Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports



Let me start off by saying that I fully supported the idea of the San Francisco 49ers giving HC Chip Kelly another season to prove his worth. After all, it's not his fault that he was strapped with one of the worst skill position groups in recent memory. He wasn't the one who ignored glaring needs on the roster like quarterback, wide receiver, inside linebacker and pass rusher. Kelly can't control the injuries that have left the team without ILB NaVorro Bowman, NT Ian Williams, ILB Ray-Ray Armstrong, OLB Aaron Lynch, DE Arik Armstead, and S Eric Reid. In a lot of ways, the embattled head coach is bringing a knife to a gun fight every week, and while he can poke a few holes here and there, eventually his squad just gets mowed down. It's a tough spot to be in.

While there are some teams the 49ers just can't be expected to compete against, there are also some who are in dire straights just like the boys in red and gold. The thing is, San Francisco can't beat those teams either. In the past two weeks, Kelly has seen his squad go up in flames against a Chicago Bears team that's currently playing with mostly backups (and backups to backups) and the New York Jets who have basically quit. Each loss was it's own special brand of brutal, as the Niners were destroyed by the undermanned Bears 26-6, and blew a 14-0 lead against the "couldn't care less" Jets to lose 23-17 in overtime.

Both of these losses took a familiar tone too, and it's one that's been present all year long. The 49ers will play well, and in some cases, actually lead in the first half, only to have their doors blown off in the third and fourth quarter. In the second half (and overtime), San Francisco has been outscored 209-106 this season. Against the Bears and Jets? Outscored 39-0. Looking deeper, they've been absolutely abysmal in the third quarter specifically, and have been held scoreless in eight of their 13 games this season. Overall, they have three field goals and two touchdowns in the third. What that tells me is that Kelly and his staff are a very easy bunch to make adjustments against, and Chip is either too stubborn or not competent enough to do the same.

The terrible play hasn't been regulated to one side of the ball either, it's truly been a team effort. On offense (which is supposed to be Kelly's specialty), the Niners can't pass, run, or score with any kind of consistency. To start, San Francisco quarterbacks are last in the NFL with an average of 177 yards passing per game. The league average is 242. Individually, QB Blaine Gabbert and QB Colin Kaepernick have combined to complete 55.6 percent of their passes, which is 31st in the NFL. As far as running the ball (something the 49ers are built for), the numbers are a little misleading. San Francisco is actually averaging 4.7 yards per game, which is good for fourth-best in the NFL, but if you take the quarterbacks out of that number it dips to 4.2 That still sounds good, until you consider the yards per carry for running backs was under 4.0 before they exploded for 225 yards against the Jets in Week 14. So looking at the season as a whole, the ground game has been underwhelming overall. In turn, the offense hasn't been able to put up points with any kind of regularity and has only scored more than two touchdowns in four games all year.

Defensively, it's been an utter train wreck, and while Kelly isn't responsible for the day-to-day on that side of the ball, it's still his staff. Per Pro Football Reference, the Niners are on pace to allow the fourth most yards, eighth most points, and 22nd most rushing yards in NFL history. The run defense is so bad, that it's allowed a 100-yard rusher in 10-of-13 games. On the year, the Niners have allowed 2,200 yards on the ground. The next closest team (the 0-13 Cleveland Browns) are 320 yards behind them. This defense isn't just bad, it's all-time bad.

All of this equals out to a 12-game losing streak, and one of the bleakest periods in the history of the franchise. Now, the question is, do the owners even care? They do...kind of. The Yorks see the 49ers are a business and John and Denise treat the team as such. Right now that investment is tanking. The fans are unhappy, the stadium is empty and people are threatening to walk away from their PSLs. That's bad for business and the Yorks know it. They have to do something drastic or their product will continue to tank and, eventually, that will take its toll on their bottom line. Also, the Yorks are embarrassed right now, which I believe will force their hand. John and Denise care more about perception than they do wins and losses, and right now they're a joke and everyone knows it.

Now, in my opinion, what's going to happen first and foremost is a change at the top. According to Jason La Canfora, it's possible that John and Denise are going to take a more hands-on approach this offseason, which could mean bumping Jed out of power. In turn, I don't see any way GM Trent Baalke will be retained, and his exit is something that looks more and more like a foregone conclusion with each passing week. I think Jed would have wanted to promote Assistant GM Tom Gamble and stay the course with Kelly, but I don't believe his embarrassed parents will go for that. La Canfora mentioned Mike Shanahan's name as a possible replacement in the front office, and that makes all the sense in the world from a York perspective. Shanahan has the backing of 49ers alumni and he's a big name that would make a splash in the public eye.

Whether you like or dislike Shanahan, you have to admit he brought in some big pieces during his time with the Washington Redskins that have set them up for success. Players like QB Kirk Cousins, TE Jordan Reed, LT Trent Williams and DE Ryan Kerrigan who have been staples of Washington's recent success, were all brought in by Shanahan. Now he would clean house, you can be assured of that, but we'd see a return to the roots of Niner's football, as Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for San Francisco from 1992-1994. Odds are he'd bring in his son Kyle as a head coach, and the younger Shanahan is just the kind of young, offensive mind this team needs. He currently presides as coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons' number one offense.

Kyle Shanahan is a hot commodity right now, and is probably getting a head coaching job this offseason whether it's with the 49ers or not. If the Yorks give Kelly another year, who knows what their options would be in 2018. San Francisco doesn't need another retread, it needs to go out and find the next difference maker. Regardless of your opinion of Kelly, you'd have to admit he's not that guy and his days appear to be numbered because of it. Sorry, Chip. You're just the wrong guy, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Al Sacco has been covering the 49ers since 2013 and has had his work used by national outlets such as ESPN and USA TODAY. If you'd like to reach Al with a media request, please contact him via Twitter @AlSacco49