The San Francisco 49ers continued the nightmare season with their franchise-record 13th consecutive loss versus the Atlanta Falcons, 13-41. The 49ers have been in a freefall since reaching the Super Bowl just a few seasons ago. The hiring of Chip Kelly just has not worked.
Fans were not too pleased when Jim Tomsula was promoted to head coach two years back but at least he won five games in his lone season at the 49ers’ helm. Kelly had three years with the Philadelphia Eagles to prepare for this debacle in the Bay Area but even he could have foreseen something as bad as this.
Had it not been for Week 1’s victory against the Los Angeles Rams, a win that seems ages ago, the NFL would have an unprecedented state where two teams (the other is the Cleveland Browns) would be 0-14.
However, the Browns have an excuse for being bad as they have been forced to start five different quarterbacks this season due to injury. The 49ers started the season with Blaine Gabbert but benched him due to ineffectiveness in favor of former standout Colin Kaepernick. The problem is not the players. In the loss against the Falcons, Kaepernick did throw for 183 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, and 21 yards rushing. He had an efficient 95.9 quarterback rating (QGR).
Winners and Losers: Who’s stepping up as the season reaches its close?
Mailbag:: What’s up with all the “cheating”?
Power Rankings:: The playoff picture is still hazy with two picks left
49ers Lose In Atlanta: San Francisco loses badly to the Falcons 41-13
Jed York: A millinnial who has lost his team
As the losses pile up, the locker room is in disarray with the players losing respect for Chip Kelly. In yet another game, Kelly started the 49ers drive in the two-minute drill. This sporadic, non-huddle offense for the majority of the game caused the 49ers to have only 23 minutes for time-of-possession, versus the Falcons’ 36 minutes. The 49ers just are not fast enough to run a no-huddle offense throughout the game. Also, they are not strong enough on the offensive line to give Kaepernick to make decisions in the pocket or block when Carlos Hyde gets the ball. Hyde finished the game with 71 yards on just 13 carries, for an average of 5.5 yards per rush. However, he never got into the end zone and his longest run was only for 17 yards.
At the start of the season, the lingering question was would this be a breakout year for Hyde. He started off his career with promise. As the backup to 49ers mainstay Frank Gore, Hyde ran for 333 yards on just 83 carries in the 2014 season. The 49ers released Gore, hoping Hyde would fill the gap but he got injured and missed much of last season. While he’s averaging 4.7 yards per carry this year and should eclipse the 1,000+ yard mark, Hyde only has 6 touchdowns.
For Hyde to really be successful, he needs to be a better power runner and bully his way into the end zone. The 49ers need points and relying on Kaepernick to connect with a rookie-core of wide receivers is not a healthy goal for scoring.
Against the Falcons, the 49ers lost wide receiver Quinton Patton, linebacker Nick Bellore, tight end Blake Bell and cornerback Jimmie Ward to injuries. Patton and Bellore were hurt and left in the first half. Bell and Ward were ruled out early in the second half. Their status is uncertain moving forward so the 49ers will be heavily depleted heading into next week’s game.
As the season winds to its end, Kaepernick has showed glances of his past while Hyde too has demonstrated he can run. But the 49ers need the proper players around them to build a winning atmosphere. One thing is for sure, Chip Kelly won’t be around to piece together that puzzle. Players are not motivated to play under him.