2013 Colin Kaepernick – Week 4 review

The 49ers bounced back with a win on Thursday Night against division rival St. Louis Rams. It was another slow start for the 49ers led by Colin Kaepernick. In Kaepernick’s 14 starts (playoffs included) the 49ers ended with a punt on their opening drive 10 times, 9 of those were 3 & outs. Even without some key players on defense that unit again kept the team in the game early on when offensive unit couldn’t move the ball in the 1st quarter. The 49ers technically had 16 drives on offense, but I count only 15 (drive with fair catch kick to end the half excluded). They scored 5 touchdowns and punted the ball 7 times. On average, they’ve started their drives on own 28 yard line.

1st drive: Own 34, 11:41 left in the 1st qrt, score tied 0-0
Kaepernick started the first drive rolling to his right after a fake and found B. Miller for 11 yards. On his second drop back he was pressured and had to throw on the move, the pass was incomplete. F. Gore and K. Hunter ran with the ball on 2nd and 3rd down and both lost yards on the play. It was 4th and 13, P. Dawson missed 53-yard field goal attempt.

2nd drive: Own 20, 7:09 left in the 1st qrt, SF down 3-0
Kaepernick couldn’t avoid the pressure to start the second drive and took a sack and lost 8 yards. He had FB B. Miller open, with a quick release he could have hit Miller for nice gain but held the ball too long and eventually took a sack. On the next play, defensive pass interference on A. Boldin gave the 49ers automatic first down. With two run plays the 49ers gained only 3 yards which set up a long 3rd down. With empty backfield Kaepernick completed a short pass to Q. Patton. He caught the ball 4 yards behind the line of scrimmage and could only get back to the line for 0 yards on the play. The 49ers had to punt.

sack3rd drive: Own 42, 1:11 left in the 1st qrt, SD down 3-0
After a 4 yard gain from F. Gore run, Kaepernick again rolled to his right, completed a pass to A. Boldin, but the play was nullified because of offensive pass interference. On the next play, Kaepernick escaped the pressure and almost completed a pass to A. Boldin who dropped the ball, the drop was forced by CB J. Jenkins. Kaepernick’s next deep pass on 3rd and 16, intended for V. Davis, was almost intercepted. The 49ers had to punt again.

4th drive: Own 20, 9:17 left in the 2nd qrt, SF down 3-0
F. Gore ran for 27 yards on 1st down, but LaMichael James lost 1 and gained only 1 back on the next 2 run plays. It was 3rd and 10 and Kaepernick completed his first deep ball of the game to A. Boldin for 42 yards. Later on, after offensive holding penalty, the 49ers faced another 3rd and long, this time 3rd and 19. Boldin caught Kaepernick’s pass at STL 11 yard line and made a great effort to get in the endzone for 49ers’ first TD of the game.

5th drive: Own 20, 3:56 left in the 2nd qrt, SF up 7-3
D. Whitner intercepted Bradford’s pass in the endzone which gave the offense the ball at own 20 yard line. F. Gore was again big part of the offense on this drive, he ran for 17 more yards on a 2nd and 3 play. Kaepernick completed a pass for 20 yards to A. Boldin, but the play was later challenged and reversed. After a 9 yard completion to K. Hunter, the 49ers faced 3rd and 1. It looked like F. Gore did enough to get the first down, but the play was again challenged and reversed. The 49ers went for it on 4th and 1 from STL 34 yard line. This time F. Gore ran through Rams’ defense for a 34 yard TD.

6th drive: Own 20, 15:00 left in the 3rd qrt, SF up 14-3
Kaepernick opened the second half with another designed play which gave him time and room to throw as he was rolling to his right. He connected with B. Miller for 9 yards. On 2nd and 1, F. Gore ran for 13 yards but fumbled the ball in the end. The fumble was recovered by St. Louis Rams. It was 49ers’ first turnover of the game.

7th drive: Own 12, 13:52 left in the 3rd qrt, SF up 14-3
This was 49ers’ longest drive of the game, 11 plays for 88 yards and a TD, which took more than 5 min of the clock. Kaepernick rolled to his right 3 times on this drive and was again almost intercepted on 2nd and 9 play when he was looking for K. Williams deep down the middle. On 3rd and 9 he found J. Baldwin for 15 yards. Kaepernick scrambled for a first down on 2 and 6 play. The 49ers advanced down to STL 12 yard line and faced 3rd and 2. Kaepernick send A. Boldin in motion and looked to him first after the snap, but progressed to V. Davis who beat the coverage and caught accurate pass from Kaepernick for a touchdown.

8th drive: Own 15, 7:05 left in the 3rd qrt, SF up 21-3
This was first in the series of four 3 & out drives from the 49ers. On second down Kaepernick rolled to his right again but couldn’t complete a pass to TE V. McDonald. On 3rd down he found A. Boldin for 5 yards, but it wasn’t enough for a first down.

9th drive: Own 22, 4:20 left in the 3rd qrt, SF up 21-3
K. Hunter lost 2 and F. Gore gained 2 yards and the 49ers were in another 3rd and long situation. Kaepernick threw a screen pass behind F. Gore who couldn’t catch the ball. It was second straight 3 & out for the 49ers.

