Santa Clara – After tonight’s loss, the Forty-Niners have some decisions to make when it comes to their next quarterback. Blaine Gabbert didn’t have his best game nor did anyone for that matter. The 49ers crushing 33-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals was the worst defeat of the season.
“It’s extremely frustrating,” said Gabbert. “I let this team and this organization down tonight and did not play good whatsoever and that’s on me.
“I had two crucial turnovers there that led to points for the Cardinals and that was the difference in the game right there.”
Arizona converted 17 points off there turnovers by the 49ers including two interceptions by Gabbert and a fumble kickoff return by Chris Davis who was carted off the field with a knee injury in the third quarter and did not return. Gabbert over threw receivers and managed to have 10 carries for 70 yards that included one touchdown.
With a 1-4 record, head coach Chip Kelly has no choice but to make changes where needed including a quarterback change. San Francisco looked more like a college team than a professional one. The 49ers struggles continued on third down along with three dropped passes by Garrett Celek.
The only guy Gabbert connected with was Jeremy Kerley who finished with 8 receptions for 102 yards which included one touchdown. Gabbert went 18-for-31 for 162 yards with the touchdown to Kerley. Drew Stanton on the other hand, threw two touchdown passes to Larry Fitzgerald in his first start in two years while Carson Palmer sat out due to concussion protocols.
“It’s inside two minutes when we turn it over on the tip pass to make it 7-7,” Kelly said. “Then to open up right in the beginning of the third quarter there and have the fumble on the kickoff and then I think all three of our turnovers occurred in the red zone which is even worse. It took them 41-yards to get 17 points out of it so against a good team like Arizona that’s just not going to cut it.”
The first quarter consisted of punts from both teams as the 49ers and Cardinals went scoreless until the second quarter. San Francisco’s offense didn’t get going until late in the second. Gabbert found an open Kerley for the 9 yard touchdown. While the 49ers defense tried their best to hold Arizona to 7 points. At the two minute mark, Gabbert’s pass intended for Celek was tipped and intercepted by Calais Campbell.
That setup Stanton’s 21-yard pass to Fitzgerald in the end zone for the touchdown tying the game 7-7 to end the first half. The 49ers woos continued, they fumbled the ball to start the third quarter. Davis the ball carrier was stripped by Ifeanyi Momah who recovered the fumble. Chandler Catanzaro attempted to kick a 21-yard field goal, a flag on the play due to running into the kicker.
The Cardinals got the first down down instead on their goal line. David Johnson rushed into the end zone for a 4-yd touchdown to extend Arizona’s lead 14-7. On their next drive Stanton connected with Fitzgerald again for a 29-yard touchdown making it a 21-7 game. But don’t count San Francisco out yet. Gabbert scrambled for 24 yards after being unable to find an open receiver.
He then made a complete pass to Quinton Patton for 9 yards that setup Carlos Hyde 1-yard touchdown trimming their lead 21-14. Heading into the fourth, the 49ers had a good run until Marcus Cooper intercepted Gabbert’s pass intended for Kerley. That setup Catanzaro 36-yard field goal making it a 24-14 game. Later in the fourth Johnson rushed for a 2-yard touchdown.
From there it’s pretty obvious San Francisco needs an immediate quarterback change. Kelly addressed the media after the game deflecting questions on if Colin Kaepernick would get his first start of the season. While Kelly has stated repeatedly that Kaepernick is injured with a shoulder sprain, Kaepernick has confirmed that he is 100% healthy and ready to play football.
“I don’t think tonight we’re going to talk about that,” Kelly said. “We’re going to go look at everything. We have a couple days off here in terms of getting ready for Buffalo and then we’ll asses the film and we’ll move from there.”
“I think we’re going to look at everything. I mean, we’re 1-4. We need to make sure we’re going out there and giving us the best chance to win, so we’re going to look at everything.”