In a fairly shocking (to me anyway) development, Blaine Gabbert is playing some decent quarterback these days. Granted, the Falcons and Bears aren’t quite the Seahawks or Cardinals, but even in those losses, the Niners looked better than the earlier losses to those respective teams. Not much, but yes, better. In the Cards case, the O moved pretty well but couldn’t score.
I guess i just thought Gabbert would look like he did last preseason, and frankly his whole Jacksonville career, where he floundered around and threw weird passes to no one in particular. Granted, being a starting QB for the Jaguars is no square deal, and he was under the gun wht whole time as the savior and such, but hew appears to be getting his game under control. Sure, he took some sacks he shouldn’t have, and this highly conservative offense is not reminding anyone of the 1988 Niners, but Gabby did finally hit a deep pass in stride to Torrey Smith for the game-winning TD in OT, and he did convert some nice 3rd and long plays. Things that were lacking in Kaepernick’s time at QB this season.
The line is playing nominally better, and Kilgore Trout is back. At TE, mind you. The run game, even with Gabby’s 44 yard scamper (75 total), was anemic. However, Shaun Draughn is proving to be a very solid find off of the scrap heap. He had a nice 26 yard catch and run on a 3rd and 5 play to go with his 1 yard TD run.
The Niners were outplayed, out-hit, and out-hustled for the most part, but the defense didn’t break given all the field position problems the offense presented. At times it looked like no one wanted to win this, but hey, a win is a win. Draft position be damned. This isn’t the NBA, where teams routinely tank for better draft spots. Football is way too easy to pick out the guys mailing it in. I have to give credit to Jimmy T for getting the guys somewhat ready for this, and to Trent Baalke for getting scrap-heap guys like Shaun Draughn, and Gerald Hodges, a couple of in-season finds that have helped this year.
Funny thing is, Gabbert was rated the worst BACKUP in the league at the start of the season. Now he’s 2-2 as a starter. Imagine that. I guess that $2 mill a year was well-spent.