Patriots 30, 49ers 17: Five takeaways from Kelly's press conference
Nine straight losses
With the 49ers’ 30-17 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, coach Chip Kelly’s team tied the franchise record with its ninth consecutive loss. It was more of the same for a team that has not won since recording a season-opening 28-0 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.
Four of the 49ers’ final six games are on the road, including back-to-back games at Miami and Chicago. The 49ers will practice next week in Orlando before heading to Chicago. Here are five takeaways from Kelly’s press conference on Monday.
5) Not just one thing
With the NFL set up to encourage parity, a lot of things have to go wrong for a team to lose nine consecutive games. And, indeed, a lot has gone wrong for the 49ers as they fell to 1-9 after opening the season on a high not with a victory over the Rams.
“Probably the most disappointing part is it’s not just one thing,” Kelly said. “So it’s not something where you can point at this, and if we can correct that, and we can move on. It flows depending on the game. I talked to our guys after the game about finishing.” The 49ers trailed 13-10 after three quarters before surrendering 17 consecutive points in the fourth quarter to New England.
4) Run defense slips
New England’s LeGarrette Blount became the eighth opponent in the past nine games to rush for more than 100 yards against the 49ers. He gained 124 yards on 19 attempts, including a 44-yard run. “I thought we were OK, but we gave up too many big plays,” Kelly said. “We had the 40-yard run. We had a blitz call, but we weren’t gapped out. That was the big plays. That was the one big one.”
Next up: The Miami Dolphins and running back Jay Ajayi, who is fifth in the NFL with 802 yards. “Adam (Gase) does a really good job of what they do offensively,” Kelly said. “We have to tackle better. We didn’t tackle as well in this game as we did in the game before.
3) Jaquiski Tartt’s chance
The 49ers diagnosed safety Eric Reid with a torn right biceps late in Sunday’s game. The injury would require season-ending surgery. While his fifth-year contract of $5.676 million for next season is not guaranteed, the price does not seem so exorbitant to prompt the 49ers to release him.
Reid’s injury should open the door for second-year player Jaquiski Tartt to see his most extensive playing time of the season. Tartt started eight games last year, with mixed results, after taking over for Antoine Bethea. Now, he will team with Bethea as he auditions for a more significant role for the future.
2) Not built to throw
Kelly raised some eyebrows with his apparent criticism of the 49ers’ weapons in the passing game when he said after the game that the offense was not built to rely on throwing the ball. Kelly stood by his comments.
“We’re built to run the ball, play-action pass off of the running game,” Kelly said. “How people choose to perceive that is entirely up to them. . . Carlos (Hyde) is the main focus of what we’re doing offensively. We have a running quarterback who complements him. . . . I’d love to be a team that can throw the ball 60 times a game. I’d love to be a team that runs the ball 60 times a game.”
1) Chip’s future
On the day the 49ers introduced Kelly as the team’s head coach in January, CEO Jed York declared, “Chip is going to be here a long time. Period.” Now, the 49ers are mired in a nine-game losing streak. Kelly has said he is not leaving to head back to the college ranks.
On Monday, Kelly said he has not gotten any reassurances from York about the future. “No, we haven’t had any conversations about that at all.” York certainly has some decisions to make, including whether to retain general manager Trent Baalke.