Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers finished the first half of the regular season with 5th straight win and a 6-2 record. The win came against winless Jacksonville Jaguars in front of packed Wembley crowd. Kaepernick was effective in passing and running game, he threw for 1 and ran for 2 touchdowns. Technically, the Kaepernick-led 49ers had 7 drives. Not included in the review is a drive in which Kaepernick kneel-downed to end 1st half and 49ers’ last drive when C. McCoy was in the game. With 7 drives, the 49ers scored 35 points on offense.
1st drive: Own 24, 15:00 left in the 1st qrt, score tied 0-0
The Jaguars won the coin toss and elected to defer so the 49ers got the ball first on offense. After a F. Gore run on first play for 3 yards, Kaepernick found B. Miller all alone on the right side for 43 yards, 35 of those were gained after the catch. On his second pass of the game he couldn’t connect with K. Williams on a short pass. With another F. Gore run the 49ers faced 3rd-and-5. Kaepernick decided to leave the pocket and scrambled for 4 yards, 1 yard short of a first down. F. Gore got 2 yard on 4th-and-1. On following play-action play Kaepernick seemed to throw a perfect back-shoulder pass to K. Williams who couldn’t hold on to the ball. The next play, F. Gore up the middle for 19 yards and a touchdown.
2nd drive: Own 20, 6:50 left in the 1st qrt, SF up 7-0
Defensive pass interference call put the 49ers on JAX 49 yard line. Kaepernick’s short pass to B. Miller was dropped on 2nd-and-9 play. On 3rd down Kaepernick again decided to scramble, he got enough yards for a first down. Facing another 3rd down, this time 3rd-and-5 the 49ers went 5-wide, the pressure forced Kaepernick to throw on the move to A. Boldin, complete for 21 yards. On 2nd-and-9 from JAX 12 yard line, the 49ers called a designed bootleg run for Kaepernick who ran in the endzone for a touchdown. #Kaepernicking
3rd drive: Own 28, 1:33 left in the 1st qrt, SF up 14-0
Following 2 F. Gore runs, Kaepernick completed a short pass thrown behind LOS on 3rd-and-1 to A. Boldin who got 4 yards and a first down. Later on, when facing 3rd-and-9 the 49ers again went with 5 wide receivers, but Kaepernick was quick to leave the pocket this time. He found open running lane for 17 yards. Next play was a bullet to A. Boldin for 14 yards. Kaepernick handed the ball to B. Miller on 1st-and-Goal from JAX 2 yard line, no gain on the play. On the next play the 49ers came to the line with no wide receivers showing run play, but with perfectly executed play-action play Kaepernick found V. Davis for a TD.
4th drive: Own 37, 10:27 left in the 2nd qrt, SF up 21-0
With a first play of this drive, Kaepernick found wide open V. Davis from a pistol formation for 31 yards. On his second pass of the drive, he found Davis again after play-action pass, this time for 19 yards. K. Hunter ran for 3 yards on next 1st down, on 2nd down Kaepernick slightly underthrew the pass intended to V. Davis in the endzone which allowed CB A. Ball to defend the pass. The 49ers ran read-option play from pistol formation on the next play, Kaepernick ran for 9 yards and a TD.
5th drive: Own 27, 6:21 left in the 2nd qrt, SF up 28-0
The 5th drive started with Kaepernick’s behind LOS pass, he completed the pass to K. Williams for 7 yards. F. Gore ran for 10 yards on the next play. Kaepernick scrambled for 11 yards on 1st down play, but it didn’t count because of an offensive holding penalty. K. Hunter lost 5 yards, Kaepernick threw another pass behind LOS for just 6 yard screen to F. Gore and the 49ers faced 3rd-and-19. Kaepernick’s pass was deflected at the line and the 49ers were forced to punt.
