49ers look to regroup over long weekend as season spirals
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Jim Tomsula will evaluate his players, position by position, and consider depth-chart changes - though none of his coaches are in jeopardy for now with the 49ers struggling in all phases.
And Colin Kaepernick is still the man under center after another embarrassing flop against rival Seattle.
''Colin's our quarterback today,'' a dejected Tomsula said Friday, ''no controversies.''
In another tough one for San Francisco, safety Antoine Bethea was placed on season-ending injured reserve Friday with a shoulder injury suffered in Thursday night's 20-3 loss to Seattle. That cleared room on the 53-man roster for wide receiver Jerome Simpson's post-suspension return. The team used a one-game roster exemption for him this past week after Simpson served a six-game penalty for violations of the league's substance abuse policy.
Bethea was scheduled for an MRI exam on the shoulder at nearby Stanford. He grabbed Seahawks wideout Doug Baldwin with his right shoulder in the second quarter and received a face mask penalty, and that's believed to be when he got hurt.
San Francisco fell to 2-5 with its fourth straight defeat to the Seahawks and sixth in the last seven meetings, including playoffs. The 49ers have been held to single digits in the past three defeats in this suddenly one-sided rivalry, outscored 56-13.
The message is beginning to sound the same week after week: San Francisco needs to improve and fast. Now, the Niners have some extra days to try to find solutions. The players will have a three-day weekend before returning to begin preparations for a Nov. 1 game at St. Louis.
''Our record is what it is. We have to do something to get better. It's unacceptable,'' Tomsula said. ''That game is not anything that any of us here are proud of. That's not how we want to represent ourselves.''
Kaepernick was sacked six times. San Francisco managed only 142 total yards for its lowest output since 133 against Minnesota on Nov. 5, 2006. Kaepernick didn't get loose to run even once for the first time in 46 career starts, facing constant pressure from Seattle's swarming defense led by Michael Bennett with 3 1/2 sacks.
Kaepernick fell to 1-6 in starts against the Seahawks with three touchdown passes, nine interceptions and 24 sacks. The 49ers had more punts, nine, than first downs, eight.
''They are talented and we didn't match that intensity,'' Kaepernick said. ''They played better than us tonight. That's the bottom line.''
Even with the short week and limited practice, Tomsula thought he had his team prepared and that San Francisco had spurts of intensity before it dropped off after halftime. The 49ers held a walk-through Monday, practiced for 90 minutes Tuesday and spent 40 minutes on the field Wednesday.
''I did not expect it, to be quite honest,'' Tomsula said of the lopsided result. ''I didn't expect that.''
There were mental mistakes out of frustration, too, like wide receiver Quinton Patton losing his cool late and yelling into the face of an official to prompt an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
''We don't need to act like that,'' Tomsula said. ''Things are going to happen that you disagree with. We have to keep ourselves under control.''
While CEO Jed York stayed silent on Twitter this time after publicly apologizing in the waning moments of a 19-3 Thanksgiving loss at Levi's Stadium, others weighed in on social media.
''Unacceptable....that was sorry,'' wide receiver Torrey Smith posted.
''Something ain't right in SF,'' offered ex-49ers wideout Kassim Osgood.
Rookie safety Jaquiski Tartt suffered a bruised leg against Seattle. Running back Carlos Hyde's injured foot, which he said was at a pain level of six out of 10, was OK after the game, according to Tomsula. When asked if it was a stress fracture, Hyde responded, ''something like that.'' He had 40 yards on 11 carries.
''We're in good shape there,'' Tomsula said. ''Obviously, we limited his reps.''
The 31-year-old Bethea, in his second season with the Niners and 10th in the NFL, had started all 23 games since joining the 49ers as a free agent in March last year. He made 44 tackles and a sack this year.
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