First-year 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula has a saying: “Own it, fix it, move on.”
He’s uttered it a few times already this season, including in the week leading up to the 49ers’ game Sunday against the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium.
Certainly there had been a need to address the team’s woes after back-to-back blowout losses to the Steelers and Cardinals in Weeks 2 and 3 of this NFL season.
But as much as the 49ers may be owning their mistakes and moving on to their next challenge, the “fix it” part has been largely ignored.
That was evident Sunday, as the 49ers fell to the undefeated Packers 17-3 and now stand at 1-3, with a cross-country trip next on the agenda to play the New York Giants in Week 5.
Against the Packers, the 49ers’ defense did improve some from the past two weeks. After allowing quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer to carve up the secondary, the Niners’ defense tightened the clamps a little, allowing Aaron Rodgers to throw for "only" 224 yards and a touchdown – though the Eddie Lacy-led running game also did significant damage.
But what definitely hasn’t been fixed is the 49ers’ struggling offense.
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, often under pressure (sacked six times and hit seven times), completed just 13-of-25 throws for 160 yards and was intercepted. Wide receiver Torrey Smith – acquired to give Kaepernick a deep threat and open up other routes – had only two catches. The running game was largely ignored, with Carlos Hyde getting just eight carries.
The offense was plagued by dropped passes, penalties and mistakes. Late in the game, the hometown fans were booing a team that only recently went to three consecutive NFC Championships and was considered one of the NFL’s best organizations.
Matt Barrows, who covers the 49ers for the Sacramento Bee, gave the 49ers offense a grade of D-minus Sunday, noting that “until the end, the play calls were conservative and Kaepernick hardly made any attempts downfield.”
Kaepernick was so inaccurate at times that longtime Bay Area columnist Ray Ratto compared him to former major league pitcher Steve Blass, who had to retire because he could no longer throw the ball over the plate.
Kaepernick’s biggest play of the first half, in fact, was a shovel pass of less than a foot that wound up going for 40 yards.
This week, Tomsula no doubt will again take ownership of the mistakes his team is making. Whether those mistakes can be fixed is still the big question.