Floundering 49ers flirting with all-time futility mark
About the only thing left to determine for the San Francisco 49ers is if 2016 will go down as the worst season in franchise history.
After losing a record 13th straight game on Sunday in Atlanta, the 49ers (1-13) must win their last two games to avoid matching, or breaking, the team record for losses in a season.
San Francisco can equal the single-season loss record reached in 1978, 1979 and 2004 by losing at the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday.
With a loss in that game, the 49ers can set the record with a loss in their season finale, at home on Jan 1.
“I don’t think it’s the time right now where we sit down and look at it and say, ‘All right, let’s evaluate the entire season,’ ” coach Chip Kelly said on Monday.
“We’ll have time to do that once the season is finished. Right now, we’re just really on a week-to-week deal.”
Kelly said the approach right now is the same as it is every week: Evaluate the previous game, make the necessary corrections and move on to the next opponent.
There is plenty to fix from the latest loss, a 41-13 pounding that was the secondmost lopsided of the season for San Francisco.
The Niners fell behind 21-0 in the first quarter, were held scoreless in the second half for a third straight game and gave up 550 yards to the Falcons.
“It can get difficult for them,” Kelly said of his players.
“They’re human. Everybody can kind of say, ‘Hey, it’s not going the way we want to get it going.’ But, the one thing I don’t think they do, I don’t think they blame others. I think they take respon- sibility. Everybody does. We’re not looking to blame people; we’re looking to try to find solutions in terms of moving forward to rectify the situation.”
The Niners were once again hampered by injuries.
One week after losing receiver Torrey Smith to a concussion and tight end Vance McDonald and center Daniel Kilgore to seasonending injuries, San Francisco lost several more players.
Receiver Quinton Patton (foot), linebacker Nick Bellore (elbow) and tight end Blake Bell (shoulder) all left the Atlanta game with injuries and will not return this season. Defensive back Jimmie Ward (shoulder), center Marcus Martin (ankle) and defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey (undisclosed) also were hurt.
They join players like left tackle Joe Staley, who has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, and inside linebackers NaVorro Bowman (Achilles tendon) and Ray Armstrong (chest), who were lost for the season early in the year.
Making matters worse, inside linebacker Gerald Hodges was suspended for the game for violating team rules, forcing safeties Vinnie Sunseri and Antoine Bethea and outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks into inside roles.
“Part of being really good in this league is staying healthy, and when you can stay healthy and you’re playing with your front-line guys then you’ve got a shot,” Kelly said.
“If not, everybody, no matter where you are, I don’t think there’s a team in the league right now that says, ‘Hey we’re good. We haven’t sustained any injuries.’
“Everybody’s sustained something to some extent. You just have to be able to deal with them.”
Head coach Chip Kelly of the San Francisco 49ers looks on during the first half of Sunday’s 41-13 loss to the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome.