49ers lead then falter, lose to Buccaneers, 43-17


Text and photos by R. Mascardo

SANTA CLARA — Thousands of empty seats at Levi’s Stadium underscored San Francisco’s downturn that continued Sunday when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the 49ers, 43-17.

Kaepernick’s season-long kneeling during the national anthem to protest oppression against minorities has become less a statement than a mood. These days fans just want to see their team win again after six consecutive losses.

Never the less the quarterback was greeted with a smattering of cheers when he walked onto the field for pre-game warm ups before kick-off.

After leading the 49ers to a promising 14-0 first-quarter lead, Kaepernick and the 49ers offense sputtered. He completed just 16 of 34 passes for 134 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Kaepernick’s scrambling — he led the team with 84 rushing yards on nine carries — and occasional flashes of accurate downfield passing weren’t enough. Even with the 49ers firmly in the game midway through the fourth quarter.

Many fans queried before the game kept their critiques to football performance, hotly debating over something else than Clinton and Trump.