10th drive: Own 4, 1:51 left in the 3rd qrt, SF up 21-3
After a 1-yard run from F. Gore, Kaepernick rolled to his right again and scrambled for 4 yards. He had V. Davis open, but didn’t pull the trigger. On 3rd and 5 he found J. Baldwin for 4 yards, one yard short of a first down. Another 3 & out, another punt.

scramble11th drive: Own 29, 13:25 left in the 4th qrt, SF up 21-3
The last drive in the series of 3 & outs began with 7 yard run from F. Gore. After a play-action fake Kaepernick didn’t find open receivers and had to take a sack. Kaepernick was hit as he threw on 3rd down pass to F. Gore, the ball was off-target and the 49ers had to punt.

12th drive: Opp 3, 11:03 left in the 4th qrt, SF up 21-3
LB N. Bowman forced fumble recovered by the 49ers gave the offense an excellent field position. A. Dixon ran for a touchdown on 2nd and goal from STL 1 yard line.

13th drive: Own 15, 9:00 left in the 4th qrt, SF up 28-3
In attempt to run down the clock the 49ers ran with the ball the rest of the way. After they got a first down from 3 runs in this drive, Kaepernick fumbled the ball when he was handing it off to his running back, recovered by St. Louis Rams. It was 2nd turnover of the game for the 49ers.

14th drive: Opp 42, 5:44 left in the 4th qrt, SF up 28-11
The 49ers continued to run with the ball, it was all K. Hunter on this drive as he ran 4 times on this drive, on 3rd and 13 he ran 29 yards for a touchdown.

15th drive: Own 13, 3:00 left in the 4th qrt, SF up 35-11
Kaepernick opened the drive with a handoff to K. Hunter and left the game after the play. He dropped back to pass 27 times and handed/tossed the ball to his running backs 35 times in this game. QB Colt McCoy entered the game and handed off the ball twice more before another punt by the 49ers.

Drive stats
A better performance compared to the Week 3 game for the 49ers as they scored 35 points from 15 drives against the Rams in a TNF game. This is Colin Kaepernick’s review so I reviewed his 62 plays on offense (fair catch kick and two snaps from Colt McCoy at the end of the game not included). Kaepernick didn’t throw an INT but is officially responsible for aborted snap/dropped handoff fumble. It was his 7th turnover for the season, already more than in whole 2012 season with playoffs included.

W4-drive statsOffensive formations
With the return of its power running game, San Francisco mainly operated from under center. The 49ers attacked the Rams on season high 62.9% from formations with Colin Kaepernick under center. The 49ers were up 18 points early in the 4th quarter and there was no need to play catch up, they were in shotgun on only 27.4% and ran the pistol only 9.7% of all plays, similar to 2012 regular season.

W4-formationsPass plays
Out of 62 offensive plays, 27 were designed pass plays: 23 pass attempts, 2 scrambles and 2 plays resulted in a sack. First let’s take a look at standard passing stats.

W4-passingAnd a table with calculated yards per pass play and sack rate.

W4-YPPColin Kaepernick had Alex-Smith-like passing stats on Thursday Night. He attempted 23 passes with 6.0 yards per pass play and 7.4% sack rate. The 49ers tried best to put him in comfortable situations, with plays designed for him to roll to his right a lot.
Kaepernick did play good enough to beat the Rams, especially on 3rd downs. He attempted 10 passes and completed 7 of them for 98 yards, 2 TD with 0 INT and 140.8 passer rating on 3rd down plays.

W4-3rd 4th downHe didn’t scramble and didn’t take a sack in those critical down situations. He was pressured on only 1 out of 10 plays on 3rd downs. On average, 49ers had 10 yards to go on 3rd down.

W4-3rd4thD situationsSuccess rate is % of plays which resulted in new set of downs or TDs.

Under pressure

W4-under pressureColin Kaepernick was pressured 6 times out of total 27 dropbacks (22.2%) against the Rams, 2 of those 6 pressure plays resulted in a sack, he scrambled once because of the pressure provided by the Rams and attempted 3 passes and completed 1 for 9 yards as we can see from the table above. With already mentioned roll out plays and Kaepernick’s ability to avoid the pressure he was able to avoid the pressure on majority of pass plays and didn’t feel the pressure as much as he did in 2 games against the Rams last year.

Incompletions
Kaepernick attempted a total of 23 passes and completed 15 of them. Here’s a breakdown of his 8 incompletions. He was off-target 4 times, had 2 passes dropped and 2 defended.

W4-incompletionsRun plays
For the first time in his pro career Colin Kaepernick didn’t run with the ball on a designed run play.

