- Associated Press - Saturday, November 14, 2015

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Turmoil has surrounded Jim Tomsula since the moment he took over the San Francisco 49ers 10 months ago.

He was all but labeled by outsiders a lame-duck coach from Day 1 as CEO Jed York vowed to win another Super Bowl.

San Francisco has lost in embarrassing fashion, made mistakes on the field and off it, on both sides of the ball and on special teams.

And the 49ers (3-6) have hardly fixed the plethora of problems with a single, one-point win against Atlanta behind promoted backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert before the bye week.

Still, at least the players could go into their extended break with a better frame of mind even with blunders still being made.

“It kind of lifts the spirits a little bit,” safety Eric Reid said. “Winning heals all in football, as we say. We go into the bye week with a win, which is awesome. We’ve still got to keep building. We’ve got a long way to go.”

Tomsula finally said Gabbert would get another start in the next game. Well, he didn’t actually say it publicly but rather met with the quarterbacks Monday afternoon and the team posted the decision on Twitter.

The next game happens to be at rival Seattle on Nov. 22 and the nemesis opponent Colin Kaepernick has looked awful facing more times than not.

The Seahawks won 20-3 at Levi’s Stadium under the lights on Oct. 22, then San Francisco went a second straight game without a touchdown the following week versus St. Louis and that led to Kaepernick’s benching and a second chance for former first-round pick Gabbert.

After an offseason overhaul that featured the departure of now-Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh in what management called a “mutual parting” - and the surprising retirements of defensive stars Patrick Willis and Chris Borland and the not-so-surprising one by Justin Smith, things have become far worse. And fast.

Tomsula likely will be on the hot seat in a situation everybody deemed a difficult one from the start, when he was promoted from defensive line coach to run a team that lost so many leaders - Harbaugh included - and its place among the NFL elite.

The Niners missed the playoffs for the first time in four years following three straight trips to the NFC championship game and a three-point Super Bowl loss to Baltimore after the 2012 season.

Leading up to the quarterback switch Nov. 2, Tomsula faced weekly, if not more frequent, questions about Kaepernick’s struggles and when the first-year coach might consider a change.

When Tomsula announced it Nov. 4, he said he wanted to give Kaepernick a chance to “breathe.”

To which Kaepernick later in the week said, “I’m not out of breath.”

“I think I was completely transparent when I said Blaine would be our quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons game and then we would get into the bye week and we will go from there,” Tomsula said.

“I believe that was straight up. So, from that conversation to where I’m at right now, I will have conversations with my players and then after I have those conversations I will have conversations with you all. That’s all I’m simply saying.”

Three Novembers after being promoted over Alex Smith and leading San Francisco to the Super Bowl, Kaepernick lost his job with a series of rough performances behind an inconsistent offensive line that made things much harder. In a two-game stretch facing Arizona and Green Bay, Kaepernick threw five interceptions, took eight sacks and didn’t throw a touchdown pass.

Then Gabbert gave the Niners an improbable lift in last week’s 17-16 win against Atlanta and earned himself another start.

The offense finally producing seemed to do a lot for both sides of the ball, including linebacker NaVorro Bowman. He has had a nice comeback season after missing all of last year with a left knee injury that required surgery after he got hurt in the NFC championship game at Seattle in January 2014.

The challenge for Gabbert will be far more daunting after the bye week at raucous CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

“He moved the ball,” Reid said. “It was great, stellar. He stepped up huge for us. It’s exciting to watch them move the ball, it’s exciting to see them put points on the board. As a defense, it’s exciting to watch the game when you’re just sitting on the bench, hanging out, catching your breath. Hopefully we can keep that momentum going forward.”

Scoring against Seattle will be the next challenge after the Seahawks’ win at Levi’s Stadium last month for their fourth straight victory in the rivalry, holding the Niners to 142 total yards.

“Momentum in sports is like magic,” defensive tackle Tony Jerod-Eddie said. “Hopefully we can get this thing on the right track, stack a couple (of wins) and see what happens at the end.”

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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