2013 Colin Kaepernick – Week 17 review

The 49ers finished the regular season with a 12-4 record, good enough for a fifth spot in the NFC playoffs. San Francisco was able to move the ball on Arizona’s stout defense early in the game and jumped to a 17-0 first quarter lead. Colin Kaepernick had  another 100+ passer rating game, but it was kicker P. Dawson who sealed the win for the 49ers in the fourth quarter with a couple of long field goals. The 49ers had a total of 13 drives and scored 23 points on offense, 2 TDs and 3 FGs.

1st drive: Own 38, 13:32 left in the 1st qrt, score tied 0-0
The 49ers came out and surprised the Cardinals with the play calling in their first offensive series. A. Boldin was a big part of the drive, he caught first two short Kaepernick’s passes, both behind LOS and gained eight yards on both plays. The 49ers used Boldin and later Q. Patton on back-to-back reverse plays gaining 11 and 26 yards to move into redzone. San Francisco seemed to have another perfect play on a 1st-and-goal from ARI 8-yard line. Kaepernick couldn’t connect with V. Davis who dropped the ball in the endzone. Two more incompletions and the 49ers were forced to kick a field goal.

2nd drive: Opp 22, 9:48 left in the 1st qrt, SF up 3-0
Great field position for the offense after N. Bowman’s interception. Kaepernick overthrew a pass intended to TE Celek on the first play. False start penalty on A. Boone made it 2nd-and-15. With that Kaepernick went with Boldin again, for 21 yards and a first down. F. Gore gained two yards on first down, but Kaepernick had to throw the ball away on second down with heavy pressure from Arizona. On third down the 49ers ran a similar play than the one on which Kaepernick couldn’t connect with Davis in the previous drive. This time it was Boldin who was able to hold onto the ball for a 4-yard touchdown catch.

3rd drive: Own 28, 3:15 left in the 2nd qrt, SF up 10-0
Kaepernick was facing 3rd-and-4 and looked for reliable target again on the critical down, he connected with Boldin for 63 yards, 60 of those came after the catch. With play-action play from ARI 3-yard line Kaepernick found open V. Davis in the endzone for second touchdown pass.

4th drive: Own 43, 14:50 left in the 2nd qrt, SF up 17-0
Kaepernick was off-target with his first two passes of this drive and had to scramble under pressure on 3rd-and-10. He gained four yards not enough for another first down. The 49ers had to punt.

5th drive: Own 46, 12:40 left in the 2nd qrt, SF up 17-0
First two run plays gained nine yards then on third down F. Gore lost five yards and the 49ers had to punt again.

6th drive: Own 20, 4:46 left in the 2nd qrt, SF up 17-7
The 49ers went back to short passes in this drive, Kaepernick completed passes to Crabtree, Dixon and one pass also to LT J. Staley. With a 14-yard pass play to Staley the 49ers moved in to the redzone again. Crabtree then gained 13 yards to earn another set of downs. With the ball on ARI 3-yard line the 49ers somehow came out empty-handed. F. Gore lost three yards on 1st-and-goal and Kaepernick couldn’t complete a pass on the next two pass plays, the third down pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage. P. Dawson’s 24-yard field goal was no good.

7th drive: Own 26, 15:00 left in the 3rd qrt, SF up 17-7
The first drive of the second half ended with a punt for the 49ers. Kaepernick gained 14 yards on designed naked bootleg run, but after that play the 49ers didn’t get enough yards to move the sticks. Punt time again.

8th drive: Opp 37, 11:35 left in the 3rd qrt, SF up 17-7
Kaepernick started the drive with a 12-yard completion to RB James. F. Gore gained four yards on the next two plays, on third down Kaepernick completed a pass to Q. Patton for five yards just short of a first down. On 4th-and-1 the 49ers tried to get past the first down marker, but A. Dixon was stopped short of a first down and the 49ers turned the ball on downs.

9th drive: Own 36, 6:04 left in the 3rd qrt, SF up 17-7
On another critical down, this time 3rd-and-1, the 49ers went with A. Dixon again. This time he lost five yards on the play and the 49ers had to punt from their own 40-yard line.

10th drive: Own 20, 14:47 left in the 4th qrt, SF up 17-10
Kaepernick had wide open V. Davis, the two connected for 26 yards on the first play of this drive. On the next play Kaepernick kept the ball on read-option play and gained a yard. The pressure got to Kaepernick on the next play, he lost five yards. Facing 3rd-and-long Kaepernick completed a  pass to Boldin for eight yards, well short of a first down. A. Lee had to punt again.

11th drive: Own 33, 7:39 left in the 4th qrt, SF up 17-10
The Cardinals put pressure on Kaepernick on this drive, first he took a sack and lost 13 yards on the play, later on, facing 3rd-and-18, he scrambled not allowing the pressure to get to him, but he got only five yards. A. Lee with another punt for the 49ers.

12th drive: Own 21, 3:20 left in the 4th qrt, score tied 17-17
With a game tied 17-17 the 49ers finally got something going on offense. The mixture of short passes and runs from F. Gore and K. Hunter moved the 49ers inside Arizona territory. It was 3rd-and-2 on ARI 38-yard line and Kaepernick tried to connect with Q. Patton on a short pass. The pass was well defended, incomplete and the 49ers decided to kick a FG , P. Dawson made a 56-yard FG.