W4-rushingConclusion
The 49ers were in a tough spot. After 2 back-to-back losses they hit the road on a short week to play division rival who played them extremely hard in the last season. They managed to come up with a much-needed win despite early struggles from offensive unit who still misses starting wide receivers. Colin Kaepernick did better compared to his previous two games, but he wasn’t ask to do a lot as San Francisco returned to its power running game. The 49ers specifically designed plays for Colin Kaepernick to put him in at most comfortable spot to throw the ball to his receivers.  He did miss a few plays again, but those weren’t costly as 49ers defense played lights out throughout the whole game. They limit the Rams to just 3 points until garbage time and forced some key turnovers. Kaepernick played great on key 3rd down plays and was 2 for 2 and 2 TDs in the redzone. As usual, his elusiveness and speed helped him avoid as much pressure as possible. It also helped Kaepernick to have V. Davis back in the lineup, who was targeted 4 times and caught only 2 passes, but he helps other receivers to get open.
The 49ers can now enjoy mini bye week, at least the defense, on offense they still have lots of work to do before Week 5 game on SNF at home against the Texans.

2013 NFL Week 4 picks

Week 3 was by far the worst week for me this season. I ended up with 8-8 record picking Week 3 NFL games. San Francisco 49ers (1-2) and St. Louis Rams (1-2) will open Week 4 in the NFL on Thursday Night. I’ll stick to my belief. Home team on TNF has a big advantage, that’s why I’m picking the Rams to win the game. I’ll update this post later this week with the rest of Week 4 picks.

Update: The 49ers beat the Rams on Thursday Night, for me that’s 0-1 to start the week and 33-16 for the season.
Update2: Finished with 9-6 with my Week 4 picks, that’s 42-21 for the season.

Week 4

2013 Colin Kaepernick – Week 3 review

With a loss against the Colts on Sunday, the 1-2 San Francisco 49ers are a sub .500 team for the first time in Jim Harbaugh era. It is also the first time the 49ers have lost two in a row under Harbaugh. San Francisco couldn’t get much going against Colts’ defense almost all day. The 49ers technically had 11 drives on offense, but I count only 10 (the kneel-down drive at the end of 1st half obviously excluded) from which they scored only 1 TD. On average, they’ve started their drives on own 20 yard line, which was the worst average field position this season.

1st drive: Own 13, 11:20 left in the 1st qrt, SF down 7-0
Colts scored on their opening drive, but the 49ers started their own with a 3 & out. That has been the case in all of the 49ers’ games this season – a slow, 3 and out, start on offense. Kaepernick missed K. Williams on 2nd & 3 and when K. Hunter gained only 2 yards on 3rd down the 49ers had to punt.

2nd drive: Own 9, 8:47 left in the 1st qrt, SF down 7-0
The 49ers got it going on the second drive of the game. Kaepernick completed pass to A. Boldin for 14 yards and later scrambled for another 14 yards and a first down. From that point on, if we exclude sack play for 1 yard loss (Kaepernick ran out of bound behind the line of scrimmage), the 49ers turned to their running game. With runs from Gore for 11 and 21 yards the 49ers were quickly in the redzone. After a 3 yard loss on 1st, K. Hunter ran for 13 yards and a touchdown on 2nd down.

3rd drive: At 50, 2:53 left in the 1st qrt, score tied 7-7
The 49ers started this drive at midfield after a good punt return from K. Williams. It was a rare possession with good field position, but the 49ers ended the drive with another 3 and out. Kaepernick failed to connect with  K. Williams on 3rd and 4 play on which he successfully avoided the pressure, but missed wide open K. Williams.

off-target4th drive: Own 8, 13:41 left in the 2nd qrt, score tied 7-7
Following F. Gore’s run on 1st down, a false start penalty and a scramble by Kaepernick for 5 yards, the 49ers faced 3rd and 7. Kaepernick  found rookie WR Q. Patton who dropped the pass (the drop was forced by defender). With TE V. Davis out, it was getting obvious that Kaepernick, besides from Boldin, doesn’t really have receivers to throw the ball to.

5th drive: Own 20, 7:00 left in the 2nd qrt, SF down 10-7
Kaepernick opened the drive with another scramble as he couldn’t find open receivers. After a run from A. Dixon for 1-yard loss, Kaepernick found his favorite target – A. Boldin for 24 yards. The 49ers’ next 1st down run play ended with no gain and Kaepernick was off-target on the next two plays, he was under pressure on 3rd down and missed F. Gore. Drive ended with the punt.

6th drive: Own 20, 15:00 left in the 3rd qrt, SF down 10-7
The 49ers opened the second half with two promising F. Gore runs for 7 and 5 yards, but the drive ended again on 3rd down when Kaepernick was forced to scramble and got only 1 yard. The result, 5th punt.

7th drive: Own 20, 6:46 left in the 3rd qrt, SF down 13-7
On first play of the drive Kaepernick dropped back to pass from pistol formation, he was under pressure and couldn’t complete a pass to F. Gore. On 2nd and 3rd down he found A. Boldin and B. Miller and the 49ers moved the chains. After another first down run from F. Gore, Kaepernick decided to run with a ball on read-option play and lost 5 yards. K. Hunter only gained 2 yards and with 3rd and long Kaepernick completed a pass to A. Boldin 4 yards short of another first down.

8th drive: Own 41, 12:41 left in the 4th qrt, SF down 13-7
Still down by 6 and plenty of time left this had to be the most disappointing drive of the game. Kaepernick’s deep pass to TE G. Celek was a bit off target. K. Hunter got 4 yards on the next play from 5-wide formation.  It was 3rd and 6 and on that play Kaepernick couldn’t avoid the sack. The 49ers ended their drive with another 3 and out.

