The San Francisco 49ers showed some signs of life on Sunday, but it was not enough as they lost to the Seattle Seahawks by a final score of 29-13. The loss dropped the 49ers to 3-7, and they will head home to face the Arizona Cardinals in Week 12.
Blaine Gabbert made his second start of the season, and for the most part he was pretty decent. He made some big throws to his tight ends, and led some solid drives, finishing the game 22 of 34 for 264 yards, one touchdown, and 22 rushing yards. He had some strong drives, but he also had a couple dropped interceptions, including one on goal-to-go that was right in K.J. Wright's hands. Gabbert did some good things, and he did some bad things, often avoiding the consequences of some of those bad things.
And the team had various other problems on offense. The play-calling made no sense in the early part, as the team came out of its bye seemingly very unprepared. Gabbert and company got things going late in the second quarter and for much of the third quarter, but things still seemed a little too conservative. The best example was when the team had a first and goal in the third quarter. Gabbert attempted three passes, and none of them were thrown into the end zone.
One of Gabbert's passes was almost picked, so that might explain the conservative nature. That being said, it just came off like a team looking to just hang around, and not actually playing to win. I'm certainly not saying they were not trying to win, but the play-calling just seemed way too gun-shy. Given the word earlier this week that Jim Tomsula's job was safe so long as the team "remained competitive", this was that prototypical, good enough game that probably is viewed as positive for Tomsula.
The biggest problem in this game was the defense. Two weeks after putting together a very solid performance against the Atlanta Falcons, the 49ers defense was manhandled in most aspects of the game. Thomas Rawls replaced an inactive Marshawn Lynch, and proceeded to run for 209 yards and a touchdown. Russell Wilson did not have a spectacular game, but he threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns. Kenneth Acker was benched for Marcus Cromartie, and it was a significant regression for the unit.
The 49ers drop to 3-7 with the loss, and are a game back of Cleveland, Tennessee, and San Diego for the top pick in the draft. Wins by Dallas, Detroit and Baltimore improved all three of those teams to 3-7, and so we have a four-way tie for the fourth through seventh picks. I'll get an update on strength of schedule later tonight. The 49ers entered the day with a worse SOS than the Cowboys, and equal to the Lions. That will likely change to some degree after this game.
The 49ers head home to face the Arizona Cardinals next week. The Cardinals will be playing the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday Night Football, coming off a big win last week over the Seattle Seahawks. It will be interesting to see how the Cardinals come out of this game, and if there is any potential let-down next week.