Colin Kaepernick is taking a lot of heat for is poor performance in the 49ers’ Week 10 loss to the Carolina Panthers. While he shouldn’t shoulder all of the blame, the quarterback’s inability to move the offense is concerning and is starting to become a trend in San Francisco losses.
In the 49ers’ six wins this season, the team has averaged 34.7 points per game. That total would indicate a prolific offense performance, but other than Week 1’s 412 yards against the Packers that has not always been the case. Kaepernick has only eclipsed 200 yards one other time in during those six victories and has never thrown for more than 150 in a loss. That is not to say he hasn’t played efficient, good football in San Francisco wins. For the most part he has, throwing 9 touchdown passes to only one interception. He also has three rushing touchdowns in those games. Most of the credit for those large point totals, however, have to do with the team’s dominant run game and a defense that was causing turnovers in bunches, giving the offense favorable situations.
Where Kaepernick has looked completely over matched has been in the 49ers’ three losses. All of the teams San Francisco has lost to (Seattle, Indianapolis, and Carolina) have good to excellent front sevens and put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. They have caused Kaepernick problems in those games as he is only completing 48.1 percent of his passes and did not throw a touchdown pass. The team itself has only scored 19 points total in the losses and Kaepernick has turned the ball over seven times.
It’s tough to pin all of the blame for losses on Kaepernick, just as one player isn’t responsible for all of the victories. What is concerning is that Kaepernick appears to be regressing in his play and is having trouble make reads. He often freezes in the pocket if his first read is covered and that split second of indecision could be the different between a completion or a sack.
Moving forward, the 49ers coaching staff (specifically Greg Roman) has to do a better job of calling plays that will put Kaepernick in better situations. While important to throw out of the pocket at times, the team should also be using their quarterback’s athleticism by rolling him out and letting him play in space.
It’s only been 19 games since Kaepernick took over for Alex Smith and their is still a lot of learning to do. San Francisco needs to hope that this is all just part of the learning curse and Kaepernick can bounce back. If not, they may have to seriously rethink their plan for the future.
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