The San Francisco 49ers were fairly abysmal in 2016. They finished the season 2-14, ranking No. 27 in points scored and No. 32 in points allowed. Suffice to say, they were bad.
But how bad would they have been with a significant change at the quarterback position? For example, what if Matthew Stafford was the team’s quarterback, rather than Colin Gabbert? In Detroit last season, Stafford put up great numbers, completing 65.3 percent of his passes for 4,327 yards, with 24 touchdowns and ten interceptions, and a passer rating of 93.3. In comparison, the 49ers quarterbacks combined to complete 58.5 percent of their passes for 3,166 yards, with 21 touchdowns and ten interceptions, and a passer rating of 83.4.
I don’t know why that particular question would be on your mind, but if it was, the fine folks at Pride of Detroit attempted to answer it! They took Stafford and placed him on each of the other 31 NFL teams. They simulated each of the 31 versions of the season to see how that team would do with Stafford in place of the actual starter(s).
It was not a pretty picture for the 49ers.
Over the course of 16 games, Stafford completed 54.7 percent of his passes for 2,411 passing yards, with 10 touchdowns and 20 interceptions, and a passer rating of 59.5. Here’s what POD had to say about the 49ers offensive performance in that simulation.
Chip Kelly deserved to be fired and I hope he burns in virtual hell for what he did to Matthew Stafford.
Seriously, this team lost in Week 14 to the New York Jets, 31-0. Zero points scored. None. Not even a goddamn cheap field goal once the second and third-string defenders entered to play that bend, but don’t break defense.
As an offense, this team averaged 10.4 points per game. Cleveland, the team that scored the second-fewest points per game, averaged a whole eight more points per game. Look me in my face and tell me Kaepernick doesn’t belong on an NFL roster.
So, umm, yea.
Obviously this is just a Madden simulation, but it’s interesting to see how such an adjustment impacts each team (or does not impact them as the case may be!). I can’t imagine many scenarios with the bulk of last year’s roster in place that would have resulted in significant improvement. We are seeing the consequences of that this offseason as John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan look to completely rebuild the roster. Whether they find that long-term answer at quarterback remains to be seen.