Blaine Gabbert is in For a Rude Awakening


Blaine Gabbert is in for a rude awakening. According to the San Francisco 49ers‘ official website, Gabbert has been named the week 11 starter against the Seattle Seahawks. This news comes on the heels of an unexpected 49ers’ victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Gabbert deserves to start the next game, but is in for an ill-mannered inauguration into the fiery rivalry with Seattle.

Gabbert completed 15 of 25 passes for 185 yards against the Falcons. He threw for two touchdowns and two interceptions. His QBR was 65.8, which is less than stellar. He also ran the ball eight times for 32 yards. Gabbert was hardly exceptional and was referred to by Paul Gutierrez as a “game manager”. 49ers’ offensive coordinator Geep Chryst commented on the parallels between Gabbert and former 49ers quarterback, Alex Smith, who was also referred to as a game manager during his time in San Francisco.

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Gabbert may not provide the same excitement that Colin Kaepernick is capable of producing. However, because he won, he deserves to maintain the starting role with the 49ers.

Gabbert won with a depleted team. Making his first start of the season, he quickly realized the type of environment that had surrounded Kaepernick all year. 49er receivers let Gabbert down by continuously dropping what would be straightforward catches. Jerome Simpson was especially guilty of this, when he couldn’t handle a precisely thrown ball by Gabbert, which ultimately ended up in the hands of a Falcons’ defensive back, resulting in one of Gabberts’ interceptions.

Gabbert was not sacked at all. Kaepernick has been sacked 28 times this season. Gabbert did not benefit from any personnel changes this week, he simply looked more comfortable in the pocket than Kaepernick has all year. He maintained his focus downfield when he felt pressure, and had no issues running when he felt necessary. Gabbert was determined to stay strong in the pocket and made that clear to his offensive line. According to SF Gate, Gabbert stated, “I told that O-line I was going to stick in there and take some shots to the chin but get the ball out”. Gabbert clearly stuck by his words. He was hammered in the second half after trying to complete a pass, a hit that briefly forced him out of the game due to concussion worries.

Without much help, Gabbert still looked confident behind center. He embraced the opportunity and threw for two touchdown passes. The 49ers had not scored a touchdown in their last two games.

What is his reward? Leading the 49ers against the Seahawks in Seattle, where the 49ers have not won since 2011. The rivalry between the two teams has grown immensely over the past few seasons and the Seahawks always seem to find another gear when hosting San Francisco.

The Seahawks are currently in the midst of a downturn. They have a 4-5 record and are coming off a hard fought loss to the Arizona Cardinals. The Seahawks uncharacteristically gave up 39 points, 21 of which came from passing touchdowns. Whether or not the self-proclaimed “Legion of Boom” has seen its final days of success in Seattle, you can be sure that they will be motivated to make an example of the 49ers. San Francisco is reeling. The team is in shambles. From the perspective of the Seahawks, this is the opportune game to get your season back on track. They get to play their rival, at home. They have already convincingly defeated said rival this season. AND, they can remain in the playoff picture with a win.

The Seahawks were not expecting to have their backs against the wall at this point in the season. However, they are a much more dangerous opponent because that is exactly where they find themselves. They have nothing to lose, which must be scary as hell for Gabbert and the 49ers.

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This is a simple case of the wrong place at the wrong time. Blaine Gabbert deserves to start after he unexpectedly led the 49ers to victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Unfortunately, that next start comes against a dangerous Seahawks team in the most inhospitable environment. A Kaepernick appearance is not out of the question. Gabbert, the best of luck to you.