Top 5 takeaways from 49ers' 34-17 loss to Buccaneers
One win, six losses entering bye
The 49ers’ losing streak hit six games on Sunday with the lackluster 34-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium. The 49ers bolted out to a two-touchdown lead in the first quarter before folding and going home.
Things are obviously going downhill quickly, as the 49ers have taken an obvious step backward from Jim Tomsula’s one and only season as head coach. As a reward, coach Chip Kelly gave his team the entire week off...
5) Maintaining interest
With all due respect to outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, the 49ers do not have “one of the best teams in the NFL, easily.” Through seven weeks, this 49ers team is down there with the Cleveland Browns for the worst team in the league, easily. This could end up as one of the worst teams in San Francisco franchise history.
The number of no-shows at Levi’s Stadium was alarming. The fans have grown either completely disinterested or increasingly incensed at the product that takes the field. It is difficult to imagine that the pieces are in places on the roster and coaching staff to stop the downward spiral. For everyone involved, yes, the bye comes at the perfect time.
4) Third-quarter meltdown
The biggest indictment of the coaching staff is the team’s typical third-quarter incompetency. Sure, halftime is only 12 minutes. Good teams make adjustments between series. But halftime serves as the best opportunity to lay out a game plan for the second half based on what occurred during the first 30 minutes of football.
This season, the 49ers have been outscored 58-10 in the third quarter of games. That does not reflect well on Chip Kelly or defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil. The 49ers have actually outscored the opposition in the first quarter, but once teams get a taste of what the 49ers are doing, the tide turns swiftly. Opponents have outscored the 49ers 68-41 in the second quarter, heading into the locker room. And that’s when things get really bad for the 49ers.
3) First-rounders struggle
DeForest Buckner, the No. 7 overall pick, played 97 percent of the 49ers’ snaps against the Buccaneers. That’s an unusually high number for a defensive lineman. Joshua Garnett, chosen at No. 38 overall, made his second start at right guard since replacing Andrew Tiller. He played every snap.
The problem is that neither of the 49ers’ first-round picks was particularly effective. Buckner, at 6 foot 7, gives opposing offensive linemen a big target. He routinely got shoved off the ball and could not disengage from blockers. Garnett was called for a holding penalty and surrendered one sack and five QB pressures against Tampa Bay’s Gerald McCoy, according to Pro Football Focus.
2) Run defense
It does not matter whether it’s Fozzy Whitaker or LeSean McCoy, the 49ers’ run defense can’t stop anybody. The Buccaneers were without their top back, Doug Martin, but that did not matter. Tampa Bay entered the game with the league’s 27th-ranked run game. On Sunday, it was Jacquizz Rodgers’ turn to have a career day.
The 49ers’ defensive line gets shoved around, can’t get off blocks and the inside linebackers are not at an NFL-starting-caliber level. After Rodgers’ career-best 154-yard day, the 49ers are surrendering, on average, 185.1 yards a game. That puts the 49ers on pace to give up 2,962 rushing yards this season – the most since the 1980 New Orleans Saints yielded 3,106 yards on the ground.
1) Baalke’s blindspot
The 49ers’ weaknesses of a year ago were never addressed sufficiently in the offseason. The biggest problem with the roster is that 49ers have no answer at quarterback – and nobody to develop for future seasons. In Trent Baalke’s second draft, the team selected Colin Kaepernick in the second round. After that, Baalke picked QBs almost as afterthoughts: B.J. Daniels (2013, seventh round) and Jeff Driskel (2016, sixth round).
Colin Kaepernick is certainly not solely to blame for the 49ers’ issues the past two weeks. But it looks as if there’s not a lot to separate him from Blaine Gabbert at this stage of their careers with this supporting cast. Christian Ponder could get a chance at some point. But it's clear there is no long-term starter on the roster.