SANTA CLARA – The 49ers are locked in as the last-place team in the NFC West, and their opponent in the season finale is the third-place team in the division with a chance to get to the .500 mark.

But 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert views Sunday’s otherwise-meaningless game at Levi’s Stadium as, not only the first game of 2016, but, an early beginning to next season.

“It’s huge to build momentum going into the offseason program, momentum into next season,” Gabbert said. “You want to end the season strong. You want to hang your hat on something positive. It’s a big game for a lot of people.”

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After going 2-6 in the first eight games of the season, the 49ers are 2-5 with Gabbert as the starting quarterback. Statistically, he ranks 27th in the NFL with a passer rating of 86.1. Colin Kaepernick, whom Gabbert replaced, is 32nd with a rating of 78.5.

The 49ers have had a difficult time stringing together four quarters of football. After scoring 17 points in the first half Sunday against the Detroit Lions, the 49ers fell flat with no points in the final 30 minutes.

But Gabbert said he believes the offense has done some things on which they can build for the future.

“We didn’t win a lot of games, but I feel like we’ve been playing pretty clean football and not making a lot of mental errors, not making a lot of critical errors,” he said. “At the end of the day, I have to do more to win games. I know that. We all know that. That’s what we’re looking to do this week.”


Gabbert said he has not had much interaction with Kaepernick, who was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 21 after opting for season-ending surgery on his non-throwing shoulder.

“He’s rehabbing right now,” Gabbert said. “I’m going about my same routine with Dylan (Thompson) and (Bethel-Thompson) and coach (Steve) Logan and the offensive staff, and that’s the biggest thing I’m worried about. I’m worried about being accountable to my teammates and the guys who are out there on Sundays.”

Gabbert said he does not plan to work with a private quarterback coach during the period of the offseason when coaches are unable to have any contact with players. He said he will stick to his own routine before reporting back to Santa Clara for the team’s offseason program.

“I’m eager to get back into it,” Gabbert said. “I think there’s something we can build on here, and I’m eager to be a part of it.”