Things look bad right now for the San Francisco 49ers, but they’re probably going to get worse before they get any better.
Colin Kaepernick had a career worst performance in the loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Four interceptions, two of them returned for touchdowns. He won’t look this bad again probably, but the potential for these kind of performances from him are still out there. Not just because of his abilities as a quarterback, but because he’s playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in football.
But let’s get the Kaepernick issue out of the way first. He isn’t the reason the 49ers have fallen quickly from the high they’ve gotten to under Jim Harbaugh. Hypothetically, they would have gotten to the same place (Super Bowl followed by a third consecutive appearance in the NFC championship game) with Alex Smith, but Kaepernick, with the play calling that suited him, a massive offensive line and competent coaching before it all imploded, was the quarterback who made it there.
In hindsight, maybe letting go of a passing quarterback for a running one was the wrong idea. But the 49ers under Harbaugh were always all-in. He took a team following a decade of mediocrity at best and immediately got it into the conference title game. The 49ers were built to win, until things got too testy, and Harbaugh himself outstayed his welcome.
One might say that the 49ers panicked because of one 8-8 season, which was filled with injuries and things that not all of them had to do with poor coaching and more with some bad luck. But Harbaugh was leaving regardless of the final record in 2014. He and his bosses hated each other. Wrong or right, it doesn’t matter. You can’t work like that for a very long time, especially once you’re past the peak of that specific team he partially built. A lot of the parts were already there. He just put them together the right way.
So now? Fans are getting rid of their season ticket licenses. There’s no passing game or too much going on in the receivers corps, and even a deep threat like Torrey Smith has nothing to do on the field with a quarterback that doesn’t have the time to get him the ball. A combination of a terrible new stadium (especially the distance from the city), the poor decision making by the front office and frankly, a very poor product on the field, has been leading up to this point. A win over the Vikings in week 1 kept some hopes up, but the 49ers crushed the Cowboys a year ago in week 1 and then things fell apart. The losses to the Steelers and Cardinals are much more indicative of what’s really going on.