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Recap: Second straight embarrassment as Bengals beat 49ers 24-14

Dec 20, 2015 at 5:04 PM--


Another anti-York banner flew over Levi's Stadium prior to the kickoff between the San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. It was the second such banner this season as fans send a clear message of disappointment to the 49ers' CEO Jed York. Fans punctuated their point by leaving numerous stadium seats empty during the game and booing the home team as they headed into the locker room at halftime.

The 49ers defense was allowing an average of just under 16 points per game at home this season, ranking first in the NFL. The Bengals scored 21 in the first half on their way to a 24-14 victory, which helped them clinch a playoff birth for the fifth straight season.

49ers Bruce Miller scores 1-yard touchdown run

The 49ers were finally able to get on the scoreboard late in the third quarter when FB Bruce Miller ran the football into the end zone for the one-yard score. With Cincinnati leading 24-7 late in the fourth quarter, the 49ers would score again on a 15-yard pass from QB Blaine Gabbert to WR Anquan Boldin. There was some excitement following that score, when the 49ers recovered an onside kick at their own 45-yard line. However, the ensuing drive would result in a Bengals interception in the end zone, ending San Francisco's hopes of a miracle comeback.

49ers Anquan Boldin leaps for 15-yard TD

Gabbert had not thrown an interception since November 29. He threw three against the Bengals. Two of the picks came after targets to TE Vance McDonald, who bobbled both balls and bounced them right into the arms of Cincinnati defenders. Gabbert would finish the game completing 30 of his 50 pass attempts for 295 yards, a touchdown, and the already mentioned three interceptions.

The 49ers' offensive struggles continued as they were able to complete just two of their fourteen third down attempts. However, they were able to complete both of the fourth down attempts. Despite missing most of the game due to injury, RB Shaun Draughn would lead the 49ers in rushing with 38 yards on nine carries. WR Anquan Boldin would lead in receiving with 74 yards on eight receptions and a touchdown.


It wasn't just the offense and defense that struggled against the Bengals. 49ers K Phil Dawson had made 19 straight field goals until a block by DE Carlos Dunlap in the fourth quarter.

This was a game that head coach Jim Tomsula needed to win after last week's embarrassing 24-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns. That display of disfunction in the York family's home state left many questioning whether or not Tomsula would remain in good standing with 49ers management. Earlier this season, there was a report that, as long as the team continued to competitive down the stretch, Tomsula would return in 2016. These last two losses may have changed that stance.


The Bengals were even without their starting quarterback. QB AJ McCarron started for the injured Andy Dalton, who suffered a fractured right thumb in Cincinnati's Week 14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. McCarron would finish the game completing 15 of his 21 passes for 192 yards and a touchdown. WR Marvin Jones would lead the Bengals in receiving with 89 yards on just four receptions.

"We have got to understand that we cannot make those fundamental mistakes. When the ball is thrown, we have to catch it," Tomsula said following the game. "I evaluate everybody. It's a loss," he said when asked about his coaching staff.

The 49ers, who now have a 4-10 record, will begin preparations for their road game against the Detroit Lions on December 27. They will finish the season at home against the St. Louis Rams on January 3.

Injuries

RB Shaun Draughn left the game with a knee injury and would not return. He was replaced by RB Kendall Gaskins.

WR Quinton Patton was shaken up on a kickoff return. He was helped off the field by the 49ers training staff.

CB Dontae Johnson was injured on punt coverage during the third quarter. He was tended to by 49ers medical staff but was able to slowly walk off the field. He returned to the game.

C Marcus Martin, filling in at guard for the injured Alex Boone, suffered a concussion at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Player Quotes

"You can't put it on Jimmy (Tomsula). A lot of the plays come down to us executing," said S Eric Reid.

"Playing all conservative in the first half. Can't win like that. When we play aggressive, we move the ball," said WR Torrey Smith.

When WR Torrey Smith was asked about the half-empty Levi's Stadium, he said, "I don't blame them ... Who wants to sit there and watch that?"

"The fans are probably fed up," said NaVorro Bowman when asked about the same topic.

"A couple of them we had our hands on and they were picks. That's not his fault," said WR Torrey Smith on QB Blaine Gabbert.

"I felt like the defense kept giving us chances, but offensively we didn't do anything with it," said WR Anquan Boldin.

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