Some friendly advice for chosen rookie Ambry Thomas

In May, about two weeks after being drafted by the 49ers in the third round, cornerback Ambry Thomas boldly predicted he would do so by dominating after getting some college education.

“I just have to get used to the whole playbook,” Thomas said. “But once I feel like I have that, it’s over.” It’s finish.”

Seven months later, however, Thomas’ education in the NFL has only just begun. For the past two weeks, Thomas has been enrolled in the school of hard knocks – picked by Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow, Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan and a host of social media critics.

On Monday, after Thomas suffered another patchy performance in his second career debut, he responded to the latter group, via Twitter.

“If it was easy, everyone would do it,” Thomas wrote. “Do not forget.”

After seeing this tweet, I immediately thought of a hard-earned piece of advice (that I’m not myself) for the 22-year-old: don’t read the Twitter comments! I’m much less qualified to give advice on football fundamentals, but my thought after looking at his performance in the 49ers’ 31-13 win over the Falcons: react better to the ball when it’s in the air.

The encouraging news for the 49ers is that Thomas was often in a great position against Atlanta, when he allowed three of Ryan’s four longest assists. However, after turning his head to locate the ball in mid-flight, Thomas was unable to play the ball.

Wide receiver Russell Gage, who like Thomas is 6 feet tall, flew over the flat-footed cornerback to catch a 20-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter and a 21-yard reception on the straight touchline in the third . In the fourth quarter, tight end Kyle Pitts beat Thomas for a 49-yard catch that Thomas was beaten so badly that he couldn’t recover despite Ryan’s slightly reverse pass.

Pitts’ seizure came after their head-to-head duel just before half-time: Thomas managed a potential interception along the touchline and Pitts ripped him off, but he was ruled out of bounds.

It will be interesting to see what the 49ers decide to do to the left cornerback when they visit the Titans on Thursday night. Thomas started the last two weeks because Dontae Johnson was out of the squad for a week due to his mother’s death, despite playing 12 special teams snaps against Atlanta.

Johnson, 30, an eight-year veteran, would be a lower risk option to start against the Titans. However, head coach Kyle Shanahan and defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans maintained that they have been very encouraged by Thomas’ development this season.

Will Thomas remain the starter for a third consecutive game?

“We’ll see,” Ryans said.

• Pass carrier Nick Bosa’s biggest play was his sack and strip from Ryan which led to a recovery fumble from linebacker Fred Warner and a 38-yard touchdown that gave the 49ers a 24-10 early start. of the third quarter.

But it wasn’t his most impressive game. It happened in the second quarter when Bosa shrugged a block of chips to the line by tight end Hayden Hurst, easily sidelined a double team from right tackle Kaleb McGary and right guard Chris Lindstrom and was able to fire Ryan, who, for a moment, was staring directly at Bosa.

Ryan tried to avoid trouble by changing direction, but hit defensive end Arden Key in the middle of the rotation.

Key bag. Help for Bosa.

• Bosa is often held back by offensive tackles, but sometimes even blatant infractions go unreported. In the fourth quarter, for example, Bosa beat McGary over the edge and McGary slowed his momentum by wrapping his right arm around Bosa’s neck.

Smother the catch. No flag.

“I thought maybe I was going to get the call over there,” Bosa said. “I do not think so.”

It is typical of Bosa. He doesn’t argue with officials, complain to reporters, or raise his voice far above a library whisper.

The anti-Bosa? It could be defensive tackle DJ Jones, who split a two-team block in the first quarter and was pulled back in the middle of the race when left tackle Jake Matthews grabbed him by the back of the shirt.

Jones responded by raising his hands in the air – the universal sign of what’s going on here? – before heading to the nearest official, hands on hips, to plead his convincing case.

• Jimmy Garoppolo’s 78.3% completion percentage (18 of 23) was the fourth-best of his career in a game in which he threw 20 assists.

But it could have been significantly higher. Wide receiver Jauan Jennings dropped two short passes down the middle and failed to circle a low but catchable pass in the third quarter.

Garoppolo’s other two incompleteness: he missed the shot and made a short jump off Trent Sherfield in the first quarter, and his tilt on target off Deebo Samuel in the fourth quarter was broken on a fine play from the running back corner AJ Terrell.

• The best performance of a great receiver in a supporting role goes to Brandon Aiyuk.

Aiyuk had a manual block that sent George Kittle gushing for a 25-yard gain on the right sideline on a screen pass, the tight end grabbing 3 yards behind the line of scrimmage early in the first quarter.

Jennings also got a piece from linebacker Deion Jones, but Aiyuk turned Terrell towards the sideline with a joint block that would have made Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams proud.

Shanahan said they practiced the game several times during the week to determine the correct spacing and timing.

“If they were half a second away – Jauan or Aiyuk – Kittle would have taken a pretty big hit in the backfield,” Shanahan said.

The 49ers special teams struggled. Most notably, JaMycal Hasty missed the opening kick-off and didn’t do much better on his second chance when Younghoe Koo’s kick bounced off the 10, hit Hasty in the face mask and kicked off. bounced out of bounds at 9.

Considering Hasty’s issues, it’s fair to say that the Falcons – not the 49ers – made the biggest special teams blunder on Sunday.

Instead of forcing the precarious Hasty to keep returning the kicks, Koo inexplicably started his last two kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.

Eric Branch covers the 49ers for The San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @Eric_Branch