9th drive: Own 11, 4:13 left in the 4th qrt, SF down 20-7
Down by two scores, 49ers had to respond quickly, instead it was another turnover by Colin Kaepernick. His first pass to A. Boldin was defended, the second one to M. Moore dropped. On another 3rd down Kaepernick tried to escape from the pressure, but was sacked and fumbled the ball. The ball was recovered by Indianapolis Colts at SF 8 yard line.

10th drive: Own 12, 2:55 left in the 4th qrt, SF down 27-7
Trailing late in the game 49ers tend operated from shotgun formation only. Kaepernick completed 5 of 8 short passes on this final drive. On 1st and 10 from IND 21 yard line Kaepernick was again in the shotgun. He intended a pass to K. Williams which was deflected and intercepted. It was second time in a row that the 49ers ended the game on offense with an interception.

Drive stats
Another dismal performance from the 49ers, after only 3 points from 11 drives against the Seahawks in Week 2, the 49ers managed to score only 1 TD from 10 drives against the Colts last Sunday. They had 52 plays on offense (kneel-down play to end the half excluded). Kaepernick who committed 6 turnovers in all of 2012 season, had 4 TO against Seattle (3 INTs, 1 lost sack fumble) and he added 2 more against the Colts (1 INT, 1 lost sack fumble).

W3-drive statsOffensive formations

W3-formationsIn the first 2 weeks of 2013 season, the 49ers attacked opposing defenses the most from the shotgun and its hybrid pistol formations. In the game against the Colts, the 49ers ran the pistol on only 13.5% of all plays, but were heavy with the shotgun again. They used the shotgun 100% in their last two drives (all 13 plays), when they were behind by more than a score.

Pass plays
Out of total 52 offensive plays, 35 (67.3%) were designed pass plays: 27 pass attempts, 5 scrambles and 3 plays resulted in a sack. First let’s take a look at standard passing stats.

W3-passingAnd a table with calculated yards per pass play and sack rate.

W3-YPPAlmost identical stat line for Colin Kaepernick compared to Week 2. Only 4.7 yards per pass play and 8.6% sack rate. Colin Kaepernick had another bad performance, this time against not so stout Colts defense. The 49ers had 12 3rd/4th down plays. Kaepernick attempted 9 passes, completed 5 with 55.6% completion rate. He scrambled once for 1 yard and was sacked twice for a loss of 11 yards (1 lost sack fumble) in those critical down situations. On average, 49ers had 7 yards to go on 3rd down.

W3-3rd 4th downW3-3rd4thD situationsSuccess rate is % of plays which resulted in new set of downs or TDs.

Under pressure

W3-under pressureColin Kaepernick was pressured 7 times out of total 35 dropbacks (20.0%) against the Colts, 3 of those 7 pressure plays resulted in a sack, he attempted 2 passes as we can see from the table above and had to scramble twice (out of 5 total scrambles) because of the pressure provided by the Colts. 7 pressure plays and a 20% pressure rate doesn’t seem a lot, but there were couple of plays where Kaepernick left the pocket and escaped the pressure and had to attempt a pass while on the move. On a few plays it seemed as if Kaepernick left the pocket too early but those could easily be designed runs. For example, here’s a play from the second quarter. Ball on SF 6 yard line, 49ers in 12 personnel grouping, Kaepernick looks to his right toward WR K. Williams, but immediately turns and starts to run with the ball (click on the image to enlarge).

scrambleIncompletions
Kaepernick attempted a total of 27 passes and completed 13 of them, 1 pass was intercepted. Here’s a breakdown of 13 incompletions. He was off-target on nearly 70% of his incompletions which is a big jump from his normal off-target rate.

W3-incompletionsRun plays
Kaepernick ran with the ball only once for -5 yards (read-option run) on a designed run play. But like I already mentioned and gave an example with an image, one of scramble plays could have also very well been designed run.

W3-rushingConclusion
For the second week in a row Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers couldn’t do much on offense. That didn’t help the defense which was on the field for 36+ minutes. Actually, on defense, the 49ers did ok until late in the game. Kaepernick avoided as much pressure as he could and didn’t commit turnover until late in the 4th quarter when he first lost the ball after a sack and later when his deflected pass was intercepted on 49ers’ last drive. San Francisco 49ers started the season without injured wide receivers M. Crabtree and M. Manningham and were without V. Davis for Week 3 matchup against the Colts. Being without V. Davis really hurt. Just for example, here’s a play in which the 49ers went 5-wide with empty backfield with so-called 00 personnel grouping. Receivers on that play: A. Boldin, B. Miller, V. McDonald, G. Celek and K. Hunter, who eventually caught a screen pass for 4 yards.

