Colin Kaepernick wasn’t spectacular in his 6th start of the season, he was intercepted once and lost fumble on a sack play, but again did enough to lead his team to 3rd consecutive victory.Technically, the 49ers had 15 drives, but I didn’t include the drive at the end of the half when Kaepernick took the knee to end the half. With 14 drives, the 49ers scored 30 points on offense last Sunday against the Cardinals.
1st drive: Own 19, 12:54 left in the 1st qrt, score tied 0-0
Kaepernick started the game with inaccurate deep pass to A. Boldin. He completed his next pass to V. Davis for 6 yards and couldn’t avoid a sack on 3rd down play. The 49ers were forced to punt.
2nd drive: Opp 7, 10:37 left in the 1st qrt, score tied 0-0
Safety E. Reid intercepted C. Palmer’s pass and returned it 53 yards to ARI 7 yard line. Kaepernick started the drive again with incomplete pass to A. Boldin. The pass was well defended by CB P. Peterson. After run for no gain from F. Gore, Kaepernick couldn’t convert on 3rd down, pass was intended for V. Davis and again Arizona defense did well to defend the pass, on that play it was SS Y. Bell who defended the pass. With 3 and out on offense, he 49ers had to settle for a FG.
3rd drive: Own 32, 8:25 left in the 1st qrt, SF up 3-0
Cardinals played great defense and again didn’t allow A. Boldin to catch accurate pass from Kaepernick on 2nd and 9. Kaepernick connected with V. Davis on 3rd down play, but with just 3 yards on the play the 49ers failed to move the chains and had to punt.
4th drive: Opp 11, 6:06 left in the 1st qrt, SF up 3-0
With another possession deep in Arizona territory the 49ers had to settle for another FG when Kaepernick’s 3rd down pass intended for WR J. Baldwin was batted down at the line of scrimmage.
5th drive: Own 32, 3:06 left in the 1st qrt, SF down 7-6
Thanks to neutral zone infraction penalty on Arizona the 49ers finally got a 1st down of the game. On the next play, Kaepernick completed first of many deep passes to TE/WR V. Davis in this game. Later on in the drive he scrambled for 17 yards on 2nd and 18 and F. Gore got 1 yard needed for another 1st down on the next play. The 49ers had 2nd and goal from ARI 2 yard line when Kaepernick’s pass to B. Miller was tipped and intercepted.
6th drive: Own 29, 9:22 left in the 2nd qrt, SF up 8-7
F. Gore ran for 10 yards on 1st down play and Kaepernick found V. Davis on the next play for a 61-yard touchdown strike.
7th drive: Own 22, 7:03 left in the 2nd qrt, SF up 15-14
On own 39 yard line the 49ers faced 1st and 10 and went with empty backfield from shotgun formation. Lineman D. Kilgore reported as eligible receiver. Kaepernick looked for V. Davis again with deep pass and got 28 yards on the play. Later he was under pressure and had to throw the ball away on 2 plays and the 49ers had to punt from ARI 38 yard line.
8th drive: Own 42, 2:54 left in the 2nd qrt, SF up 15-14
Kaepernick needed only 3 passes to get TD on this drive. He completed 1st pass to B. Miller from rare pistol formation, on the next play he was under pressure and hit as he threw a pass to V. Davis for 12 yards and on third pass of the drive he threw 35-yard TD pass to V. Davis.
9th drive: Own 27, 1:30 left in the 2nd qrt, SF up 22-14
This looked to be another promising drive from the 49ers, Kaepernick found his rhythm on offense, completed another 2 passes but on 2nd and 1 from ARI 49 yard line he committed his second turnover of the day. He couldn’t avoid the pressure, got sacked and lost the ball recovered by Arizona.
10th drive: Own 6, 15:00 left in the 3rd qrt, SF up 22-14
The 49ers started the second half with 3 runs, 2 by F. Gore and 1 read-option run from Colin Kaepernick for 2 yards on 3rd-and-3. One yard short and the 49ers had to punt.
11th drive: Own 26, 8:12 left in the 3rd qrt, SF up 22-20
F. Gore ripped a 32-yard run to start this drive, but from that play on nothing went 49ers way. Kaepernick almost lost the ball again on fumbled snap on the next play. After incomplete pass to V. Davis and false start penalty the 49ers faced 3rd and 16. F. Gore lost 4 yards and another punt from the 49ers.
