Chip Kelly continues to stand behind his quarterback. Following the San Francisco 49ers 24-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Kelly said he felt Blaine Gabbert played well, aside from the under-throw to Torrey Smith that resulted in an interception.
Gabbert had a strong start to the game. On the first two drives, he completed 7 of 9 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown pass to Jeremy Kerley happened in part because of blown coverage on a Cowboys blitz, but he stood in the pocket and found Kerley down the field.
However, things went south in a hurry after that. Gabbert was 9 of 14, but only managed 87 yards, and the ugly duck interception in the vicinity of Torrey Smith. Those 14 passes included several instances where Gabbert threw short of the sticks on the third down. There were usually some good reasons for it happening, but it did not make things any less frustrating.
It was sort of fitting the game ended on a fourth down throw short of the sticks to Torrey Smith. Kelly was asked about it after the game. He said three guys had gone vertical, but a couple were grabbed. Kelly said that Torrey Smith was running an in-route, but once Gabbert was flushed out of the pocket, he cut back out to offer a target.
I took a quick look back at the game on Gamepass. Smith ran out and then cut back in. Once Gabbert was scrambling, Smith cut back out. There is plenty of blame to go around, but nowhere during Smith’s route was he past the 1st down marker. Coverage might have prevented a completion if he had been further, but on 4th down with the game entirely on the line, running short of the sticks was not a good decision. Without knowing the play call specifically, who knows what to make of it, but it’s just one more frustrating aspect of this whole thing.
Blaine Gabbert showed some really good things for stretches on Sunday. He made some pretty incredible throws, and had some solid scrambles to convert first downs. Unfortunately, as is always the case, inconsistency was the name of the game. Even at his best, Gabbert is a wildly inconsistent quarterback. He’ll suck us in for some good plays, and then things fall apart. It remains a frustrating, regular occurrence.