The San Francisco 49ers have now lost four straight games by a total of 11 points. Despite their 0-5 record, this is progress, One could make the argument that they are a decent quarterback away from being 4-1 or 3-2, but it doesn’t matter, because that’s not where they are.
“You just need to deal with it,” said head coach Kyle Shanahan. “I mean, it is what it is. You accept responsibility for it. We’ve had the opportunity to win all four games, and in those games we came up short. And I would say, as a head coach, it starts with me. We had opportunities there and we didn’t get it done again. So, I will say the same thing that I have been saying these past few weeks – that there is nothing you can do but go back to work and get better.”
At this point for this team, who lost their second straight overtime game, this one to the Colts, 26-23, this season is not about wins and losses. It’s about evaluation of talent, or the lack thereof. It’s about rebuilding a franchise. It’s about finding the positives in an 0-5 team. And it very well could be about the #1 draft pick.
49ers fans could also cheer for Frank Gore, who passed Eric Dickerson for seventh on the NFL’s all-time rushing list.
The Kids Are Alright
Rookie George Kittle has been fighting injuries since training camp, but today he proved why he’s the 49ers’ number one tight end. On the final drive of regulation, Kittle could not have been more clutch.
After a Kyle Juszcyk touchdown got the 49ers to within a score of the Colts, quarterback Brian Hoyer found his man in the tight end who had a 19-yard reception on 4th and 1. Kittle went on to score a five-yarder on fourth and goal that sent the game to overtime. Overall, Kittle finished the day with seven receptions for 83 yards and the TD.
“We have high expectations for Kittle,” said Shanahan. “He has been battling through some injuries, but he has done some good things for us in the run and pass game. And on that last drive in the last quarter he showed up big time for us.”
Rookie running back Matt Breida also showed up big time, finishing the game with 22 yards receiving and 49 yards rushing. Late in the game, the 49ers showed a lot of confidence in the young back, putting him in over Carlos Hyde, which Shanahan said was not about Hyde’s lingering oblique injury. He said they went with the “hot hand” and the hot hand was Breida. Granted this shows that the 49ers’ running game isn’t exactly setting the world on fire.
Both of these players have done 5 Fun Facts. I’m not saying it’s a coincidence. I’m not saying it’s not.
The QB Conundrum
So, Brian Hoyer. He’s not all that good, but is C.J. Beathard really any better? Hoyer finished the day 29-of-46 for 353 yards and two touchdowns. And in the fourth quarter with the 49ers down 23-9 and not having scored a touchdown since Sept. 21, he went to work with 170 yards and two touchdowns on the final two drives of the fourth quarter. He led the 49ers to overtime; he just couldn’t lead them to victory.
The 49ers were 4-14 on third down, which is not going to win anything for anybody. The Niner offense couldn’t capitalize on Ray-Ray Armstrong’s interception in overtime, all but giving the Colts the win on Adam Vinatier’s 51-yard FG.
Hoyer will remain the starter. However, if things go awry in DC, and they will most likely go awry in DC, we may start seeing some Beathard game time snaps. Stay tuned.
The 49er defense, which had been a bright spot, did not have a good day. There were multiple blown gap coverages, one that allowed Marlon Mack to get to the goal line and one that allowed Jacoby Brissett to score. The secondary has been a problem all season, but up until today, the run defense had not.
Linebacker NaVorro Bowman led the team with 10 tackles. He had a “stinger” in the first half of the game and he was kept out a fair portion of the game after that.
According to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, Bowman was not exactly thrilled about that decision, saying, “They’re doing what they want to do, and . . . I don’t know. I don’t like it. Nobody likes coming out of the game, but I’m a team player…They told me. But it’s hard to do that in the midst of a tough game. No player likes being taken out.”
The last thing this team needs is coach vs. player controversy, but this probably isn’t the last we’ll hear of this.
And Pence Missed All of It
Vice-President Pence tweeted that he left the game after multiple 49ers players knelt during the National Anthem.
And here is Eric Reid’s response, care of Jennifer Lee Chan:
— Jennifer Lee Chan (@jenniferleechan) October 8, 2017
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And the 49ers are off to the Nation’s Capital next week. Go Niners!