Struggling 49ers host reeling Jets in game someone must win
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) The NFL's schedule makers have done what the New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers haven't been able to do for more than a month: make sure one of those struggling teams doesn't pick up another loss.
The Jets (3-9) take their four-game losing streak to the Bay Area on Sunday when they will face a 49ers team on an even longer skid.
San Francisco (1-11) has lost a franchise-record 11 straight games since a season-opening win over the Rams.
''One of the things we always talk about with sports is it teaches us certain life lessons and it brings out the best in us or exposes the worst in us,'' Jets receiver Brandon Marshall said.
''This is a great season for both teams to really mature and grow not only as a team and organization but also as men.''
In a season of ineptitude for both teams, last week might have marked new lows for both. New York was thoroughly embarrassed on the national stage Monday night in a 41-10 loss to Indianapolis that left coach Todd Bowles repeatedly saying ''they kicked our asses.''
Things weren't any better for the Niners, who went into the snow in Chicago and lost 26-6 to a Bears team that had won only twice previously all season.
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick was pulled in the fourth quarter after completing just one pass all game and taking six sacks and San Francisco's porous defense was carved up by third-string quarterback Matt Barkley.
Now both teams are playing out the string with the Jets turning to Bryce Petty as starting quarterback for the final four games and Kaepernick back as starter in San Francisco.
''I think the game is the easy part,'' Marshall said. ''When you're having a season like this, Sundays are easy. It's the work you have to put in leading up to Sunday that makes it harder.''
This week was especially tough for the Niners. Coach Chip Kelly left the team for a few days this week to be with his family following the death of his father , Paul.
Kelly attended the funeral in Maine on Tuesday before returning for practice Wednesday as coordinators Jim O'Neill on defense and Curtis Modkins on offense led the team in his absence.
''Obviously we want to win for ourselves because it's been way too long but when something like that happens, you know what it would mean to him and his family,'' receiver Torrey Smith said.
Here are some other things to watch:
PETTY'S READY: Petty, a fourth-rounder from Baylor last year, will make his second NFL start , but first since Bowles tapped him to be the Jets' quarterback for the final four games of the season. Petty went 11 of 25 for 135 yards with a TD and two interceptions Monday in relief of Ryan Fitzpatrick.
''Things to learn from,'' Petty said. ''I did some good things, did some things that I want back. Second time being there in live action. As far as an overall grade, it's kind of tough to say. Whether it's A, B, or C or anything like that. You just have to continue to grow.''
KAP REGRESSES: After the most productive four-game stretch of his career as a passer, Kaepernick took a major step backward in Chicago .
Kaepernick went just 1 for 5 for 4 yards, while taking five sacks for 25 yards. Kaepernick had played well before that, throwing for 1,110 yards in his previous four games, the most of any four-game stretch of his career. He threw eight touchdowns and two interceptions, good for a passer rating of 96.0, with 223 yards rushing.
STILL GOING: Jets running back Matt Forte needs 60 yards from scrimmage to reach 1,100 for the ninth consecutive season.
Forte, who turns 31 Saturday, would become the fifth running back in NFL history to begin his career with that many, joining Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Curtis Martin and Ricky Watters. Forte is 12th in the NFL with 784 yards rushing, and has 29 catches for 256 yards this season, his first with the Jets.
FLAG DAY: After being the least-penalized team in the league in the first seven games with just 31 infractions, the 49ers have been on the wrong side of the NFL law of late. San Francisco's 46 penalties over the past five weeks are the most in the league and a major concern for Kelly.
''We have to do a good job as a coaching staff of emphasizing and understand of how much of an impact those penalties and that penalty yardage can have on us,'' Kelly said.
CLOUDY MEMORIES: Marshall's first game at Levi's Stadium was memorable for everybody but him. Marshall caught three TD passes for Chicago in a 28-20 win in 2014 in the first regular-season game at the stadium. Marshall said he doesn't remember much from that game because he was on painkillers for a high ankle sprain.
''I just remember catching those balls,'' he said. ''That was pretty much it.''
AP Sports Writer Dennis Waszak Jr. contributed to this report
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