by Daisy Barringer
Last week the 49ers lost and I was bothered by the fact that I wasn’t sad. This week, the 49ers won and I’m bothered by the fact that I’m not happy. Don’t get me wrong; I wanted the Niners to win I’m not one of those people who roots for losses in lieu of a better draft pick even if that’s the most practical thing to do. I guess I just realize how ultimately, in the bigger scheme of things, this win means nothing.
Actually, that’s not true. It means nothing in terms of the playoffs. The (3-6) 49ers aren’t going to win their next seven straight and suddenly be Super Bowl contenders, regardless of how good Blaine Gabbert looked yesterday against what turned out to be a much more mediocre Falcons team than people realized. It does mean, for better or for worse, there’s pretty much no chance that Colin Kaepernick stays with the team next season. And, let’s be real: the 49ers aren’t going to make Blaine Gabbert a starting quarterback (except, ohmygod, York and Baalke are so terrible at their jobs that maybe they would?), so who is going to come in and lead this team? Maybe we’ll pick up someone great in the draft, oh wait, we just blew our pick.
This 49ers team is so broken right now, it’s hard to know what to think. There were so many guys on the field yesterday who a few weeks ago were either unknown or watching NFL on their couches that if the 49ers did go to the Super Bowl and win, Disney would definitely make a movie about it. (Again: NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.) We literally were without our top three running backs, our best receiver, and three of our four best cornerbacks. Oh, not to mention the flood of 49ers who departed in the off-season and Vernon Davis who was traded to the Broncos last week (not that VD has done much lately though I wish him nothing but the best in Denver). The fact that this rag-tag group of dudes being lead by a QB the entire world had written off managed to pull out a win is really impressive; I don’t want to take away from that. (Even though seriously: it’s totally meaningless.)
So, uh yeah: Let’s at least acknowledge some of the great performances because being all doom and gloom all of the time is not fun.
Blaine Gabbert who was the back-up QB until a few days ago threw for 185 yards (despite several dumb drops by receivers) and passed for two TDs. (He also threw two INTs, but only one was really his fault.) He also wasn’t sacked, which I think is one of the most interesting takeaways. Does our offensive line still have a lot of work to do? Yes. But does the fact that Blaine Gabbert was literally quick on his feet reflect poorly on Kap who was sacked 28 times in the previous eight games? Uh yeah.
Shaun Draughn was the starting RB and ran for 58 yards on 16 attempts, an impressive feat considering he literally wasn’t on a team last week and has played for eight different NFL teams since 2011. Also his name is really fun to say, which makes me happy.
Quinton Patton looked solid with three catches for 70 yards.
NaVorro Bowman had a big game with seven tackles and a sack. In fact, the entire defense looked pretty tight, holding Atlanta to one touchdown AND Devonta Freeman who was the league’s leading rusher to 12 yards on 12 attempts.
Still, do the Niners win if Dan Quinn doesn’t kick that field goal when the Falcons were down four points and on the 2-yard-line with under three minutes left to play? Certainly, it’s not as easy of a win. Quinn opted to kick a field goal that left the Falcons still down by one with NO guarantee they’d get the ball back instead of going for it to put Atlanta up by three points. I was under the impression that coaches had calculations for all of these scenarios so as to leave those types of decisions up to math, not a human hunch, but maybe that’s not true? In fact, it must not be true because kicking the field goal literally doesn’t make any mathematical sense. SB Nation goes into way more depth as to why here.
So yeah, the Niners won because we played a lot better than we had in recent weeks, but also cause the Falcons’ coach is a dummy. Facts are facts.
And here are some even more sad facts before I let you go:
The 49ers aren’t going to continue to win games just because Blaine Gabbert is starting. (And, yes, he will start against Seattle after the bye.) Because no matter who is in at quarterback, Jed York and Trent Baalke are still running this team. And this team is broken right now in almost every single area. One of the biggest of which is coaching. And unless York and Baalke are willing to make huge changes in that arena, I don’t see the 49ers having a winning season next year either.
We won yesterday, yes. But that doesn’t mean that Tomsula, Chryst, or Mangini have what it takes to make good, smart, football decisions in the future. Last week I said the 49ers first step was to bench Kap. They did that. The next step is to replace the coaches, which may or may not happen since, for whatever reason, the puppeteers seem to like Tomsula. But even if the coaching staff does get a total overhaul in the offseason, the final step for 49ers success is to get rid of Jed York. And that’s never ever going to happen. Like: ever.
Guess we should all start rooting for the Raiders. At least until they move to L.A.
Next week: BYE! You know what that means
a chance to watch actual GOOD football without the distraction of the 49ers. The week after that? The 49ers play in Seattle where we will almost certainly get our asses handed to us.