TAMPA, Fla. -- An already horrible weekend for the 49ers turned even worse when it was time to play the game for which they had traveled across the country.

The 49ers got a strong game from running back Matt Breida upon his return to his home area. But aside from Breida’s 106 yards on 14 carries, the 49ers showed little else in a 27-9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

The 49ers took another step closer to securing the No. 1 overall draft pick, falling to 2-9 on the season. The Bucs improved to 4-7 after snapping a four-game losing streak.

Quarterback Nick Mullens had a difficult time getting anything going in his third start, completing 18 of 32 passes for just 221 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. Mullens, who wasn't sacked in his first two games, was dropped four times for minus-28 yards.

Here are three quick takeaways from Sunday’s loss to the Bucs:

Message sent with release of Foster

Reuben Foster was selected in the first round of the 2017 draft because the 49ers believed his unique on-field skills were enough to offset any risks associated with his character and a well-known shoulder condition.

But when the 49ers parted ways with the linebacker Sunday -- just hours after he was arrested at the team hotel for probable cause of domestic violence -- the message was sent to the entire team.


General manager John Lynch said he wasn't in a position to speculate on the guilt or innocence of Foster, only that the second-year pro again placed himself in an easily avoidable situation.

“One of our tenets is, ‘Protect the team.’ He didn’t protect the team,” Lynch said before kickoff. “Nobody is bigger than the team. As talented of a player that he was, as many positive steps as he was making, we felt this was the best decision to make.”

Coach Kyle Shanahan addressed the team in the locker room before the game to explain the decision to release Foster. Lynch said he believed the team was in the right mental frame of mind to play.

Young receivers get their chances

Kendrick Bourne and Dante Pettis were in the 49ers' starting lineup with veteran wide receivers Pierre Garçon and Marquise Goodwin unavailable for the game. Garçon was ruled out with a knee injury for the third time in the past four games, and Goodwin was excused to return back to the Bay Area to deal with a personal matter.

In the first half, Bourne and Pettis combined for only one reception. But that catch went for a touchdown. Pettis caught a short slant in the second quarter and turned it into a 13-yard score to pull the 49ers within 7-6 after Robbie Gould’s missed extra-point attempt.

Pettis finished with four receptions for 77 yards, and Bourne caught two passes for 27 yards.

Stuffed at the goal line

For several moments, it appeared undrafted rookie running back Jeff Wilson had scored his first career touchdown in his first game and pulled the 49ers into a tie in the third quarter.

Instead, referee John Parry spotted the ball a half-yard short of the goal line after a video review following the first-down play. Matt Breida was stopped on second down. And quarterback Nick Mullens was stood up on a sneak attempt.

Both plays could have been ruled touchdowns, but the latter held up to a video review. On fourth down, George Kittle was called for a false start, which prompted Shanahan to call on Robbie Gould for a short field goal.

The 49ers entered the game with the No. 28 red-zone offense, scoring touchdowns on just 46.9 percent of trips inside opponents' 20-yard line. Tampa Bay’s red-zone defense was the worst in the NFL, allowing TDs on 88.9 percent of the opportunities.

But the Bucs seized the moment after holding the 49ers to a field goal. Tampa Bay scored touchdowns on back-to-back possessions to blow the game open.