San Francisco 49ers

Report card: 49ers bounce back with Gabbert, backups

Video: QBs Gabbert and Kaepernick prepare for 49ers-Falcons game

Here's the scene as newly named starter Blaine Gabbert and the player he replaced, Colin Kaepernick, warmed up before the San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons squared off in their NFL game on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015.
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Here's the scene as newly named starter Blaine Gabbert and the player he replaced, Colin Kaepernick, warmed up before the San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons squared off in their NFL game on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015.

Offense: More than two years after his last start, quarterback Blaine Gabbert looked as if he has conquered the jitters that plagued him in Jacksonville. His passer rating would have been stellar if not for drops, bobbles by receivers and one bad throw in the second half that was intercepted. Meanwhile, new running back Shaun Draughn was solid in his first start in five NFL seasons. Grade: B

Defense: Linebacker NaVorro Bowman had perhaps his best game of the season, and the unit had infinitely more bounce than in the past two contests. The 49ers played without their top three cornerbacks but mostly held Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan in check and limited Devonta Freeman, the league’s rushing leader entering the contest, to 12 rushing yards. Grade: A-

Special teams: Punter Bradley Pinion saved a sure touchdown with a strong tackle on Falcons return man Eric Weems, who had several big returns. Bruce Ellington was sure-handed catching the ball in misty Levi’s Stadium. Ellington had one punt return for 17 yards, calling for a fair-catch on every other opportunity. Grade: C-

Overall: The 49ers enter their bye week feeling far better about themselves than they did a week ago. Their energy level and focus were a good sign for coach Jim Tomsula, whose team must improve in the last half of the season. One caveat: The 49ers’ next two opponents, Seattle and Arizona, thumped them in their first meetings. Grade: B+

San Francisco 49ers fans on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015, weighed in on the benching of quarterback Colin Kaepernick in favor of backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who started for the 49ers in their NFL game against the Atlanta Falcons.

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