The San Francisco 49ers find themselves in unfamiliar territory under third-year coach Jim Harbaugh: on a losing streak.
It’s pretty uncomfortable for all involved considering the rash of uncharacteristic penalties, a star player headed to rehab for an indefinite absence, and an offense that has produced 10 points the past two games. Not to mention a mistake-plagued defense, supposed to be among the best in the NFL, giving up big plays and showing serious flaws.
Andrew Luck thoroughly outshined Colin Kaepernick in a matchup of Jim Harbaugh quarterbacks past and present, and the Indianapolis Colts beat the San Francisco 49ers 27-7 on Sunday.
“Not winning this game, not being in position to make plays and make it competitive, that was disappointing to all of us,” Harbaugh said. “You can question just about everything right now. We didn’t play well enough to win in enough areas, on enough downs.”
San Francisco has a quick turnaround before a key division matchup at St. Louis on Thursday night — but the 49ers won’t have linebacker Aldon Smith, who is seeking treatment following his arrest Friday morning on suspicion of DUI and marijuana possession.
Smith apologized after the game to “everybody I let down,” while 49ers CEO Jed York defended the organization’s decision to let him play ahead of him leaving the team to get help.
“Our opinion is if you’re sitting someone down and paying them to sit down when they’re going to seek treatment in the future, we didn’t feel like that was an appropriate punishment,” York said.
Making matters worse, the 49ers lost All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis to a groin injury. His status is unclear.
Frank Gore finally found his rhythm as a bright spot for San Francisco, yet he had little help.
Gore ran for 82 yards after going for 60 total in his first two games, but Kaepernick had problems again as San Francisco (1-2) struggled to establish a passing game with tight end Vernon Davis sidelined by a hamstring injury. The defense committed numerous costly penalties for the third straight week.
Luck passed for 164 yards while facing his college coach for the first time. Trent Richardson scored a 1-yard touchdown on his first carry in his Colts debut after being acquired on Wednesday from the Browns. He was drafted two spots behind top-pick Luck last year.
This marked Kaepernick’s first loss at Candlestick Park as a starter.