In the past several weeks I have reported that the San Francisco 49ers locker room was not as demoralized as it was last season, regardless of their record being worse. Such is no longer the case after another loss, this time in overtime, to the Jets. The players exited the locker room quickly and although there were a few remarkable individual performances, the losses have worn on the team and it’s showing.
Wide receiver Jeremey Kerley finished the half with 41 yards on four receptions being targeted 6 times. He was targeted two times in the second half, completing one for nine yards. Unfortunately, that nine yard catch equalled more than half of Colin Kaepernick’s total passing yards in the second half (17 yards). Kerley finished as the top receiver in the game.
In his post game press conference, Chip Kelly took ownership of the play calling and said the conservative nature of the offense was his decision. He cited the losses of TE Vance McDonald, C Daniel Kilgore and WR Torrey Smith to injury as part of the reason. Kerley, however had a different take on the loss. “Coaches don’t play the game. Players play the game.” Ultimately, no matter the play calling, if the players can execute, you should have a positive play.
Kerley spoke to the media after the loss and really had no explanation why the team collapses in the second half:
Why are you unable to finish games?
At this point I’m going to let y’all call it.
You have 193 yards in the first quarter and then you couldn’t match that in the next three quarters, was that frustrating?
It’s frustrating not getting the win in overtime.
We know that Torrey had the head injury. Do you know if he lost consciousness?
You know what I know.
You were able to move the ball so well in the first half. Was it second half adjustments by their defense?
No, I don’t think it was. They came out and did the same thing. it’s just, we gotta find a way to get into the end zone.
Do you come out of the locker room with the same energy in the second half?
I think we come out with the same energy.
Do you feel like the offense was limited in the second half?
This offense is built for everybody to make plays regardless of who is out. That;’s how we practice, that’s how we play.
Is the second half more a schematic issue or is it execution?
It’s a little bit of both. Most of it’s on the players. Coaches don’t play the game. Players play the game. No matter what’s going on we gotta go out there and make plays.
Chip kind of pointed the finger at himself. Do respect that?
Of course I respect that. Players play football regardless of what the call was on 4th and one. You gotta go out and get that. Simple as that, you gotta go out and get it.