SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The move from Blaine Gabbert to Colin Kaepernick has done little to spark San Francisco’s struggling offense. There seems to be nothing can be done to fix the porous run defense.
Kaepernick threw for just 143 yards and turned the ball over twice in a second straight subpar start and the 49ers got gashed again on the ground in a 34-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that sent San Francisco to its sixth straight loss.
“I have to be better,” Kaepernick said. “I think we threw for about 100 yards. That’s not going to win in the NFL. We have to be able to do better on that and ultimately, we have to string this together as a team and play well as a team for 60 minutes to get wins.”
After getting the 49ers (1-6) off to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter with a sharp first drive and a 17-yard touchdown pass to Shaun Draughn on San Francisco’s fourth possession, Kaepernick managed to do little against the Tampa Bay defense the rest of the way.
He completed just 16 of 34 passes — his second straight game with a completion percentage under 50 percent — and had most of his success with his legs instead of his arm, running for 84 yards on nine carries.
After allowing an NFL-worst 4.5 yards per play in five games with Gabbert as starter, the Niners are averaging 4.5 yards per play with Kaepernick as well.
“It’s a combination of the protection, the drops, and not putting the ball where it needed to be,” coach Chip Kelly sad. “It wasn’t just one thing.”
On defense, it’s been an inability to stop the run ever since shutting down Todd Gurley and the Los Angeles Rams in a 28-0 win in the season opener.
Since then, the Niners have allowed six straight backs to top the 100-yard mark with Jacquizz Rodgers the latest to join that club with 156 yards on 24 carries Sunday. Rookie Peyton Barber added 84 more, including a 44-yard touchdown run , as San Francisco gave up 249 yards on the ground for the game.
That follows last week’s 313 yards rushing allowed to Buffalo as San Francisco has allowed its most yards ever in back-to-back games in a single season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Niners are on pace to give up the most yards rushing in the NFL since the 1981 New England Patriots.
“Of course I am frustrated with it,” linebacker Ahmad Brooks said. “You play this game to win. When we give up points the way that we do, the way we give up yards, it is just unacceptable. It is frustrating.”
The Niners now head into the bye on their longest losing streak in eight years. Despite the struggles, first-year coach Chip Kelly said he has no plans to shake up his coaching staff during the week off.
“What you’ve got to do is you’ve got to find the solution,” Kelly said. “I think if you continue to try to just get mad and get angry and all those other things, it’s not going to help you. What you need to do is you need to find a solution to identify what exactly the specific thing that’s gone wrong and how do we fix that. That’s what we’re trying to do right now.”