There were two shows at Levi’s Stadium Sunday.
In the main event, the 49ers treated their fans – at least those who bothered to show up – to a stinker, a 24-14 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals that dropped their record to 4-10. That show drew a chorus of boos before halftime.
But at that intermission, fans got to see the greatness that once populated the franchise, as the team honored some of the cream of the Super Bowl crop from the 1988 championship squad: Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, John Taylor, Tom Rathman, Harris Barton, Jesse Sapolu, Bubba Paris and Eddie DeBartolo. There were no boos for the vintage 49ers.
On Sunday, the younger 49ers – who aren’t likely to be honored 25 years from now -- never threatened the playoff-bound Bengals.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Bengals scored a touchdown following an Anquan Boldin fumble, then scored another TD on their next possession following a short punt. By halftime the 49ers trailed 21-0 after quarterback Blaine Gabbert was picked off, setting up Cincinnati for a short, one-play drive from the Niners’ 20.
San Francisco scored a touchdown on Bruce Miller’s 1-yard run late in the fourth quarter, but it was far too little, too late.
Offensively, the 49ers were inept. Gabbert threw three interceptions and was sacked three times. Shaun Draughn could manage just 38 yards on nine carries and San Francisco was 0-for-12 on third downs. Over the past two games, the Niners have now converted just two third-down plays in 25 attempts.
With two games left, the 49ers go on the road this week to take on the Lions in Michigan before returning home to close out the season on Sunday, Jan. 3.