Third downs continued to be a thorn in the side of Blaine Gabbert and the San Francisco 49ers offense on Sunday.
In the team's 24-14 home loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, the 49ers converted on just 2-of-14 such opportunities. The two successful attempts came late in the fourth quarter.
"It's tough. When you're in 3rd-and-14, 3rd-and-15, 3rd-and-12 versus a talented defense, the odds of executing on third are extremely low," Gabbert said postgame. "It's up to the players to not put ourselves in that situation. Eleven guys have to be on the same page on offense."
Overall, the offense faced downs of 3rd-and-10 or longer 11 different times on Sunday. And because the team fell behind the chains, the 49ers were held scoreless until late in the third quarter.
"We prepare really well all week, but we just have to find a way to have that carry over to the first couple drives of the game," Gabbert said. "When you start fast on offense, it gets everybody in the flow and you start playing team football."
The 49ers eventually found their rhythm in the second half, putting up two touchdowns and recording a third would-be scoring drive that was thwarted by a blocked field goal.
"Early in the first half, you have to get into the flow of the game and help dictate some coverages," Gabbert said. "At the end of the game, we knew what we were getting and as players, we went out there and executed. But it was too little too late at that point."
Gabbert, who is now 2-4 as the 49ers starting quarterback, finished his afternoon completing 30-of-50 passes for 295 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. The 50 attempts set a new career high for the 26-year-old.
Gabbert's touchdown pass went to Anquan Boldin in the back of the endzone for a 15-yard strike. Two of his three picks came on passes that were deflected off of Garrett Celek's hands.
"That's football for you," Gabbert said. "It's not anyone's fault. Sometimes the ball just doesn't bounce your way. You can't point fingers or place blame, you just have to throw the ball and catch the ball better.
"That starts with me. Those happen sometimes and you have to live with it."
After being sacked nine times last week against the Cleveland Browns, Gabbert was brought down four times versus the Bengals. But given his 50 attempts, that number signaled a step in the right direction.
"Our offensive line is doing a tremendous job. They gave me a ton of time today," Gabbert said. "That's an extremely talented defensive front seven that we faced, and they played their tails off from the get-go. I appreciate every one of those guys. There's nothing bad I can say about them."