Ah, the dumpster fire that is the San Francisco 49ers’ 2016 football team. Another week, another loss, making it 13 straight for Chip Kelly’s squad. In the third to last week of the season, they suffered an awful 41-13 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. This loss, like the others, however, is no surprise, considering how poorly the 49ers have played this season.
Atlanta’s offensive weapons were all rolling Sunday; QB Matt Ryan finished 17/23 with 286 yards and 2 touchdowns, despite arguably the best wide receiver, Julio Jones, being out of the lineup today. RB Devonta Freeman torched the 49ers’ weak defensive line with 20 carries for 139 yards and 3 touchdowns. Even RB Tevin Coleman had 58 yards on 14 carries.
This game was never really a game from the start, as Ryan started with a perfect 158.3 rating, and the Falcons put 21 on the board in the first quarter alone. The 49ers, who were supposed to improve offensively under Kelly, put 0 on the board. From the 21-0 lead onwards, the game did not matter anymore.
If I’m scouring for positive takeaways, the offense at least shows glimpses of hope, but most of the time, QB Colin Kaepernick, who finished 20/33 with 183 yards and 2 touchdowns, was throwing inaccurate passes and unable to prevent a punt. The 49ers punted a whopping 7 times.
At the very least, LB Michael Wilhoite forced a fumble at the goal line, but that just means that the Falcons had just 41 points vs 48.
Ryan was so comfortable with the negligible pressure from the 49ers’ secondary that WR Aldrick Robinson, who had 769 receiving yards (prior to this game) in his career since being drafted in 2011, finished with 111 yards on 4 receptions. This game was just awful all around.
Kelly seems to cling to the passing game, although he does not have a competent quarterback to succeed in his system. RB Carlos Hyde actually had a pretty decent game on the ground, but he only got 13 carries for 71 yards.
From Trent Balkee’s failures in the draft, to questionable player extensions, to Jed York’s inability to run the team, it’s difficult to imagine when things are going to get better for the 49ers. They might need to find a gem in the draft, or strike gold in free agency. Either way, York is going to have to spend some money in order to face this franchise in the right direction.
That, however, seems a very, very long way off.