If the 49ers weren’t ready for last Sunday’s game against the Browns, they wouldn’t have blocked a field goal, recovered a fumble, intercepted a pass and had a 32-yard punt return in the first half, offensive coordinator Geep Chryst said Thursday.
Chryst made those comments when asked about Browns coach Mike Pettine’s comments from a day earlier. Speaking to the Cleveland media Wednesday, Pettine said his team entered the game wanting to compete, but “I don’t know if I sensed that same attitude from the other side.”
Said Chryst: “You try to take in the context of what he was trying to say: He’s shining his star, saying that even though we lost seven in a row, look how we showed up. We’re a team that does not quit.
“Some coaches will try to use the media as a megaphone to praise or compliment,” Chryst continued. “He also said in that (news conference that Seattle quarterback) Russell Wilson, he did not consider an elite quarterback, either ... So you can’t overreact. Everyone has an opinion. But you can’t overreact.”
Despite the momentous, first-half plays that Chryst described, the 49ers managed only three points in the half. They gained 221 yards on the afternoon, 94 of them on a meaningless touchdown drive at the end of the game.
Chryst cited blown opportunities as part of the problem.
Facing fourth and one at the start of the second quarter, 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert took a sack instead of getting rid of the ball and possibly connecting with wide-open tight end Blake Bell.
“That was one play that Blaine mentioned to me that if he had had it over, he would have put a little more air (under it) and got it up early,” Chryst said.
In the third quarter, Gabbert completed a 35-yard pass to Quinton Patton to the Cleveland 23-yard line. But Patton was called for illegal motion – leaning forward as the ball was snapped – which wiped out the gain and pushed San Francisco backward five yards.
“We’ve run a motion 1,000 times,” Chryst said. “Why did he, on that one play, do that? Is it a lack of experience in going in motion? Was he excited about making the play? We completed the play. Again, that’s a plus-23 (yard play) in a 10-3 game. ... We could have tied that game up right there. Instead, that’s a penalty, the next two plays are sacks, and it materially affects how you feel about the game. I know it affected me.”
Et cetera – Wide receiver Torrey Smith, who has played in every game of his career, missed his second consecutive practice with back and toe injuries. If Smith can’t play, Patton likely will be his primary replacement. Patton has played 333 offensive snaps this year, third most among 49ers receivers behind Smith (603) and Anquan Boldin (572).
▪ One player who missed Sunday’s game with a concussion, tight end Vance McDonald, was out of his blue, no-contact jersey Thursday, but another, outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, was not, signaling that Lynch is not progressing through the league’s concussion protocol as quickly. Lynch was listed as a limited participant; McDonald was full.
▪ Running back Kendall Gaskins (concussion) was back at practice after missing Wednesday’s session. He also was wearing a blue jersey and was limited in practice.