Biggest Takeaways from San Francisco 49ers' Week 14 Loss
The Browns seemed like the worst team coming into the big game—they had only two wins. The Niners had four and had beaten the Bears in Chicago the previous week. San Francisco was on a one-game winning streak, if that’s a thing. The Browns were on a seven-game losing streak.
You never would have known that from the outcome of the Worst Bowl. The Browns looked like a playoff team. They could run the ball, pass the ball, stop the run, pressure the quarterback—whatever they wanted to do. And they crushed the 49ers.
Now, the Niners officially are the worst team in the NFL. That’s the first big takeaway from the 49ers’ Week 14 loss. Here are the other five.
The Future Doesn’t Seem Bright
Where is the young talent?
Where is the future All-Pro on the 49ers’ roster? Where is their Amari Cooper, their Khalil Mack, even their Derek Carr?
The Niners don’t have that caliber of young players. The Niners have running back Carlos Hyde, who’s terrific when healthy, and that’s not often. The Niners also have safety Eric Reid, who’s solid sometimes, but played with no heart Sunday. The Browns trampled him.
The Niners' best young player is outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, who has 6.5 sacks this season. Not bad, but not Pro-Bowl numbers, either.
The future of the 49ers could be bleak if general manager Trent Baalke doesn’t knock the next draft out of the park.
The 49ers Can’t Afford to Draft a Quarterback in Round 1
The 49ers need a franchise quarterback. Blaine Gabbert is not the guy.
Fortunately for the Niners, their record is so bad they should be in position to draft a franchise quarterback like Paxton Lynch from Memphis or Jared Goff from Cal in the first round.
Unfortunately for the Niners, they have to pass on both of them. Drafting a quarterback in the first round is out of the question.
The Niners have to draft an offensive lineman. No quarterback would play well behind San Francisco’s current offensive line, which gave up a franchise-record-tying nine sacks Sunday.
With their first-round pick, the Niners should target tackle Laremy Tunsil from Ole Miss or tackle Ronnie Stanley from Notre Dame.
Geep Chryst Probably Will Get Fired Before Next Season
As poorly as the Niners offensive line played Sunday, it wasn’t responsible for all nine sacks. Offensive coordinator Geep Chryst was responsible for some of them too.
Chryst’s blocking schemes often were preposterous. He’d ask a tight end or fullback to block a defensive end, as if the tight or fullback stood a chance in that matchup. As if defensive ends aren’t paid millions of dollars to outmaneuver some of the most talented offensive tackles in the league, let alone tight ends and fullbacks.
Chryst’s worst moment came on 4th-and-1 during the first half, when he called a play that had zero chance to succeed against the Browns' “Bear” front. Chryst should have given quarterback Blaine Gabbert a second play he could have checked to, but didn't. So, Gabbert got sacked by an unblocked defensive end.
Chryst has to go.
Jim Tomsula Should Get Fired Before Next Season, but Probably Won’t
Forget scheme. Jim Tomsula can’t even get his players to play hard consistently.
This season, the Niners have been flat in six of seven road games, including Sunday against the Browns.
“We’ve got to play our a-- off every single week and we didn’t do that,” Joe Staley said. “We thought we were just going to show up and play.”
Tomsula can’t seem to fix his team’s lack of passion—he’s had plenty of time to do something about it. The best he can do is argue with his players.
“I’d have to disagree with Joe on that,” Tomsula said at his Monday press conference. Weak.
The Niners need a head coach players will play for. To get one, the Yorks would have to fire Tomsula and pay him millions of dollars not to coach the next few seasons.
The Yorks Are Among the Worst Owners in Professional Sports
Another reason the Yorks probably won’t fire Jim Tomsula this offseason: Doing so would make them look bad.
Tomsula is the guy the Yorks wanted instead of Jim Harbaugh. Firing Tomsula after one season would be an admission the Yorks messed up royally.
Same goes for general manager Trent Baalke. His job probably is safe, too, because the Yorks kept him over Harbaugh.
In just one year, the Yorks have turned a proud franchise into one of the worst in professional sports. Fans are outraged. Some even paid to fly a banner over Levi's Stadium on Nov. 29 urging Jed York and the team to “mutually part ways.”
Niners fans never would have done that to former owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. Niners fans loved him.
The Yorks are among the worst owners in professional sports. They’re as bad as the owners of the Oakland Athletics, or the former owners of the Golden State Warriors. Quite the distinction.
All quotations obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.