MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The 49ers on Sunday earned a piece of club history – the ignominious kind.
The franchise, which opened for business in 1946, lost for the 10th consecutive time to stand alone as the longest streak of futility the organization has ever endured.
The Miami Dolphins on Sunday took advantage of a couple of critical 49ers mistakes then held off a late charge en route to a 31-24 victory that erased the woeful 1978 team from San Francisco’s record book.
The 49ers had a chance to score a potential game-tying touchdown in the final seconds, but quarterback Colin Kaepernick was stopped just short of the goal line by the Dolphins' defense as time expired.
A season that started with promise – a 28-0 victory over the Los Angeles Rams – has completely blown apart on first-year coach Chip Kelly. The 49ers are 1-10 entering next week’s game at the Chicago Bears.
In a season in which the team is reliving the same recipe for disaster every week, it was more of the same on Sunday.
While Kaepernick continued to play well as the 49ers’ top offensive threat, whether he’s running or pass, he did not get a whole lot of help from his targets on the other end.
Tight end Garrett Celek lost a fumble in the first half to thwart a 49ers scoring chance. And on the first playoff the second half, wide receiver Torrey Smith let a pass deflect off his hands for an interception.
Those miscues led to 10 points for the Dolphins, who improved to 7-4 under first-year coach Adam Gase. The Dolphins extended their win streak to six games.
The 49ers in 2015 passed on Gase, who was a finalist for the head-coaching job. Instead, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke settled on Jim Tomsula, who was promoted from his position as defensive line coach to replace Jim Harbaugh.
Tomsula was fired after the 49ers went 5-11 in his only season. The Dolphins hired Gase in January, while the 49ers tabbed Kelly to replace Tomsula.
Now, the 49ers are actually worse under Kelly.
In a script that has been repeated often this season, the 49ers actually started off strong and competitive on Sunday.
After the 49ers’ defense produced a three-and-out on the Dolphins first possession, Kaepernick and the 49ers offense took the field to a chorus of boos from the crowd. But Kaepernick quickly silenced jeers when he picked up 14 yards on a run play on the 49ers’ first play.
The 49ers put together an impressive opening drive, marching 62 yards on eight plays, capped by Kaepernick’s 11-yard touchdown pass to running back Carlos Hyde.
It was Hyde’s 40th career reception and his first NFL receiving touchdown.
In the second half, Kaepernick had short touchdown passes to Celek of 4 yards and Smith of 1 yard.
Kaepernick had another solid showing for the 49ers. He completed 29 of 46 pass attempts for 296 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Kaepernick also led the 49ers in rushing with 113 yards on 10 carries.
Kaepernick is fifth player since the 1970 merger with 100 rush yards rushing and three touchdown passes in a game. Randall Cunningham, Michael Vick, Cam Newton and Marcus Mariota each previously accomplished the feat.
However, Miami got a huge day from quarterback Ryan Tannehill on a day in which the 49ers' run defense slowed down running back Jay Ajayi. Tannehill was spectacular in picking the 49ers apart. He completed 20 of 30 passes for 285 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
49ers injury report
Linebacker Shayne Skov, a second-year player from Stanford, sustained a knee injury late in the first half and was ruled out from returning to the action against the Miami Dolphins.
Wide receiver Quinton Patton was diagnosed with a concussion in the third quarter. He must go through the NFL’s return-to-play protocol to be cleared to play in next week’s game against the Chicago Bears.
Skov was injured while covering a punt late in the first half. He required assistance to leave the field from the 49ers' medical staff.
Skov has appeared in nine games this season, mostly on special teams. He played a handful of snaps on Sunday at middle linebacker in the first half when Nick Bellore left briefly with an injury.
Squandering a chance
The 49ers’ offense was putting together a good drive in the second quarter when Celek fumbled at the end of a 15-yard pass play. Cornerback Byron Maxwell forced the fumble and linebacker Kiko Alonso made the recovery.
The 49ers had driven 59 yards from their 25-yard line before the turnover. Kaepernick picked up 30 yards on a scramble on a third-down play to extend the drive.
The Dolphins took over and immediately drove 84 yards on 11 plays to score the go-ahead touchdown.
This ‘n’ that
--The 49ers received a brief reprieve when Tannehill’s 10-yard pass to DeVante Parker, originally ruled as a touchdown, was overturned on review. Referee Ron Torbert determined Parker’s hand touched out of bounds before his second foot landed inbounds.
Two plays later, Ajaji beat 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold around the left edge on a pitch to score a 2-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-all.
--The Dolphins took a 14-7 lead late in the first half on Tannehill’s 16-yard pass to tight end Dion Sims between Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt.
--Tannehill hit Kenny Stills on a 43-yard pass for a 24-14 lead in the third quarter. Tannehill squeezed the pass into Stills along the left sideline before safety Antoine Bethea could get there to cover the play.
--The Dolphins lead was extended to 31-14 on Tannehill’s 15-yard pass to rookie wide receiver Leonte Carroo early in the fourth quarter.
--Cornerback Jimmie Ward was cleared to play in the game after being in the NFL’s concussion return-to-play protocol all week. He returned to the starting lineup.
--Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch (ankle) and defensive lineman Quinton Dial (knee and neck) were delared inactive for the game.
--The Dolphins did not have three of their starting offensive linemen available for the game. Left tackle Branden Albert (wrist), left guard Laremy Tunsil (shoulder) and center Mike Pouncey (hip) were all inactive due to injuries.
--Rookie defensive lineman Ronald Blair recorded his first unassisted sack of the season. His third-quarter sack gave him 1.5 sacks on the season. The 9-yard sack pushed the Dolphins out of field-goal range.