by Daisy Barringer
I’ll admit it: There was a minute or two during the first quarter of yesterday’s 49ers game when I thought maybe everything I thought about this team’s offense was wrong. Blaine Gabbert looked impressive. He was converting third downs, completing passes (7-of-9 for 109 yards and 1 TD), and seemed to understand for the first time where the first-down marker was and that it was a thing the ball needed to reach. And while I guess that should have made me happy, the truth is, all I could think was that this was going to ruin everything. That Gabbert was going to have a great game and then Chip Kelly would have no reason to even consider replacing him.
Luckily, if that’s the right word, everything went back to normal pretty quickly and Gabbert reminded everyone just how mediocre of a quarterback he really is. Of course, Chip Kelly is still saying he thought Gabbert played well, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to hear that from a coach who has been a total disappointment since the day he arrived in
San Francisco Santa Clara. The truth is, it doesn’t matter if Gabbert had some good moments in the first quarter because he barely had any in the final three quarters. And last I checked, a football game is sixty minutes long and you have to perform well for all of it. Last I checked, that means you can’t throw an interception when you’re driving down the field with a chance to go up. And last I checked, it means you can’t throw the ball three yards on 4th-and-6 when you’re down by 7 with less than two minutes left.
But that’s exactly what Gabbert did, which is the reason the 49ers lost to a mediocre Cowboys football team and are now 1-3. Translation: We’re only four games into the season, but our season is
pretty much over.
I didn’t actually go to the game yesterday. Yes, I’m a season ticket holder, but some chump (probably a Cowboys’ fan) was willing to pay me double the face value and also I HATE LEVI’S STADIUM and never want to go there again. I remember a time when going to a 49ers game was the one thing I looked forward to every week. I’d wake up early to take the bus to Candlestick and walk around the parking lot reveling in the excitement. Yes, even when we seriously sucked. But now. Ugh. Going to the game just isn’t fun. Maybe it’s because I am more cynical than ever. Maybe it’s because I hate driving. Maybe it’s because Jed York destroyed the organization and everything that was good about it. (Probably it’s that.) All I know is that there’s not one part of me that’s bummed I wasn’t there yesterday to watch us lose our third straight game. Not one part of me is sad I didn’t witness the Cowboys fans taking over our stadium. Am I partly to blame for that happening? Sure. But it’s up to the 49ers front office and players to make the fans want to show up. And right now they’re doing a terrible job at that. So I’m not going to spend my entire day at their soulless, sterile stadium. (Speaking of: Who wants to buy my Thursday Night Football tickets? Oh. No one? Yeah, that’s what I thought. FML.)
Are there some things to be happy about? I feel like I’m supposed to come up with some, so here goes. Um Carlos Hyde had some good runs? The offensive line didn’t totally suck? Torrey Smith looks like he could take off for the end zone if he had a quarterback who didn’t insist on throwing every ball either short or low?
Ultimately, there’s a lot more to be upset about. Like the fact that the 49ers squandered a 14-0 lead. That Eric Reid dropped an easy interception. And that NaVorro Bowman was carted to the locker room with a lower leg injury.
I think that last one stings the most. As I write this, we don’t know the extent of Bowman’s injury. But based on the way things have been going for this team, I’m going to assume it’s not good. That we’ll lose the one bright spot on our defense for the season and possibly forever. (Yes, I’m feeling dramatic this morning. No, I don’t think it’s a bit much.)
There are going to be people who say that we lost the game because of the refs. Certainly the unnecessary roughness penalty on Jaquiski Tartt when the Niners had just sacked rookie QB Dak Prescott was a total b.s. flag. Prescott wasn’t down. Tartt didn’t hear the whistle. He was doing his job. The Cowboys scored a touchdown on that drive and the 49ers never got their momentum back. And yes, that call was brutal. But again, a football game is 60 minutes long. There are always going to be bad calls. Winning teams don’t let those bad calls define the outcome of the game. The 49ers, however
So what’s next for this craptastic team? I still think that Gabbert will start on Thursday against the Cardinals, but that he’ll lose his starting spot to Kaepernick after that. At least that’s what should happen. Who knows what Chip Kelly is thinking or how much his decisions are controlled by the front office
Will Kaepernick be any better that Gabbert? Obviously, I can’t say. But I think it would be hard to be any worse.
Next Week: The (1-3) Arizona Cardinals come to Levi’s Stadium to play the (1-3) 49ers on Thursday night. A match-up between the two worst teams in the NFC West. Should be ratings gold! I plan to drink heavily. At a bar.
Seriously: someone please buy my tickets.
Follow Daisy Barringer @daisy on Twitter.