5-wideI think that says a lot about SF wide-receivers group. V. Davis is a big part of SF offense and helps other receivers to get open. On Sunday, on majority of plays Kaepernick didn’t have open targets as wide receivers couldn’t beat man coverage. On rare occasions when they did get open Kaepernick left the pocket too early and was off-target with his passes on the move. As already said, one thing he does really good, is avoiding the pressure, but he cannot sustain drives that way. He needs to improve and become better at progressing past his first read and sometimes just dump the ball off underneath to open receiver or running back.
The 49ers face division rival St. Louis Rams on a short week on the road on Thursday Night so there won’t be much time to fix obvious problems on offense. Could be V. Davis will have to sit down another game with his hamstring injury. Maybe the answer right now for the 49ers is to return to their power running game, get some rhythm on offense and allow for defense to get some rest.

2013 NFL Week 3 picks

Finished with 13-3 record picking Week 2 NFL games. Next up is a TNF game between the Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) and Kansas City Chiefs (2-0). Here’s my pick for Thursday Night Football. As usual, I’ll update this post later this week with the rest of Week 3 picks.

Update: Started with 0-1 in Week 3 when the Chiefs beat the Eagles on TNF. That’s 25-8 for the season.
Update2: Finished with 8-8 with my Week 3 picks, that’s 33-15 for the season.

Week 3 complete

2013 Colin Kaepernick – Week 2 review

The 49ers lost in Seattle on Sunday Night, obviously charting Kaepernick’s Week 2 game wasn’t as fun as it was charting his Week 1 game against the Packers. The 49ers had 11 drives from which they managed to score only 3 points.

1st drive: Own 20, 15:00 left in the 1st qrt, score tied 0-0
Seattle won the coin toss and elected to defer so the 49ers got the ball first. The 49ers & Colin Kaepernick started the first offensive series with no huddle offense. After a handoff to F. Gore, Kaepernick ran on designed run play from pistol formation for 2 yards. He completed a short pass to FB B. Miller who stumbled as he caught the ball and couldn’t get enough yards for a first down, with 4 & 1 the 49ers were forced to punt and end its first series with 3 & out.

2nd drive: Opp 33, 12:21 left in the 1st qrt, score tied 0-0
Blocked punt by special teams gave the 49ers great field position to start the second drive of the game. Kaepernick ran from the pistol for 6 yards on 1st and was stopped for no gain on 2nd down, on 3rd & 4 he connected with V. Davis with a quick pass for 7 yards and a 1st down. Kaepernick kept the drive alive later on when he scrambled for 8 yards on 3rd & 7 to set up first and goal from SEA 9 yard line. With another 3rd down situation Kaepernick was looking for V. Davis again. At first it looked like Seahawks were in man coverage, Safety K. Chancellor was on Davis, but as play developed CB W. Thurmond broke off covering K. Williams and closed on V. Davis. Had Kaepernick been more accurate with the throw he would still be able to beat disciplined Seahawks’ defense, but his pass was a bit late and off target, the ball was tipped and intercepted. Big turnover considering the 49ers were in scoring position.
INT0(click on image to enlarge)

3rd drive: Own 25, 7:09 left in the 1st qrt, score tied 0-0
The 49ers defense was playing great early on in the game and SF quickly got the ball back when E. Reid intercepted R. Wilson’s deep pass. Kaepernick found K. Williams for 14 yards on 1st down play. False start and delay of game penalties made it hard for the 49ers  who couldn’t convert on 3rd and 16. Kaepernick completed pass to K. Williams again but it wasn’t enough for a 1st down. Drive ended with another punt.

4th drive: Own 36, 3:13 left in the 1st qrt, score tied 0-0
After the players came back to play (an hour-long delay due to severe weather conditions) it started to get worse for the 49ers. F. Gore was stopped for a loss of a yard and Colin Kaepernick got sacked and lost 9 yards. He completed short pass to V. Davis for 5 yards which wasn’t enough to convert  3rd down. Second 3 & out for the 49ers.

5th drive: Own 6, 11:23 left in the 2nd qrt, score tied 0-0
It got even worse on the 49ers’ next possession. F. Gore lost yardage again on 1st down run from own 6 yard line and offensive holding penalty on the next play resulted in a Safety.

6th drive: Own 40, 8:30 left in the 2nd qrt, SF down 2-0
SF defense continued to do a great job, they stopped R. Wilson on 4th down which gave 49ers the ball on SF 40 yard line. But 49ers quickly gave the ball back to the Seahawks. Kaepernick was really pressured on this particular drive, on second play he had to throw the ball away and on third he was sacked, loose ball recovered by Seattle.

7th drive: Own 20, 5:52 left in the 2nd qrt, SF down 5-0
Kaepernick started the drive with another incompletion, he was under pressure and had to throw the ball away again, he ran for 12 yards on the next read-option run play. Later on when he faced 3rd and 4 he escaped from the pressure and tried to connect with F. Gore. Kaepernick had room to run and missed a chance to gain enough yards for a 1st down on that particular play. Instead he failed to complete the pass to F. Gore and the 49ers had to punt for the 4th time.

8th drive: Own 26, 9:12 left in the 3rd qrt, SF down 12-0
After a few short drives 49ers finally moved the ball on this drive. Kaepernick scrambled for 28 yards on 2nd and 10 from own 43 yard line. On the next play he found V. McDonald for 19 yards. The 49ers were in the redzone and with 3rd & goal on SEA 3 yard line Kaepernick missed another opportunity. He had WR Q. Patton open in the endzone after a crossing route with K. Williams, but didn’t see him. He was forced to scramble again, rolled to his left and was eventually pushed out-of-bounds at the line of scrimmage which counted as a sack. The 49ers had to settle for a FG.

