happy with the results on Sunday,” Ryans said.

To watch the full press conference with DeMeco Ryans, click here.

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