49ers' offense unable to identify, fix second-half issues

49ers' offense unable to identify, fix second-half issues

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers have failed to score any points in the second halves of their past three games.

The 49ers’ season-long problems after halftime have taken on epic proportions as the team’s losing streak has reached an incomprehensible 13 consecutive games heading into Saturday's matchup against the Los Angeles Rams.

And, clearly, the 49ers are short on answers why their production has fallen off as each game progresses. The 49ers have scored first in 10 of their 14 games this season. Three times along the way, the 49ers blew 14-0 leads.

“I don’t know the answer to that,” 49ers offensive lineman Zane Beadles said. “You can’t be one team in the first half and another team in the second half if you expect to win football games. I have no explanation for you.”

The second-half struggles of quarterback Colin Kaepernick have been most noteworthy.

In the first half of his nine starts, Kaepernick is completing 71.7 percent of his 120 pass attempts for 1,072 yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions. His passer rating is 119.9.

But in the second half, Kaepernick’s completion percentage has fallen to 42.6 percent. He has just 675 yards passing on 148 attempts with three touchdowns and one interception. His passer rating is 60.5 percent.

The 49ers have scored just 23 points in the third quarter this season.

“It’s something that we have to be able to come out and make plays,” Kaepernick said. “There are opportunities on the field and we have opportunities to create more opportunities.

“We can’t take any opportunity for granted when we have it. Whether it’s a third down conversion, whether it’s being able to pick up a few more yards on first or second down, all of those things count, especially for us right now where we haven’t played as well in the second half. We have to do everything we can and pick up every yard we can on every play in order to be better there.”

Coach Chip Kelly blamed the abundance of dropped passes for much of the 49ers’ offensive woes after halftime.

“It’s not the same guy, so it’s obviously right across the board,” Kelly said. “But offensively one of the biggest things that have hurt us are the drops.

“We go through the whole thing. The one thing you can’t control sometimes. There are guys open and Colin is putting the ball on them. And, now, we’re not catching the football.”

And when Kaepernick is off-target with his passes, Kelly said some of that could be blamed on a need for him to deliver the perfect, catchable pass to his unreliable targets.

“Some of that is mental, too,” Kelly said. “When you get a drop, sometimes the quarterback now you lose a little confidence and I’m going to try to place the ball. Now I become a little more inaccurate because I want to make sure . . . some of it kind of compounds itself.”

Kelly said he and his coaching staff have not been able to identity a specific, fixable solution on which to focus to prevent the offense’s second-half problems.

49ers host two free-agent cornerbacks


49ers host two free-agent cornerbacks

The 49ers hosted two veteran cornerbacks on free-agent visits the past two days and could be signing either Jaylen Watkins or LaDarius Gunter as they wind down their activity on the free-agent market.

“We’re really pleased with what we’ve done,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said Thursday. “I’ll never say never. We’ve had a couple of guys visit in the last couple of days. Perhaps we’ll do something there. But for the most part, we’re wrapped up and pleased with what we’ve been able to do.”

The 49ers do not have much depth behind presumptive starting cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon. The team is also likely to add to its depth in the draft.

The 49ers met with Gunter (6-foot-2, 201 pounds) on Thursday. Gunter, 25, started 15 games for the Green Bay Packers in 2016. He recorded 54 tackles and broke up 12 passes. He signed with the Packers in 2015 as an undrafted rookie from Miami.

Gunter was waived at the beginning of last season and the Carolina Panthers claimed him. He appeared in just four games with Carolina, which did not tender him as a restricted free agent.

The 49ers on Wednesday met with Watkins, 26, a versatile defensive back who appeared in 36 games with five starts in four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Watkins (5-11, 195) played three snaps on defense and 17 plays on special teams in the Eagles’ 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 4. He entered the NFL in 2014 as a fourth-round draft pick from Florida.

Eric Reid discusses free-agent status, 'going to consider different ways to be active'


Eric Reid discusses free-agent status, 'going to consider different ways to be active'

STANFORD – Free-agent safety Eric Reid chatted with 49ers general manager John Lynch on the sideline, then moved into position onto the field for an up-close view of his brother’s pro day workout Thursday at Stanford University.

Younger brother, Justin, is aiming to be a first-round draft pick like Eric, whom the 49ers selected with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2013 draft.

Both football futures of the Reid brothers remain uncertain. Justin's fate will be determined on draft day. Eric Reid remains in limbo as an NFL free agent. He has not gotten any action in the first week of free agency, and the 49ers have not made him a contract offer, he said.

But Lynch said the 49ers are closely monitoring Reid’s situation. However, the organization already has three safeties they like: Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert.

“Eric played and played well for us last year,” Lynch said. “I think he’s stuck in a safety market that’s been quiet. And I would anticipate things starting to shake for him and we’ll see.

“I’d never say never. I really do think opportunities will start to come his way. We’ve been monitoring it closely and we’ll see how that shakes out.”

Reid, 26, a six-year NFL veteran, said his agent has spoken recently to “a couple of teams,” but no contracts or visits have been proposed.

Reid’s market might be impacted by his up-front role in the protests of racial inequality of the past two seasons. Reid and Colin Kaepernick were the first players to take a knee during the national anthem at the beginning of the 2016 season.

Reid said he would probably not take part in any future protests during the national anthem.

“From the beginning, Colin has been flexible,” Reid said. “He started by sitting. He changed it up. We decided to kneel. And we understand that you got to change with the times. So I’m not saying I’m going to stop being active, because I won’t. I’m just going to consider different ways to be active, different ways to bring awareness to the issues of this country to improve on.

“I don’t think it’ll be in the form of protesting during the anthem. And I said ‘during’ because it’s crazy to me that the narrative got changed to we were protesting the anthem, because that wasn’t the case. But I think we’re going to take a different approach to how to be active.”

Reid said he has no regrets. He said he is willing to deal with the consequences of how NFL teams viewed his role in the protests.

“I stand by what I’ve done,” Reid said. “I know why I’ve done it. My faith in God is the reason. I can go to sleep at night confident I did what I was called to do. I’m just gong to stay positive and keep trying to stay in shape and wait and see what happens.

“I said at the end of last season I’m OK no matter what happens.”