The Blaine Gabbert era is off to quite the start! The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Atlanta Falcons by a final score of 17-16. The victory improves the 49ers to 3-6 as they head into their bye week.
The big story on offense was the performance of quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Making his first start for the team in place of a benched Colin Kaepernick. Gabbert led the 49ers to their first two touchdowns since Week 6 against the Baltimore Ravens. He threw a pair of touchdown passes to Garrett Celek. One came off a beautiful play action fake, and another came on a nice example of anticipation and trust. It was not a monster game from Gabbert, but he did solid work, finishing 15 of 25 for 185 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also scrambled for 35 yards on six carries. The first interception was entirely Jerome Simpson's fault, while the second was entirely on Gabbert for under-throwing Vance McDonald.
We'll have plenty more on Gabbert's performance, but hopefully people do not get too far ahead of themselves on this one. He faced a bad Falcons defense, and while he did execute, we can only take so much from it. Ronde Barber had numerous awful comments in his call from the booth, and one of them was about the 49ers offense. He said he had not seen the offense look as good as it did in the first half over the last two games of film. He ignored the facts surrounding the defense.
The 49ers head into their bye week and can begin preparations for facing the Seattle Seahawks on the other end. If Gabbert can put together a solid effort in Seattle, I'll certainly give him more credit. He did a solid job most of the game in his execution, so credit for that. Now let's see what Gabbert can do in two weeks up in Seattle.
The 49ers defense deserves plenty of credit as well for an outstanding effort. Matt Ryan threw for more than 300 yards on the day, and Julio Jones had 137 receiving yards, but most of the yards were really not all that painful. The 49ers gave up some huge plays, but they would frequently clamp down after that. The Falcons made some really stupid decisions of their own, but the 49ers defense did what it had to. Props to the unit for taking care of business when it mattered most. NaVorro Bowman was the defensive player of the game, finishing with seven tackles (two for a loss), one sack, three QB hits and a pass deflection. Tony Jerod-Eddie had two pass deflections of his own.
On to the bye week and then the Seahawks!