San Francisco 49ers: Who’s to blame in no-show against Cleveland Browns?


After the San Francisco 49ers picked up their fourth victory of the season against Chicago, life with Jim Tomsula and Blaine Gabbert didn’t look so bad. The team was hanging around in games and there was positive talk surrounding Gabbert as he’s been improving in each start.

However, that all went out the window with the Cleveland Browns dismantling them 24-10 in what’s arguably the worst loss of the season. Now the 49ers have to pick up the pieces and figure out what exactly went wrong, and who is to blame.

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First, let’s clarify where this team was when they were entering the final quarter of the season. Sure, they were mathematically still in playoff contention, but they weren’t going to make it. This team was exactly what we thought they were — a scrappy bunch that would rarely have a lead, but would at least be in position to pull a victory out here and there.

Statistically, the 49ers have been near the bottom in every category on both sides of the ball all year, but Gabbert was making less mistakes each week and the defense was keeping it close. All of that will take a hit after their previous game. The Browns amassed 481 total yards with San Francisco staggering along with 221 yards — 96 of those came in garbage time after Cleveland made it 24-3 with less than nine minutes to go. The Niners also gave up a season-high nine sacks.

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As long as the team was mediocre during the final stretch, it would have been a surprise to see the team fire anybody on the coaching staff or make any significant changes. Yet, even after a big overtime win at Chicago, the 49ers set a new season low by losing to the Browns. That’s a 2-10 team in complete turmoil, and they couldn’t keep Johnny Manziel from being on the field any longer.

The 49ers lost to “Johnny Football,” an interesting individual that lies to his coach, puts drinking before his team, still loses his temper on the sidelines, and signs $100 bills for his fans. All because the team collectively didn’t show up.

There was nothing that San Francisco could take home with them in this loss. The play calling was boring, the offense did nothing and was again a disaster on third downs (went 2-for-13), and the defense allowed a struggling Isaiah Crowell run for 145 yards and two scores. Again, the 49ers gave up nine sacks while Manziel had enough time in the backfield to create his signature money move and sign a few more $100 bills on his way to completing 68 percent of his passes.

Oh, Phil Dawson made a 44-yard field goal kick, his lone attempt of the day. That went right. So that’s something San Francisco can hang their hat on.

So, who should fans throw their virtual rocks on social media at? The easy answer is everybody on the team, because it takes this kind of collective fail to showcase something this bad. However, when it comes to a whole game looking like a B-horror flick, then the finger pointing has to go to the coaching staff.

Ahmad Brooks probably said the most damning thing after the horrible day — they got “big-headed” after the win over Chicago. By narrowly escaping with a victory over a sub-par Bears team that included a missed chip shot by their struggling field goal kicker and a lucky long pass by Gabbert in overtime, San Francisco thought they were good enough to gloss over a team that won just two less games than them.

That’s not even comprehensible. Any coaching staff that lets something like that happen should barely be close to the NCAA Division II sideline let alone on one of the NFL’s prestigious 32 sidelines.

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It’s pretty clear that Tomsula and his staff are way in over their head, and we’ve known this for a while now. Perhaps the 49ers organization was hoping they could polish this turd of a football team by staying close in games and even pulling some victories out after moving on to Gabbert. It worked until they ran into the Browns, the polish remover reminiscent of their mascot name.