Maiocco's Top 5 takeaways from 49ers' Week 8 loss to Rams
It keeps getting worse
It seems every week the 49ers hit a new low point. And so it goes that the 49ers could not even manage 200 yards of total offense in a 27-6 loss to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. The loss dropped the 49ers to 0-3 within the NFC West and 2-6 overall. It was the third game in the first half of the season in which the 49ers failed to even score a touchdown. This is a team that seems to have no answers...
5) The thin gets thinner
The 49ers were already missing their top running back (Carlos Hyde) and wide receiver (Anquan Boldin). By the end of the game, the 49ers also lost the next two running backs on their depth chart. Reggie Bush sustained a knee injury and rookie Mike Davis sustained a fractured hand. The only RB remaining was Kendall Gaskins, who was promoted from the practice squad on Saturday. Now, the 49ers are in the market for veteran free-agent help. Ben Tate will visit Tuesday. Pierre Thomas had a recent workout, too.
4) Bowman making strides
Linebacker NaVorro Bowman appears to be moving much better than he did earlier in the season. On Sunday, he flashed good change of direction and better lateral quickness in making some of his game-high 13 tackles. Bowman is showing steady physical improvement after missing all of last season with a significant knee injury. Bowman ranks No. 1 in the league in tackles with 82. But it won’t last long. D’Qwell Jackson is three tackles behind him, and Indianapolis plays Monday night.
3) Resignation is setting in
The 49ers would have to win all eight games in the second half of the season to earn a spot in the playoffs. Obviously, that is not going to happen. So how does the team keep any semblance of optimism when it’s no longer playing for a postseason berth? “This is where we are,” coach Jim Tomsula said. “This is who we are and we need to get better – period.” The 49ers are in the NFC West cellar, and they could be sellers at Tuesday’s trade deadline.
2) Big-play defense
The 49ers’ defense gets no free pass for this game, either. For the most part, the defense played well. But the unit allowed three big plays that helped the Rams produce the 21-point margin of victory. Todd Gurley had a 71-yard TD run. Tavon Austin caught a short pass and took it 66 yards for another TD. And tight end Jared Cook had a 49-yard reception that set up another TD. The defense, which was the strength of the 49ers with Vic Fangio calling the shots, is now part of the problem.
1) Full-fledged QB controversy
It’s not as if Blaine Gabbert has done anything to earn consideration for the starting job. Right now, Colin Kaepernick is struggling, and the 49ers are searching for anything that might provide the offense with a spark. The offensive line, obviously, is a big problem. But the quarterback is always going to receive the most credit and, in this case, blame. For the first time, Tomsula declined to state Kaepernick is the team’s unequivocal starter. “We’re evaluating everyone,” Tomsula said.