The San Francisco 49ers had another brutal Sunday, losing 24-17 to the Dallas Cowboys after taking a 14-0 lead. There were positives to the games, as well as some big negatives. Here are a look at some winners and losers coming out of Week 4.
Rashard Robinson: The rookie cornerback got his first career start and look great for extended stretches. It was not a perfect game for him, but he had three pass break-ups, and most importantly, looked technically sound throughout.
Blaine Gabbert: The interception and some throws short of the sticks were frustrating, but this “winner” is not for fans. Chip Kelly solidly backed his quarterback after game, saying he played well aside from the pick. He may not hold the job all season, but after an awful performance against Seattle, he had somewhat of a bounce-back game for purposes of keeping his job. If he plays anything like this on Thursday against the Arizona Cardinals, I see no way Kelly switches to Kaepernick in the ten day period after TNF.
Jeremy Kerley: He remains the 49ers leading receiver, with Blaine Gabbert rarely targeting Torrey Smith. Kerley finished with six receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown, all on a team-leading nine targets. The passing game has been woefully inconsistent, but Kerley has provided at least something.
Garrett Celek: He took a hit to his injured back, so we’ll see how he is in practice this week, but Celek was strong in Vance McDonald’s absence. He had five receptions for 79 yards, converting some big plays in the 49ers second scoring drive.
NaVorro Bowman: We’re waiting for official word after an MRI on Monday, but more than likely, Bowman is doe for the season with a torn Achilles. The timeline should offer a return by training camp, but this is a brutal loss. And a second left leg injury (the 2014 injury was his left knee) does not help matters. He is still in the prime of his career, but this is incredibly disheartening.
49ers run defense: The loss of Bowman is huge for the middle of this run defense. Ezekiel Elliott was having a good day before Bowman got hurt, rushing 11 times for 53 yards. He went from Pro Bowler to Hall of Famer after Bowman got hurt, rushing 12 times for 85 yards and a touchdown. If Bowman is done for the year, Michael Wilhoite, Gerald Hodges, Nick Bellore, and Shayne Skov have a lot of work in front of them.
Tramaine Brock: It was a rough day for the 49ers veteran cornerback. He was the man in coverage on both of Dak Prescott’s touchdowns. Brice Butler got away with offensive pass interference on the first one, but it is no surprise there was no call. Jimmie Ward seems unlikely to play on Thursday given the short week, but if Rashard Robinson builds on his strong first start, could Brock be out of a job when Ward gets back?
49ers fans: The Cowboys generally travel well, particularly when they’re actually playing good football. It is no surprise that combined with the 49ers bad last two games resulted in a strong Cowboys crowd at the game. I don’t know what the exact split was, but Cowboys fans were loud on my TV.