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Notebook: Blaine Gabbert Produces 3 TDs in Defeat, 49ers Remain atop NFC West

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Blaine Gabbert continued one streak and had a few others snapped on Sunday.

The quarterback has completed at least one touchdown pass in 12 consecutive games, including one in each ofi his 11 appearances for the San Francisco 49ers.

Gabbert threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith and later connected on a 75-yard touchdown to Vance McDonald in a 46-27 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Gabbert also added a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

As for the streaks that were snapped: Gabbert was sacked and intercepted for the first time in 2016. The sixth-year pro was dropped twice and picked off two more times against the defending NFC champs.

"That's a great defense," Gabbert said after he completed 17-of-36 passes for 243 yards with two touchdowns and two late-game interceptions. "That's a talented front seven that we faced.

"It's tough-sledding on some days. And as the quarterback, I have to make plays on the outside. That falls on my shoulders. The receivers and I have to get on the same page throughout the entire game and get the ball down the field and get the perimeter passes going and get this offense on track."

Just as the 49ers battled back from a 21-point deficit to make it a one score game, Carolina tacked on a field goal to go up 10 with four minutes left in the game. Gabbert's first turnover of the year took place on the ensuing drive when All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly picked off the 49ers quarterback. Panthers rookie cornerback James Bradberry intercepted Gabbert as well on San Francisco's next drive.

The comeback bid was over at that point for the 49ers.

"(I was) trying to give us a little juice, get a first big down, get chunks of yardage because the clock was dwindling down there," Gabbert said. "Those fall on me. Those were inexcusable."

Chip Kelly didn't blame his quarterback for the team's first loss of 2016. The coach, however, said the signal-caller was "up and down" on the day.

"It wasn't helped by the drops," Kelly said of Gabbert's performance. "I thought there were some plays I thought he could have been a little more accurate with the ball. … I think as a team we were up and down. I'm not going to single the guy out."Niner Notes:

-- McDonald's touchdown grab in the fourth quarter was the longest reception by a tight end in franchise history.

-- Carlos Hyde rushed 14 times for 34 yards (2.4 average) against the Panthers. The third-year running back also lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown by linebacker Shaq Thompson to give Carolina its first points of the day. Following the game, Hyde was accountable for his mistake. "I came off a good week, and then I perform that way, it's just unacceptable," Hyde said. "I have to get better. I have to do better. I can't put the ball on the ground."

-- NaVorro Bowman led the 49ers with 11 tackles. The All-Pro linebacker also tipped a Cam Newton pass that was intercepted by safety Antoine Bethea. It was the first of four turnovers created by San Francisco. "We have a good team," Bowman said. "You can see the positives. You can see that the adverse situations that we came upon, and we stayed locked in. We finished the game, and that's all you can ask for, for you to finish, not fold, not give up. It just comes down to a few plays out there."

-- Linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong suffered a pectoral injury in the second half, according to the 49ers. Armstrong posted four tackles and one fumble recovery in the game. He will have an MRI when the team returns back to the Bay Area.

-- Nose tackle Glenn Dorsey appeared in his first game since suffering a torn ACL in 2015. "It felt good to take the field and get some work in with my teammates and the rest of the d-linemen," Dorsey said. "It wasn't the outcome we wanted, but there were some things we can build on. I look forward to watching the film, critiquing myself and making the corrections for next week."

-- Despite the loss, the 49ers are in a four-way tie atop the NFC West. The Los Angeles Rams upset the Seattle Seahawks at home with a 9-3 victory. The Arizona Cardinals also picked up their first win of 2016 with a 40-7 thrashing of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. San Francisco is the only team with a winning record in divisional play. The 49ers visit the Seahawks next Sunday in Seattle.

Week 2 NFC West standings:
San Francisco: 1-1 (1-0 in division)
Los Angeles: 1-1 (1-1)
Arizona: 1-1 (0-0)
Seattle: 1-1 (0-1)

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