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San Francisco 49ers Continue to Show Major Coaching Problems in Loss to Lions

Grant Cohn@@grantcohnFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2015

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula signals during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)
Jose Juarez/Associated Press

Continuity.

That’s what the San Francisco 49ers think they need, and that’s why they want to keep head coach Jim Tomsula for next season, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report.

“With so many defections on the roster [and] also on the coaching staff with the loss of Jim Harbaugh...management wants to have some type of continuity,” Cole said on Wednesday.

Big word, continuity. Sounds like a good thing. Implies the Niners will be fine as long as they stick together, stay the course, blah blah blah. Sunday’s 32-17 loss to the Detroit Lions revealed the type of continuity the 49ers should expect next season if they retain Tomsula and his coaching staff.

Offensive Continuity

Jose Juarez/Associated Press

Against the Lions, the 49ers converted one of nine third downs only one week after converting two of 14. This season, offensive coordinator Geep Chryst has consistently called third-down passes for receivers who are in front of the first-down marker, and quarterback Blaine Gabbert has consistently thrown third-down passes before he should.

Next season, Niners fans can look forward to an offense that tries on first and second down and then gives up.

Against the Lions, running back DuJuan Harris and wide receiver Bruce Ellington combined to gain 137 yards from scrimmage before halftime. In the second half, they got the ball only three times.

Next season, Niners fans can look forward to an offense that abandons what works.

Against the Lions, the Niners scored only 17 points, which is the most they’ve scored during regulation since Week 13, when they scored 20. They haven’t scored more than 20 since Week 6.

Next season, Niners fans can look forward to an offense that struggles to score just 20 points.

Defensive Continuity

Jose Juarez/Associated Press

Against the Lions, the 49ers gave up 32 points, which sounds like a lot. But the Niners have given up 31.4 points per game on the road this season. That’s their average. Talk about continuity.

Next season, Niners fans can look forward to a defense that can’t stop anyone away from home.

Against the Lions, the 49ers gave up only 3.1 yards per carry—they shut down Detroit’s running game. But they still couldn’t stop Detroit’s passing game. Quarterback Matthew Stafford posted a passer rating of 118.6.

Next season, Niners fans can look forward to a defense that can’t stop a one-dimensional offense.

Against the Lions, the 49ers committed seven offside penalties. Seven.

Next season, Niners fans can look forward to a defense that can’t even time the snap.

Press-Conference Continuity

Eric Risberg/Associated Press

After Sunday’s loss, a reporter asked head coach Jim Tomsula why the defense kept jumping offside.

“What did we have, six?” Tomsula asked (h/t CSN Bay Area). “Seven? OK. There’s no excuse for that. None. We’ve just got to go back and look at that. I can’t for the life of me give you any kind of excuse for that. That’s inexcusable.”

Next season, Niners fans can look forward to head coach with no excuses or solutions.

Later in the press conference, a reporter asked Tomsula if he approved of his team’s effort against the Lions. The Niners played flat during most of their road games this season.

“I thought we came off the bus and I thought the team started fast today,” Tomsula said.

Next season, Niners fans can look forward to a head coach who praises things that don’t happen in games, such as players coming off a bus or practicing hard on a Thursday.

Later in the press conference, a reporter asked Tomsula if the Lions were a step ahead of the 49ers in the second half, when Detroit outscored San Francisco 12-0.

“I don’t know that they were a step ahead," Tomsula responded. "I mean, obviously there were a step ahead."

Next season, Niners fans can look forward to a head coach who contradicts himself from one sentence to the next.

How do you like the sound of continuity?

Follow @grantcohn on Twitter.

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