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Tomsula sat Kap so QB could 'step back and breathe'

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San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Tomsula confirmed Wednesday that Colin Kaepernick has been benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert for this week's tilt versus the Atlanta Falcons.

"I met with the quarterbacks on Monday and made the decision to go with Blaine Gabbert," Tomsula said. "It was a tough decision, but I feel it's the direction we need to go."

The first-year coach said he wanted Kaepernick to take a "step back and breathe and look at things through a different lens," adding that the team's dismal season does not rest on the quarterback's shoulders alone.

"I felt like this was the direction we needed to go. In no way is 2-6 all on Colin Kaepernick. That's on all of us," Tomsula said. "This is a guy I think has talent ... I just want him to step back, keep working"

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Kaepernick faced a locker-room split and the organization's decision makers stayed with the quarterback as long as they could, but dysfunction on offense could no longer be ignored.

It's a steep fall for Kaepernick from his breakout season of 2012. The 49ers quarterback has regressed as a signal-caller, struggling with accuracy, anticipation and field vision over the last several weeks.

The move to Gabbert is a shocking declaration of Kaepernick's slide. Gabbert has a career 5-22 record as a starting quarterback, losing his last 10 games. For his career, Gabbert has a 53.0 completion percentage, 159.4 passing yards per game, a 22-24 TD-INT ratio and a 66.1 passer rating -- the lowest rating in the NFL since 2011.

With the Niners' season sinking faster than the Titanic, Kaepernick will have a chance to "breathe" from the sideline and watch Gabbert attempt to salvage the sinking ship.

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