FG09th drive: Own 20, 13:44 left in the 4th qrt, SF down 19-3
Down by 16 in the 4th quarter, Kaepernick pushed downfield looking for V. Davis. The ball was slightly underthrown and picked off by CB R. Sherman. It was 2nd INT and Kaepernick’s 3rd turnover of the game.

10th drive: Own 20, 11:31 left in the 4th qrt, SF down 22-3
Facing 3rd & 1 Kaepernick got 1 yard needed for a 1st down on QB sneak play. Later on 2nd and 1 found Boldin for 7 yards. It was the only catch for Boldin who was targeted only 4 times in this game. Kaepernick scrambled for 16 yards on 1st & 10. RB K. Hunter lost 7 yards and with 2 incompletions (one pass deflected and another off target) it was 4th and 17. Kaepernick was under pressure and had to scramble, 14 yards weren’t enough and the 49ers turned the ball on downs.

11th drive: Own 13, 5:13 left in the 4th qrt, SF down 22-3
It was a rough day for Colin Kaepernick who finished the game with his 3rd interception. He was looking for K. Williams on 3rd and 10, but the ball was way off target.

Drive stats
As already mentioned Kaepernick & the 49ers had 11 drives on offense and produced only 3 points out of it. Their average starting field position was own 27 yard line. Compared to Week 1 (75) they had only 51 offensive plays. Kaepernick who committed 6 turnovers in all of 2012 season, had 4 TO against Seattle ( 3 INTs, 1 lost sack fumble).

W2-drive statsOffensive formations

W2-formationsJudging from last season’s playoff games and two regular season games this season, it looks like the 49ers are now inclined to operate more from the shotgun and its hybrid pistol formations. Against the Seahawks, Kaepernick was under center on only 15.7% of plays.

Pass plays
Out of total 51 offensive plays, 35 were designed pass plays: 28 pass attempts, 4 scrambles and 3 plays resulted in a sack. First let’s take a look at standard passing stats, this time with comparison not only to 2012 season but also to Week 1.

W2-passingAnd a table with calculated yards per pass play and sack rate.

W2-YPPWith only 4.9 yards per pass play and 8.6% sack rate, Colin Kaepernick had his worst passing performance as a pro in Week 2 versus Seahawks, no question about it.  On 3rd and 4th down situations: 8 pass attempts, 50% completion rate, 2 INTs. He scrambled twice for 22 yards, was sacked twice and ran on designed run play once for 1 yard (QB sneak) in those critical down situations. On average, 49ers had 8.6 yards to go on 3rd down.

W2-3rd 4th downW2-3rd4thD situationsSuccess rate is % of plays which resulted in new set of downs or TDs.

Under pressure

W2-under pressureBased on my count, Colin Kaepernick was pressured 11 times out of total 35 dropbacks (31.4%). As expected, considerably higher compared to Week 1 game (11.1%). On many plays he had time to throw but didn’t find open receivers. Part of it is because Seahawks’ secondary was just to good and disciplined in coverage which eventually allowed the pass rush to get to him, but there were plays in which Kaepernick missed open receivers. He scrambled 2 times for 42 yards and got sacked 3 times, on one occasion he fumbled the ball. He attempted 6 passes under pressure and completed only 1 for 17 yards.

Incompletions
Kaepernick attempted a total of 28 passes and completed 13 of them, 3 were intercepted. Here’s a breakdown of 12 incompletions. One of his passes was deflected, first time ever that has happened.

W2-incompletionsRun plays
Kaepernick ran with the ball 5 times for 21 yards (4.2 yards per att) on a designed run play in Week 2, 4 read-option runs and 1 QB sneak.

W2-rushingConclusion
Week 2 against the Seahawks was a game Kaepernick would want to forget as quickly as possible. He probably already did as the 49ers prepare for Week 3 game against the Colts. Kaepernick had rough day passing the ball against one of the best defenses, if not the best defense in the league. He turned the ball over 4 times and played poorly especially in the redzone (0 of 3 pass att, 1 sack and 1 scramble for 8 yards). The first 49ers’ redzone opportunity ended with INT and in the second one Kaepernick’s poor decision-making on 3rd down play resulted in a FG.
The 49ers couldn’t run the ball on Seahawks early on and abandoned the run when they were down early in the second half. They also couldn’t scheme on offense in passing game as effectively as they did in a game against the Packers where Kaepernick had time to throw. For me, pass protection wasn’t that big of a problem against the Seahawks. Tough Kaepernick was pressured more than in Week 1, the problem was more in him not finding open receivers. Kaepernick seemed to lock on his first read too many times, missing open receivers on couple of plays. Kaepernick did have success running with the ball, especially when he had to scramble away from the pressure. Something he does really well.
The 49ers again had too many penalties on both sides of the ball, something I was hoping they will improve on from Week 1. Turnovers, poor offensive line play in running game and penalties, those things really hurt 49ers’ chances on Sunday Night.

