San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Chip Kelly watches his team warm up to play the Los Angeles Rams at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California on September 12. 2016. The 49ers defeated the Rams 28-0. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Enduring a new stadium that takes global warming to new heights, and unable to escape the Bunyan-esque shadow of Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers fans have a lot to grumble about.
But until Sunday, the new head coach was off limits.
Chip Kelly heard it from the so-called faithful late in the 49ers' 34-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a head-scratching decision with his team down by 13 points.
Facing a fourth-and-goal at the Tampa Bay 10 with 8:12 remaining and his team down 27-14, Kelly called upon Phil Dawson to kick what turned out to be a meaningless 28-yard field goal.
Well, meaningless if you don't consider the boos through which the chip shot was converted.
"It was third-and-11 or -12. I don't think we were getting a whole lot of time (to throw)," Kelly said.
In fact, the Buccaneers chased 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick out of the pocket on two of his previous five pass attempts.
"It put us down 10," Kelly said of the field goal. "You felt that you were at least going to get three drives left, so we could still convert."
Turns out, the 49ers only got two more possessions, and were down 17 (34-17) before they got either.
They punted and ran out of time the last two times they got the ball.
Bottom line, Kelly admitted, the coaching staff didn't have confidence the offense could get the job done given just one shot from 10 yards away.
"We just didn't feel like throwing the ball in from there that we were going to get it completed and score anything," he said. "So we wanted to come away with some points at that point."
Kelly made sure everyone understood that while he labeled Kaepernick's performance "up and down," he wasn't blaming the quarterback for the passing-game failures.
"It's not one set thing where it's if Colin is a little bit more accurate, we're OK," he said. "I think it's a combination of the routes we're running, the protection that we're giving him and then giving him the time that he has to throw it. He's been OK so far."