12th drive: Own 11, 1:07 left in the 3rd qrt, SF up 22-20
Up by 2 points with 1 min left in the 3rd quarter the 49ers started their most impressive drive of the season. With 18 plays they took 9min 32sec from the clock and ended the drive with 89 yards and a TD. The key play: B. Miller’s 3 yard run on 4th-and-1 play. The 49ers ran the ball on last 8 plays of the drive, the last play 6-yard touchdown run by RB K. Hunter.
13th drive: Opp 31, 5:56 left in the 4th qrt, SF up 29-20
The defense handed the offense another great field position. The 49ers ran the ball 3 times and kicked a FG to extend the lead, 32-20.
14th drive: Own 48, 2:59 left in the 4th qrt, SF up 32-20
Kaepernick handed off the ball 3 more times to run down the clock on 49ers’ final drive of the game.
The 49ers had 67 offensive plays (kneel down play at the end of the half and one aborted snap not included) and scored 2.1 points/drive. Kaepernick turned the ball over only 6 times in 2012 (playoffs included), but has already 9 turnovers in 2013.
San Francisco again mainly operated from under center. In the last 3 games Kaepernick always ran the offense from under center with a rate of 63% or higher and rarely used the pistol offense.
Out of 67 offensive plays 32 were designed pass plays: 29 pass attempts, 1 scramble and 2 plays resulted in a sack. Kaepernick was solid, accurate with his throws considered he played against one of the best defenses in the league. According to Football Outsiders the Cardinals now have 7th best defense through Week 6 in the NFL.
Kaepernick was sacked a total of 19 times in 2012 (playoffs included) and 13 times already in 2013 through Week 6. He gained 8 yards per pass play against Arizona.
Kaepernick completed 4 of 7 3rd down pass attempts for 32 yards. Not as impressive as in other three 49ers victories this season when he posted 140+ passer rating on 3rd/4th down plays in each of those games.
Colin Kaepernick didn’t scramble, but he ran once for 2 yards on 3rd down. He was also sacked once in those critical down situations and pressured twice out of 9 plays on 3rd downs. On average, 49ers had 6 yards to go on 3rd down. Here’s a breakdown of all Kaepernick’s 3rd/4th down plays:
Colin Kaepernick was pressured 7 times out of total 32 dropbacks (21.9%) against the Cardinals. He attempted 5 passes but completed only 1 for 12 yards when under pressure. The other 2 pressure plays resulted in a sack.
Kaepernick attempted 29 passes and completed 16 of them, he had 1 interception and 12 incompletions. He was very accurate all day (only 1 off-target pass), but give credit to Arizona defenders who broke-up 6 of his passes, that’s 50% of all incompletions – career high for Colin Kaepernick who also had to throw the ball away 3 times as a result of Arizona pressure. One of his passes was batted-down at the line.
Kaepernick ran on only 1 read-option play for 2 yards on Sunday against the Cardinals (not counting kneel down play at the end of the half and snap fumble recovery by Colin Kaepernick). His second run play came on designed pass play – a scramble for 17 yards.
For the second week in a row San Francisco defense came up with 4 take-aways. That obviously helped San Francisco on offense which is as versatile as any in the NFL. The 49ers had some success in passing game against good defense. Kaepernick threw for 252 yards, 2 TD with 1 INT in a win over the Arizona Cardinals. It was his second highest passing yardage total of the season. Once again he was looking for his favorite targets, A. Boldin and this time especially V. Davis, both were targeted a combined 19 times, all other receivers only 10 times. The 49ers did great job of creating opportunities for V. Davis in vertical passing game. In a play in which he scored 61-yard TD the 49ers showed their already mentioned versatility on offense. It was 1st-and-10 from SF 39 yard line. The 49ers lined-up with 7 linemen, 1 running back and 1 tight end. The Cardinals responded with only 3 defensive backs.
Late in the game when the 49ers got into more comfortable lead they turned to their power running game. Kaepernick threw his last pass of the game with 11:41 left in the 4th quarter as the 49ers again showed plenty of versatility, this time in running game.
Next for Kaepernick and the 49ers is a game against the Tennessee Titans on the road. Just like the Cardinals, the Titans are better on defense and will present problems for the 49ers, especially in passing game. Through Week 6, the Titans allowed only 6 passing TDs (tied for 6th in the NFL) and 224 yards per game (10th in the NFL). The 49ers will probably try to soften that defense with loads of running plays earlier on as the Titans aren’t as good against the run as they are against the pass.