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49ers wave white flag with Davis trade

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If recent scores hadn’t indicated they’d already done so, the San Francisco 49ers formally hoisted the white flag on Monday.

On the same day that they traded the greatest tight end in franchise history, Vernon Davis, to the Denver Broncos, 49ers coach Jim Tomsula admitted the club is at least contemplating making a change at quarterback.

The latter was more surprising than the former, as Tomsula staunchly had stuck behind Colin Kaepernick all season before, apparently, running out of patience following Sunday’s 27-6 loss at St. Louis.

“We’re evaluating everything right now,” Tomsula said at his weekly day-after-game press conference.

When that seemed to leave the door open for benching Kaepernick, the coach was asked specifically about his quarterback.

“Yeah, we’re evaluating everybody,” he disclosed.

Kaepernick was coming off one of his worst performances of a dismal season. He went just 20-for-41 for 162 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions.

The 59.2 passer rating was his third-lowest of the season.

But he did have some excuses this time. He was missing his top running back (Carlos Hyde) and top wide receiver (Anquan Boldin) due to injuries, and then lost his best remaining back (Reggie Bush) to a knee injury during a punt return less than 10 minutes into the game.

Now, whoever is named to quarterback this week’s home game against Atlanta – backup Blaine Gabbert is the logical alternative – will be further hampered by the absence of Davis, who caught a team-high six passes in the St. Louis game.

As many had expected, Davis was dealt Monday to the Denver Broncos along with a 2016 seventh-round draft pick and for a pair of sixth-rounders, one in 2016 and the other in 2017.

“On behalf of the entire 49ers organization, I would like to thank Vernon for his decade of contributions to this team and our community,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke was quoted as saying in a statement released by the team. “Not only has he contributed to some of the most memorable moments in franchise history, but he has also positively impacted the lives of many others through his efforts in the community. We wish Vernon continued success in both football and life.”

Davis, the sixth overall pick of the 2006 draft, leaves the 49ers as their all-time leader among tight ends in receptions (441), receiving yards (5,640) and touchdowns (55).

Vance McDonald, who had one catch in the St. Louis game, is expected to take over Davis’ starting spot.

REPORT CARD VS. RAMS

PASSING OFFENSE: D-minus. The good news Sunday for Colin Kaepernick was he threw 41 times without an interception. Otherwise, his performance was so bad, the 49ers are now considering benching him. He completed only 20 of his 41 attempts for 162 yards, and failed to get the 49ers into the end zone for the third time in the last five games.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F. Actually, “incomplete” would be a more pertinent grade as the 49ers basically showed up absent for Sunday’s game. First-stringer Carlos Hyde (stress fracture in foot) was inactive, second-stringer Reggie Bush (knee) got hurt on a punt return in the first quarter and third-stringer Mike Davis (hand) went out late in the second period. That left Kendall Gaskins, promoted from the practice squad earlier in the week, as the top back. It’s little wonder Kaepernick led the team in rushing with 28 yards on six carries.

PASS DEFENSE: C-minus. If the 49ers, short-handed on offense, were going to compete with the Rams, they needed to force Nick Foles into a mistake or two. Instead, the game manager had an average game, completing 14-for-23 for 191 yards and one touchdown. The 49ers never got that interception they desperately needed, and never got to Foles at all, failing to record a single sack.

RUSH DEFENSE: B. Take away Todd Gurley’s 71-yard touchdown run and the 49ers actually did a good job on the run-oriented Rams. Alas, that 71-yarder in the second quarter gave the Rams a lead they never relinquished and allowed them to stick to their preferred conservative game plan. Gurley finished with 133 yards on 20 carries, which sounds good until you realize that’s just 62 yards on the 19 attempts other than the long TD.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B-plus. The 49ers earned a “plus” on their usual “B” grade for special teams based on Sunday’s circumstances. They lost three special-teamers to injuries – Reggie Bush (knee) on a punt return, Bradley Pinion (calf) on a punt and L.J. McCray (knee) on kick coverage. The star of the day was Phil Dawson, who not only made both his field-goal attempts but also stepped in for Pinion and spiralled a 48-yard punt.

COACHING: F. You’d think a team that was being held without a touchdown for a second consecutive game might try something different. You know, like changing quarterbacks maybe. Jim Tomsula indicated Monday the 49ers are pondering such a move, but it’s one they really could have considered 24 hours earlier as their quarterback was completing less than 50 percent of his passes in yet another dismal offensive effort.


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