In Week 3 the 49ers will be back home to face Indianapolis Colts. I’ll be looking for a bounce-back performance from Colin Kaepernick who had the worst game of his pro career in Week 2.

2013 NFL Week 2 picks

I ended up with a 12-4 record with Week 1 NFL picks. We’ll have a chance to watch the first real TNF game of the season tonight when the Jets and the Patriots face off on a short week with New York Jets doing all the travelling. Here’s my pick for Thursday Night Football. Later this week I’ll update this post with the rest of Week 2 matchups.

Update: Started with 1-0 in Week 2 when the Patriots edged the Jets on TNF. That’s 13-4 for the season.
Update2: Finished with 13-3 with my Week 2 picks, that’s 25-7 for the season.

Week2 update

2013 Colin Kaepernick – Week 1 review

Long awaited 2013 season finally kicked off. The plan as I explained in previous posts is to review Kaepernick’s 2013 season. First, the review of each drive from Week 1 game against Green Bay Packers. If you’re looking for 2013 Week 1 stats compared to 2012 season then you can skip drive breakdown part and scroll down to the bottom of the post.

1st drive: Own 20, 13:20 left in the 1st qrt, score tied 0-0
The 49ers & Colin Kaepernick started the first offensive series with 3 different offensive formations (under center with 2 backs in the backfield, pistol and shotgun). After two incompletions and a scramble for 8 yards by Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers were forced to punt and end its first series with 3 & out.

2nd drive: Own 17, 9:51 left in the 1st qrt, score tied 0-0
On first play of the second drive, the Packers stopped RB K. Hunter behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of 7 yards. On obvious passing down situations Kaepernick found V. Davis and later A. Boldin to get the first new set of downs in the game. In this drive Kaepernick completed passes to 5 different receivers ending the drive with a 20-yard TD pass to TE V. Davis on 3rd & 8.

3rd drive: Own 25, 1:05 left in the 1st qrt, score tied 7-7
The 49ers started the 2nd quarter with a false start penalty. Facing another 2nd & long, Kaepernick connected with A. Boldin for a nice gain. On 3rd & 5 he found him yet again for 22 yards and a 1st down. With another 3rd down situation, Kaepernick dropped back to pass but decided to scramble as he couldn’t find open receiver. Drive ended with another punt.

4th drive: Opp 4, 11:15 left in the 2nd qrt, score tied 7-7
The 49ers quickly got the ball back as defense forced and recovered Eddie Lacy’s fumble deep in the Packers’ territory. But 2 costly penalties, illegal formation and later unsportsmanlike conduct which offset with C. Matthews’ personal foul on Colin Kaepernick, put the 49ers on Packers’ 10 yard line facing 3rd & 6. Kaepernick connected with his favorite target, quick pass to A.Boldin who scored a touchdown.

5th drive: Own 43, 8:01 left in the 2nd qrt, SF up 14-7
Following incompletion and a pressure from Packers which forced Kaepernick to step out of bounce behind line of scrimmage (officially he took a sack for a 2 yard loss), the 49ers committed another penalty, this time delay of game. On 3rd and long Kaepernick was pressured and had to throw the ball away. The drive resulted with second 3 & out for the day.

6th drive: Own 44, 4:28 left in the 2nd qrt, score tied 14-14
Kaepernick continued to look for A. Boldin, on 2nd & 10 he threw a laser to Boldin for 22 more yards. Later on 2nd & 12 on GB 36 C. Matthews got to him again, Kaepernick couldn’t avoid the pressure and he took a sack. With another 3rd & long 49ers had to settle for a field goal try after V. Davis caught a 12 yard pass short of a 1st down. P. Dawson missed a 48-yard field goal attempt.

7th drive: Own 40, 0:16 left in the half, score tied 14-14
San Francisco got the ball back with just 16 seconds left on the clock. Followed by a 14 yard completion to K. Williams, Kaepernick attempted a ‘Hail Mary’ pass which was defended in the endzone.

8th drive: Own 20, 15:00 left in the 3rd qrt, score tied 14-14
SF won the coin toss and elected to defer so they got the ball first in the 2nd half. Kaepernick completed 4 passes to A. Boldin. The most important one on another 3rd down play from own 21 with pinpoint accurate throw into double coverage which kept the drive alive. He ended  9-play, 5-minute drive with a 2 yard TD toss to V. Davis on 1st & goal play out of the play-action.

9th drive: Own 35, 7:41 left in the 3rd qrt, SF up 21-14
Leading 21-14 49ers’ 9th drive ended quickly with another 3 & out. Rookie TE V. McDonald dropped a pass on 2nd & 5 which could have resulted in a 1st down. With another incomplete pass (underthrown to M. Moore) the 49ers had to punt again.

10th drive: Own 20, 3:49 left in the 3rd qrt, score tied 21-21
Facing 3rd & 9 on own 37 Kaepernick showed great ability to avoid a sack and scrambled for 15 yards. But later on, on a rare designed run play, lost 7 yards and with another false start penalty it was 3rd and long again (3rd & 17). On the 1st play of 4th quarter, Kaepernick decided to dump off the pass underneath to F. Gore who got 9 yards after catch, but it was short of a 1st down. P. Dawson made a 27-yard field goal.

