After the sleepy showing in Cleveland, there was a focus on the energy for the San Francisco 49ers during Bengals week. Head coach Jim Tomsula, as well as several players, reported that the energy level, that was good all week, remained high for the game. There still was, however, the slow start on the offense that has plagued the team all season.
The team has failed to score an offensive touchdown in the first quarter since 2014. Their 3rd down conversion rate is abysmal. The have been unable to tally 100 total rushing yards in four out of the last 5 games and in eight total games this season. They have been unsuccessful in reaching the 200 yard mark in total offense four times. Both Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith talked about the lack of aggression in the team's play. No one on the offense has thrown OC Geep Chryst directly under the bus, but this is about as close as it gets.
"We tried to be aggressive. Playing conservative in the first half, you can’t win like that. When we play aggressive, we move the ball."
I saw you were a little frustrated on the sideline after a third down. 0-12 for your first 12 third downs. Do you feel like the ball just wasn’t being pushed downfield?
"It’s always frustrating when you’re not playing the way you’re supposed to be playing. We weren’t executing very well. So, it wasn’t fun at all."
What are you guys going to try and get out of these final two games?
"We’re going to try to win. That’s really all you can do. We know there aren’t any more victories to play for to get to the Super Bowl. We know that’s not a possibility. So, we’ve just got to try to win and finish strong."
49ers QB Blaine Gabbert is going to come away from this game with a bad passer rating and three interceptions. Was it that bad out there for him? Or how do you evaluate his performance today?
"We’ve just got to make plays. A couple of them, we had our hands on them and they were picks. That’s not his fault. We’ve just got to make plays and move the ball. Some of them are situations where we didn’t get the first down and kind of put him in a little tougher situation. So, we just didn’t do a very good job of being consistent, making plays."
Do you feel like that stretch in the second quarter, you kind of just let the game get away?
"Yeah. I don’t feel like we played good enough in that stretch. I felt like the defense kept giving us chances, but offensively we didn’t do anything with it."
How frustrating is it, after 14 games, still having these challenges?
"It’s real frustrating. Any time you don’t come out and perform the way you’re capable of performing, it’s frustrating. Too often we get off to slow starts and then try to get it cranking in the second half. That shouldn’t be the case. I feel like we should be aggressive coming out and just keep it going throughout the entire game."
At 4-10, do you worry that this team might pack it in? Is that a problem at this point?
"I’m not worried about that. The guys come to work every day to work. So, I’m not worried about guys packing it in."
You guys were 0-12 on third downs until the very end. What’s going on on third down?
"You’re putting yourself in bad situations when you’re in third-and-long. There aren’t too many great play calls on third-and-long. You’ve got to take care of what you need to take care of on first and second down, put yourself in third-and-manageable. And then your percentages go up."
Do you think effort was an issue today?
"No, I think guys fought until the end. I don’t think effort was a problem, it was more of lack of execution."
It’s unusual to ask about a specific player, but 49ers TE Vance McDonald had two drops that resulted in interceptions.
"That’s part of football. Some days, you have days like that. Nobody here is down on Vance. Vance works his butt off. He gives us everything that he has. You can’t put this game on Vance at all."
On your fumble, did you think that you were almost down?
"Yeah, I felt like I was. But, after seeing the review, it was a good play. They made a great play on it."