6th drive: Own 6, 6:38 left in the 3rd qrt, SF up 28-3
Up by 25 the 49ers turned to its running game late in the 3rd quarter. F. Gore ran on first 2 plays of the drive. With 5:31 to play in the 3rd qrt, Kaepernick attempted his last pass of the day. He connected with A. Boldin for 17 yards. The drive ended for the 49ers when F. Gore fumbled the ball, recovered by Jacksonville.
7th drive: Own 46, 3:00 left in the 3rd qrt, SF up 28-10
The 49ers got excellent field position thanks to 47 yard kick return from A. Dixon. With a big lead all Kaepernick had to is to hand the ball off to his running backs. K. Hunter ran for 41 yards on first play and just like that the 49ers were in the redzone, 3 more F. Gore runs and another touchdown to make it 35-10.
With Colin Kaepernick at quarterback, the 49ers had 46 offensive plays (1 kneel-down play at the end of the half not included) and scored 5.0 points per drive. Kaepernick didn’t turned the ball over, the 4th time that has happened this season.
Kaepernick was under center over 60% of all offensive snaps in the last 4 games before the Jacksonville game, but against the Jaguars that rate dropped to just over 50% as the 49ers went more with pistol offense (25.5%).
Out of 46 offensive plays 19 were designed pass plays: 16 pass attempts and 3 scrambles, although 1 of those scramble plays could also be counted as a designed run play. For the first time this season Kaepernick didn’t take a sack all game. As expected, Kaepernick didn’t have much problems playing against one of the worst teams, if not the worst team in the NFL right now.
All 3 of Kaepernick’s scramble plays came on 3rd down and he also ran on a designed run play on 3rd down for a TD. He was pressured 2 times out of 7 plays on 3rd downs. Here’s a breakdown of all Kaepernick’s 3rd/4th down plays (click on image to enlarge):
Colin Kaepernick was pressured only 3 times out of total 19 dropbacks (15.8%) against the Jaguars. He attempted 2 passes when under pressure, completed 1 for 21 yards, the other pass was dropped. The other pressure play was a scramble for 9 yards.
Kaepernick completed 10 of 16 passes. Here’s a breakdown of his 6 incompletions.
For the second week in a row Kaepernick was active in the running game. Besides 3 scrambles for 30 yards (1 of those was probably a designed run play) he also ran 3 times on designed run plays (not counting 1 kneel-down play at the end of the half) for 25 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Just like in a game against the Titans last week, the 49ers wanted to use Colin Kaepernick as a runner more when they faced the Jaguars this past Sunday in London. With effective power-runnnig game San Francisco successfully mixed in pistol offense plays, creating confusion in Jaguars defense. The 49ers scored 4 touchdowns on their first 4 possessions and the game was over before the first half was over. When that happens you can’t expect for quarterback to be busy passing the ball. Kaepernick dropped back to pass only 19 times, but was effective when mattered the most, on 3rd down plays. As far as his passing game is concerned, nothing’s really changed from previous few weeks. He still prefers to look for his 2 favorite targets, A. Boldin and V. Davis. For some reason Kaepernick doesn’t trust K. Williams and when he does look for him, the two haven’t been able to connect. Even on short passes they seem to be out of synch. For example, here’s a play from 1st quarter. On 1st-and-10 the 49ers were on the field with 21-personnel set, 2 backs, 1 tight end and 2 wide receivers. Kaepernick anticipated K. Williams will move further up the field after the snap and attacked the empty space given by Jaguars’ defense. He could also used help from A. Boldin who blocked his own defender. Instead Williams ran more laterally and couldn’t catch Kaepernick’s ball which was thrown in front of him. Had Williams caught the ball he would probably be able to pick up a good chunk of yards after the catch.
On a personal note, I really enjoyed weekend spent in London, met some nice 49ers fans and enjoyed the game at Wembley Stadium despite being a blowout win for San Francisco. With the win the 49ers improved to 2-2 in games I’ve attended.
The 49ers returned home from their successful trip to London. San Francisco will use the bye week to rest and prepare for the second half of the season. For the 49ers it starts on November 7th with a game against the Panthers at Candlestick Park.