11th drive: Own 17, 12:59 left in the 4th qrt, SF up 24-21
After a 17 yard pass play to FB B. Miller, Kaepernick lost yardage again on designed run play. On 3rd & 14 he was under pressure and hit as he threw deep ball to K. Williams. Williams beat CB Sam Shields on the play, but had to adjust to a underthrown pass. This could have been a TD if Kaepernick had more time in the pocket. It was a costly incompletion which forced 49ers to punt.

12th drive: Own 20, 8:26 left in the 4th qrt, SF down 28-24
Down by 4 in the 4th quarter, this was Kaepernick’s opportunity to engineer his first 4th quarter comeback of 2013 NFL season and he wasted little time to do so. First he scrambled for 5 yards then he connected with A. Boldin for 43 yards. RB K. Hunter & F. Gore did the rest. The 49ers went 5 plays for 80 yards for a TD in just 2:39.

13th drive: Own 35, 4:52 left in the 4th qrt, SF up 31-28
We had to wait till the last SF drive to see the play of the game. The 49ers were trying to run down the clock as expected with run heavy offense, but on 4th & 2 with 3 minutes left on the clock, on GB 36 yard line, the 49ers went for it. Kaepernick rolled to his right, avoided pressure and found A. Boldin for one last time in this game. Followed by 3 runs, the last one by Kaepernick on a designed run play for 2 yards, P. Dawson kicked a FG to make it 34-28.

As advertised in my 2012 Colin Kaepernick’s review I’ll compare 2013 weekly stats with his 2012 performance. Again a reminder that 2012 numbers are for Week 10 – Week 17 only with playoffs included if not otherwise noted.

Drive stats
As we can see from above drive-by-drive breakdown Kaepernick & the 49ers had 13 drives on offense with total of 75 offensive plays (penalty plays for no play and field goal attempts not included). TO is a number of turnovers committed only by quarterback.

drive statsOffensive formations

formationsIn the table above I made an exception and separately presented data for 2012 regular season and playoffs.  It’s because I wanted to show the difference between the two in terms of offensive formation %. In first game of 2013 in Week 1 the 49ers used the pistol the most, similar to last season’s playoffs.

Pass plays
Out of total 75 offensive plays, 45 were designed pass plays: 39 pass attempts, 4 scrambles and 2 plays resulted in a sack. First let’s take a look at standard passing stats with comparison to 2012 season.

passingAnd a table with calculated yards per pass play and sack rate.

YPPIt would be an understatement saying that Colin Kaepernick had a good game passing against Green Bay, he was great especially on 3rd and 4th down situations, with 12 pass attempts, 75% completion rate, 2 TDs and a 152.1 passer rating in those situations. He also scrambled 3 times on 3rd down for 25 yards and ran on designed run play once for 2 yards.

3rd 4th down3rd 4thD situations

Success rate is % of plays which resulted in new set of downs or TDs.

Under pressure

under pressure

Based on my count, Colin Kaepernick was pressured only 5 times. Surprisingly low number, but he had all the time he needed to throw the ball from the pocket. When he left the pocket he used his ability to avoid the pressure with his legs. He took 2 sacks and was forced to scramble due to pressure only once. He attempted only 2 passes under pressure with 0 comp., one pass was defended, the other intentionally thrown away.

Incompletions
Kaepernick attempted a total of 39 passes and completed 27 of them, here’s a complete breakdown of all 12 incompletions.

incompletionsRun plays
As I anticipated before the game, the 49ers didn’t used Colin Kaepernick as dual-threat quarterback running wild as much as they did it in 2012 Divisional playoffs ( 8 runs for 108 yards and a TD – kneel downs excluded). In fact, Kaepernick ran with the ball on only 3 designed run plays for a loss of 8 yards. Two of those were read-option runs, one was naked bootleg.

rushingConclusion
Week 1 against the Packers was a great overall performance by Colin Kaepernick, he exploited Green Bay defense whose obvious plan was to stop 49ers’ running game and to take away the read-option. They did that really well but in doing that they handed opportunities to Colin Kaepernick in the passing game. Kaepernick became only 2nd 49ers QB with 400+ yards passing, 3 TDs and 0 INTs since 1960 joining the great Joe Montana (1985 & 1990). WR A. Boldin was targeted 17 times, he caught 13 passes, maybe the most important one in 4th quarter on 4th & 2 for a 1st down which iced the game.
Kaepernick was more than effective passer in the red zone. Completing 5 of 6 pass attempts, 3 of those for touchdowns.
There’s always room for improvement. The play calling/huddle management has to be better, but that’s not always quarterback’s fault. The 49ers coaches admitted their part of the blame, sending plays in earlier would help Kaepernick reading opposing defenses. In general the 49ers would like to see players commit fewer offensive penalties. Too many false starts and a delay of game cost 49ers to prematurely end promising drives.
Next up for the 49ers, a trip to Seattle for a SNF clash with division rival. Improvement in play calling/huddle management would definitely help 49ers in a game against the Seahawks who I expect will be more successful in applying pressure on Colin Kaepernick than the Packers were on Sunday.