Back in November, 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula benched struggling quarterback Colin Kaepernick and gave the job to Blaine Gabbert, hoping to kick-start a horrible offense.
“We didn’t play well enough as a team,” Tomsula said at the time. “We’re evaluating everyone. I’m not going to make any comments on personnel at this time.”
But the 49ers’ problems weren’t all because of Kaepernick.
The running game has been inconsistent, with starting running back Carlos Hyde and No. 2 Reggie Bush injured for most of the season. It ranks just 23rd in the NFL at 3.9 yards per carry. Meanwhile, the offensive line hasn’t protected the quarterback or opened holes.
And Gabbert – though he’s had some good games – has had some ugly ones, too, and the coaching staff, from Tomsula to offensive coordinator Geep Chryst, hasn't been able to find solutions to problems.
The result is, the 4-10 49ers go into their game Sunday against the host Detroit Lions (10 a.m. kickoff) with the potential for being the lowest-scoring team in franchise history (since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule).
As Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com noted this week, the Niners need to score 18 points over their final two games against the Lions and Rams to get to 220 points and top the 1978 and 2007 49ers teams that are tied for a franchise-low 219 points.
The 49ers, who rank dead last in the league in total offense at 291 yards per game, also are last in the NFL in points (202) and points per game (14.4).
Four times this season the 49ers have been held to fewer than 10 points.
Gutierrez also points out that the 49ers are trying to avoid being one of the five lowest-scoring NFL teams of the past five seasons. Right now, those would be the 2011 Rams (193 points), 2012 Chiefs (211), 2011 Chiefs (212) and 2011 Browns (218).
In last weekend’s 24-14 loss to the Bengals, the 49ers fell behind in the first half 21-0 before rallying late for two TDs. San Francisco punted on its first four possessions and couldn’t get a first down on its first 12 third-down plays.
Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group, who covers the team on a daily basis, wrote: “On display, yet again, was a dreary and dysfunctional 49ers offense.”
Wide receiver Torrey Smith told Inman that he didn’t blame fans for the sparse attendance at the Bengals game.
“We’re not playing good,” said Smith. “It’s not fun to watch right now. So who wants to sit there and watch that?”