From the very first drive at Levi's Stadium, the 49ers were overmatched against the Dolphins, who entered the game with a 1-3 record.
Jimmy Garoppolo started after missing two weeks with a high ankle sprain, but completed just seven of 17 passes for 77 yards in the first half. He didn't look sure of himself and the offensive line didn't help out at all. So when the second half started, C.J. Beathard took over for him.
A team that went to the Super Bowl last year looked completely out of sorts, and NBC Sports Bay Area 49ers insider Matt Maiocco didn't sugarcoat it on 49ers Postgame Live moments after the team fell to 2-3 on the season.
"I don't think the right decision was to start Jimmy Garoppolo," Maiocco told Laura Britt. "If at halftime, you determine that he's not good enough or he can't protect himself, why was he starting this game? He didn't make it through a complete practice on Wednesday or Thursday. Why was he out there playing if he couldn't protect himself? And that became apparent in the first half of this game."
After a few drives, Allen was replaced by veteran Ahkello Witherspoon, who didn't make the start against Miami.
"None of us even knew who Brian Allen was before he ended up in the starting lineup," Maiocco said. "A lot of people are going to be criticizing Brian Allen. Don't criticize Brian Allen. Criticize the people who put Brian Allen into that position. It was a no-win position for him. Up from the practice squad on Saturday, into the starting lineup [on Sunday.] Of course the Dolphins are going to go after him.
"And if Ahkello Witherspoon is healthy enough to suit up for the game, why wasn't he in the starting lineup? There were so many things about this game that absolutely made no sense from a coaching standpoint, from a playing standpoint, from every standpoint. The 49ers looked like a disorganized, horrendous football team."
The 49ers began the 2020 season 2-1 and were heavy favorites against the Philadelphia Eagles and Dolphins. They should be 4-1 heading into a brutal part of their schedule. Instead, they are 2-3 with seven difficult games in front of them.
Issues at quarterback, offensive line and cornerback don't help matters.
"It comes at a horrible time, because these were the five games that were supposed to be the easy games," Maiocco said. "And the 49ers are a below .500 team, they're in last place in the NFC West and now they start to face this murderer's row of competition. But if Jimmy Garoppolo is healthy, he's the starter, but the decision-making process to put him out there when the offensive line wasn't protecting -- it wasn't just the offensive line, there was a break down with the tight end as well.
"But the Dolphins played this thing perfectly. They were going to pressure him, they were going to put hits on him, they were going to test his mobility and there was no mobility. This was really an utterly confounding game, a bewildering game that the 49ers put out there."
The 49ers had aspirations of returning to the Super Bowl this year. But now, just making the playoffs in the NFC seems like it would a tremendous accomplishment. If coach Kyle Shanahan and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh don't figure things out, the 49ers will be watching the playoffs from home this winter.