On Tuesday morning, coach Jim Tomsula explained his rationale for the decision during his weekly radio spot on KNBR.
“We won the football game. He did a nice job out there,” Tomsula said of Gabbert's effort against the Atlanta Falcons.
“He had an opportunity, and I thought he did very well with his opportunity. I came back and watched the film, and what I felt during the game and what I watched on tape matched up for me and I made a decision.”
Tomsula was asked what, exactly, Gabbert did well?
“He did a nice job out there,” Tomsula said. “He played football with his brain. He played it with his feet. He played it with his arm. I thought he spread the ball around really well. He got us in and out of plays that we needed to get in and out of. When it was time to run and use his feet, he did. I just like the way he played the game.”
Gabbert went 15-of-25 for 185 yards and threw two touchdown passes to tight end Garrett Celek in the Niners' 17-16 victory over the Falcons on Sunday while also rushing for 32 yards on eight carries, including a game-clinching 5-yard bootleg around the right side on third-and-4.
Plus, Gabbert ended a personal 10-game losing streak as a starter and ended the Niners' nine quarter TD-less streak.
Earlier on Monday, Tomsula said he would speak to his staff and both Gabbert and deposed starter Colin Kaepernick before announcing the decision. Still, Tomsula remained steadfast that Gabbert was the starter for the Seattle game and would not commit beyond that NFC West divisional game.
“I’ve said it a lot, my calendar is this Sunday,” Tomsula said. “We’re open this week, then we’ve got next week and that’s my calendar. So that’s where we’re going.
“We’re working on what we’re looking at right now, getting combinations together on the field. We need to win football games, and we need to win them one at a time. So we are going to focus on winning one football game at a time.”
Tomsula would not compare Gabbert and Kaepernick, but he spoke fondly of the former starter.
“Colin has handled himself just unbelievably, OK?” Tomsula said. “And I think people know how I feel about Colin Kaepernick and what I think of him and how much I think of him.
“I do believe in the person. And he has handled himself just awesome here and with his teammates. That part of it, you couldn’t ask for any better, OK? So that’s my feelings.”