What does week 14 mean?
The 49ers lost their 12 consecutive game on Sunday in what will likely go down as one of the most embarrassing season in franchise history. Great performances by running back Carlos Hyde, defensive end DeForest Buckner and cornerback Jimmie Ward were not enough as the 49ers could not hold a 14 point lead to the now 4-9 New York Jets. The 49ers are now 1-4 in games in which they have held a 14 point lead & are now 1-9 in games in which they have scored first. With today's loss the 49ers have a 100% chance of picking in the top of 5 and are still in striking distance of having the #1 overall pick in the 2017 draft.
It was a loss that was a microcosm of the 2016 San Francisco 49ers; some good, some great, some bad and ultimately some terrible moments all wrapped up in one awful loss. After the great start by the 49ers we began to see the elements that lead to a 1-11 start to the year. In the 2nd quarter 49ers were able to take the 2 offensive drives into Jets territory but stalled out due to a series of mistakes, miscommunication, lack of talent and inexperience. Chip Kelly called on the ever reliable Phil Dawson to bail out the 49ers but he missed on a 44 yard FG attempt and a 48 yard FG attempt, both left Dawson and the fan base in shock. This is a team that cannot afford to leave points on the field and still win and that is exactly what happened on Sunday. From this moment on the 49ers only scored 3 points the rest of the game.
The game plan was clear, the offense as always would go through the capable hands of Carlos Hyde. Previous to today Hyde’s career best was his 168 yard performance in the 2015 season opener against the Vikings but he shattered that mark today. Hyde carried the ball 17 times today for 193 yards, a 11.4 yard per carry average but the most important carry of the day he was stopped. With Sunday’s performance Hyde is less 125 yards away from crossing the 1,000 yard mark for the season.
The 2nd half showcased everything that is wrong with the 49ers; they were unable accumulate much offense, the pass rush died a slow and terrible death, the run defense broke down and there were questionable coaching decisions. Offensively they only amassed 70 of total offense while defensively they gave up over 250 yards to the Jets. The 49ers were unable to apply any amount of pressure in the last quarter and a half of regulation and in the overtime period. Bilal Powell broke the will of the 49ers defense as he racked up 125 yards rushing and 2 TDs in the 2nd half/overtime.
In the aftermath of the loss Chip Kelly and the rest of the 49ers had to answer tough questions about the loss and the season. Kelly reaffirmed his support of beleaguered general manager Trent Baalke and took the blame for what was an overly conservative game plan in the 2nd half. Colin Kaepernick and wide receiver Jeremy Kerley showed support for Chip Kelly, as they took the blame for the loss and stated that it was the players that were unable to finish the game. Carlos Hyde shied away from taking personal satisfaction in his career best performance and stated that winning is the only thing that matters.
Sunday proved a few things, one that Carlos Hyde can truly be the centerpiece of an offense but that he needs a lot of help so that the weight of the entire offense is not on his shoulders . Sunday also proved that they do indeed have young, promising defensive players that the team can build around. In what proved to be their best games of the season, rookie defensive tackle and 3rd year cornerback Jimmie Ward showcased the talent that made their 1st round picks and potential cornerstones of a defense going forward that will continue to grow and improve. That players like Rashard Robinson, Aaron Lynch, Ronald Blair and Jaquaski Tartt are individuals that are used to build around Ward and Buckner. Today also proved that there will not be a late season push that saves the job of anyone that is on the chopping block. The events of today continue to prove that true change needs to happen, that this lifeless organization, that is lost needs an injection of not just on the field talent but also in the front office.
Next on the docket is a road game against the NFC South leading Atlanta Falcons, who after boat racing the Los Angeles Rams 42-14 are 8-5 and are in position for a potential division title. With 3 games left to go in this lost season for the 49ers the only thing that they are playing for is pride and to showcase themselves to the 49ers organization and the rest of the NFL.
With the news Sunday morning that Dr. John and Denise York will be more active in the organization a loss like this has likely sealed the faith of several members of the organization, namely Trent Baalke and potentially Chip Kelly. One thing is for sure change is coming to the 49ers organization, the question is how much change and who will left standing when the dust settles.