As anticipated, the San Francisco 49ers aren’t going to climb out of the bottom of NFL power rankings entering Week 7. Following a 45-16 embarrassing loss to the Buffalo Bills, one has to wonder if the Niners are the league’s worst team.
The San Francisco 49ers don’t have the worse record in the NFL after six weeks (thank you, Cleveland Browns).
But the Niners’ 1-5 mark and 45-16 drubbing at the hands of the Buffalo Bills last week certainly does nothing to help head coach Chip Kelly’s squad climb out of the depths of NFL power rankings this week.
San Francisco’s run defense, last in the league, gave up a whopping 312 yards on the ground on Sunday. And while the majority of Niners focus centered around quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s return, the real problem with this group has been the defense.
Or lack thereof.
Bill running back LeSean McCoy torched the 49ers defense at ease. And it’s been a trend for San Francisco ever since they were able to limit tailback Todd Gurley and the Los Angeles Rams way back in Week 1.
And that seems oh-so long ago.
So what are experts from around the NFL saying in their latest power rankings as the Niners limp back home to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 7?
After much hoopla regarding the return of Colin Kaepernick to the 49ers’ huddle, not much was different. The hair under the helmet was reminiscent of my 1975 Topps Drew Pearson card; the play on the field was more … more … 2015 Colin Kaepernick. Any callback to the disco era is awesome in my book, but continuing the brand of play that got him beaten out by Blaine Gabbert– not so much. I want Kap to get the magic back. He was truly an electric player during that 2012 postseason run and was clutch in the 2013 playoffs, as well. The concern is that even if that part of his game is still there, the talent around him is not.
Oct 16, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) walks off the field after a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Buffalo beat San Francisco 45-16. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Colin Kaepernick’s return under center got off to a strong start as he completed 8 of 11 passes in the first half Sunday. However, he went 5-of-18 in the second half as the Bills trounced the Niners. We’ll see how Kaepernick fares in his second start this season against the Bucs on Sunday.
Chip Kelly finally turned to Colin Kaepernick after five weeks, but he’s clearly not the long-term option after Sunday’s terrible outing. Until the 49ers find a franchise quarterback and surround him with even decent weapons, the offense will sputter. They have the worst receiving group in football.
To say something positive about them: Rookie first-round pick DeForest Buckner had a dominant game against the Bills with five tackles, four assists and two sacks. He’s a good building block for the defense.
Oct 16, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills running back Mike Gillislee (35) is tackled by San Francisco 49ers defensive end DeForest Buckner (99) during the second half at New Era Field. Buffalo beat San Francisco 45-16. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Take records out of the equation. There’s not a worse team in football than the one Chip Kelly coaches.
Colin Kaepernick showed promise as a runner with vision. But he isn’t going to magically solve all of the 49ers’ offensive problems. And No. 7 pulled a Blaine Gabbert and missed on a few very simple throws in Week 6.
Then there’s the defense. LeSean McCoy might still be running after a pitiful tackling and contain effort. Case in point: McCoy’s draw play on a 3rd-and-20. He actually got a first down on it.
So only two of the aforementioned power rankings list the 49ers dead last in the league this week.
But what Bleacher Report’s Chris Simms and Yahoo! Sports’ Frank Schwab say about the Niners, in comparison to the Browns, is awfully true — San Francisco isn’t playing hard, let alone with talent.
Schwab broke it down even further:
The Browns are the last winless team in the NFL, but they’re not the league’s worst team. That’s San Francisco. … The 49ers are not competitive. What makes it weirder is on Jan. 19, 2014, the 49ers were playing in the NFC championship game against (and almost beat) the Seattle Seahawks. That’s not that long ago.