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Chip Kelly not surprised 49ers cut into deficit

Although Kelly said the team was not built to throw every down, that’s almost what they did in the fourth quarter

After logging their tenth straight loss, San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly addressed the media. He noted that losing the turnover battle put the team at a disadvantage but he wasn’t surprised the team rallied back from a deficit late in the game. Last week he said that the team was not built to throw the ball every down which is generally what is needed when down double digits.

The 49ers relied heavily on the passing game in the fourth quarter being down 31-14 and even though they may not be built as a pass every down team, they made it work almost enough to tie the game up.

Here’s how the plays broke down in the 4th quarter:

First drive:

  • 3 rushing plays
  • 6 passing attempts, 3 incomplete, 3 completions.

Second drive:

  • 2 rushes/scrambles
  • 11 passing attempts, 5 incomplete, 6 completions
  • 1 sack

Third drive:

  • 2 rushing attempts/scrambles
  • 9 passing attempts, 5 incomplete, 4 completions

Here’s the full transcript:

Obviously Chip, you’re not into the moral victory scene but how do you feel your guys played today?

I thought they competed, but in this league, when you lose the turnover battle, you’re not going to win … probably not going to win the football games. We had two critical turnovers that I think hurt us. The one in the first half, we had the ball deep down in the red zone and obviously you need to come away with points against a good team like that, and then we opened up the second half with the tipped ball and the interception. I thought our defense did a real good job responding after that one, just holding them to a field goal. Again, I think it came down to the turnover game.

What were you trying to do on the final play?

We had four guys in the end zone. We had a shallow cross; we had a deep over the top. The shallow one’s in the end zone and the deep over the top’s in and then two guys were working the game on the outside.

You said last week getting down big in the fourth quarter is not the ideal situation for this team just the way that you’re constructed. Were you pleased and kind of surprised by the way you guys came back?

No, I wasn’t pleased or surprised. We’ve got a good football team but we didn’t win so I’m not pleased with that. We’re not into that. We’re trying to win football games. You don’t get participation trophies. We didn’t win.

You seemed to use everybody on defense that you had dressed, was that because of the humidity?

No, that’s what we usually do and obviously we lost a couple to nicks and bangs that forced a couple of other guys in there; but we had always planned on using that. We rotate our d-line anyways and our secondary is all playing.

How do you think QB Colin Kaepernick played?

I thought Kaep did a good job. The interception was a tipped ball and besides that, I thought he protected the football well. He obviously gave us some things in the run game. They were crashing their ends and trying to take away Carlos (Hyde) and some of the things, so his ability to kind of keep some drives alive with his feet; I thought he did a good job there.

You guys have lost 11 fumbles this year and it’s not one or two guys, can you put your finger on why?

No, it’s a simple deal. When the play starts, you’ve got to finish with the ball. It’s a league that tries to strip you, to take the ball away from you. I think we understand that. We work on it but there’s no excuse for fumbling.

The rush defense did a little bit better today but you had challenges in the passing defense.

Yeah, I thought our guys did a good job against a really good back coming in. I think (Vice President of Communications) Bob (Lange) told me (Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi) had 36 yards, which you thought that if you could hold him to that, you’d be in a good situation; but I thought (Ryan) Tannehill did a good job. I think we’ve got to do a better job in the back end in terms of covering their receivers. I think they obviously were successful on offense. We did take away the run game but I think we’ve got to do a better job with the coverage stuff.

With QB Colin Kaepernick’s improvement, is it just learning the system better? Is he physically better?

I think it’s just experience. Again, he missed a lot of time. We weren’t with him before so he really got his start in the Buffalo game so each game I think he’s gotten better and progressed as the games go on. There’s nothing you can do to really simulate the experience of playing in a game, especially for a quarterback, because a quarterback’s not going to get hit in practice. A quarterback’s never going to get hit in the preseason really so it’s those live reps that are so invaluable for him. You look at most teams that have good quarterbacks and they’ve been in their system for a long time and they’ve been very comfortable in their system, so I just think each week he gets better just with the more reps that he gets, and really the game reps, which are the most important things.

This is a team that’s lost 10 straight and I think 31-14 down, I understand about the participation trophies and everything. Why do you think they haven’t packed it in?

Well, I think they’re professionals and I think they’re all competitors so I don’t know what they’d gain from packing it in. Is that going to make them feel better? They want to straighten this thing out so they’re going to go out and compete and we’ve got a bunch of competitors in there that want to go win. I don’t want anybody to pat them on the back and tell them that ‘Hey, you did a good job. You were close.’ They’re grown men, they want to win and they’ll continue to work that way. They’ve practiced great all year long. They’ve had great attitudes in terms of what they’ve got to do when we go out to the practice field and I don’t think that’s in anybody’s mindset. I think it is questions that are asked from the outside, but there’s never been a question about that from the inside.

On the final play, from your vantage point, what was QB Colin Kaepernick’s window to run?

I couldn’t tell you what his window was to run, to be honest with you. I was looking at the route distribution and then saw him take off so, from my vantage point, I couldn’t tell you what he had in front of him or didn’t have in front of him. Obviously, I could look at the film and determine that.