13th drive: Own 38, 0:29 left in the 4th qrt, score tied 20-20
Arizona came back on offense and tied the game again and left only 29 seconds on the clock. RB James made a great return and put the 49ers on SF 36-yard line. The 49ers didn’t waste any time and with two passes moved quickly to ARI 22. The first pass was 18-yard connection to Boldin, the second one even more impressive to Q. Patton who made great catch to set up P. Dawson’s game-winning FG.

Drive stats
Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers had 59 offensive plays in 13 drives and scored 1.8 points per drive. Kaepernick passed for two touchdowns and didn’t turn the ball over for the third straight week.

W17-drive statsOffensive formations
Kaepernick lined up under center on 55.9% of all offensive plays. That’s a bit down compared to recent weeks, but still a lot higher rate compared to Green Bay game (25.3%) back in Week 1. The 49ers ran only six plays from the pistol on Sunday against the Cardinals, two of them were run plays, Kaepernick ran on designed read-option play on one of those two plays.

W17-formationsPass plays
Out of 59 offensive plays 38 were designed pass plays: 34 pass attempts, two scrambles and two plays resulted in a sack.

W17-passingKaepernick had another 100+ passer rating game, that’s the sixth time in the last seven games that he ended with passer rating over 100. Against Arizona he threw four passes behind line of scrimmage. Those passes are rare in the 49ers offense, but the 49ers found great success with those kind of screen passes to wide receivers against Arizona. So the season-high 53.5% of YAC shouldn’t come as a surprise.

W17-YPPAll together Kaepernick was solid passing the ball against one of the best pass defenses in the league. He scrambled two times for nine yards and was sacked also two times for a loss of 18 yards. He finished with 7.9 yards per pass play.
Kaepernick attempted nine passes on third downs and completed five of them for 91 yards and 1 TD.

W17-3rd 4th downKaepernick’s both scramble plays also came on third downs. Here’s a breakdown of all Kaepernick’s third down plays (click on the image to enlarge):

W17-3rd4thD situationsUnder pressure

W17-under pressureColin Kaepernick was pressured on nine (23.7%) of his 38 total dropbacks, based on my count. He attempted six and completed three passes for 41 yards when under pressure. The rest of the pressure plays resulted in sacks (2) and 1 scramble. The other scramble play wasn’t the result of opponent’s pressure.

Incompletions
Kaepernick attempted 34 and completed 21 passes which leaves him with 13 incompletions. Two of those incompletions were batted down/deflected passes. Here’s a breakdown of his incompletions (click on the image to enlarge).

W17-incompletionsRun plays
Colin Kaepernick ran on just two designed run plays against Arizona. One play was a read-option run, the other designed run was a naked bootleg.

W17-rushingConclusion
In 2013, Colin Kaepernick played in his first full NFL regular season. After his career-high 412 yards passing performance in Week 1 against Green Bay he struggled the rest of the way with an average of 186 passing yards. Consequently the 49ers turned to its power running game and helped Kaepernick with schemes that produced favorable matchups, especially for TE V. Davis who is considered as 49ers’ only deep threat receiver. Unfortunately, the 49ers had to put FB B. Miller and WR M. Manningham on IR, but the return of WR Michael Crabtree did make a difference as far as Kaepernick’s passing game is concerned. Crabtree didn’t put up big numbers against the Cardinals, but with him in the game others will have opportunities. On Sunday it was Boldin who had big day receiving. Personally, I liked the fact that rookie Q. Patton was involved in the game, I think he could become another target in the passing game for Colin Kaepernick who will be credited for his third Game-winning drive of the season and it came with a big help from rookie wide receiver.
Next for the 49ers is a trip to Green Bay, Wisconsin for a Wild Card NFC playoff game against the Packers. The last time this two teams met was Week 1 game in San Francisco in which Kaepernick passed for 3 TDs. The rematch will be played in Green Bay so it will be different kind of game, with temperatures probably well below freezing. In order to win the 49ers will have to: a) put pressure on A. Rodgers and b) have success with their power running game.

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2013 NFL Week 17 picks

One last chance for me to get a decent result out of my weekly NFL picks. I went 8-8 on my Week 16 NFL picks. That’s 144-95-1 overall record for 2013. If I’ll be correct on my Week 17 picks (and odds are that I won’t be) than the AFC & NFC playoff picture should look like this:

AFC
1. Denver Broncos
2. New England Patriots
3. Cincinnati Bengals
4. Indianapolis Colts
5. Kansas City Chiefs
6. Miami Dolphins

NFC
1. Seattle Seahawks
2. Carolina Panthers
3. Philadelphia Eagles
4. Green Bay Packers
5. San Francisco 49ers
6. New Orleans Saints

Week17



2013 Colin Kaepernick – Week 16 review

The 49ers clinched a playoff spot with a win against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night. It came out to be a wild Candlestick farewell party. Colin Kaepernick had a rough first half, but the 49ers’ signal-called and his offense played much better in the second half. Still, it took a defensive play of the year for the 49ers to seal the victory against the Falcons. NaVorro Bowman picked off Ryan’s pass in the redzone and returned INT 89 yards for a touchdown. The 49ers had eight drives and scored 27 points on offense, 3 TDs and 2 FGs.

1st drive: Own 32, 11:35 left in the 1st qrt, score tied 0-0
The 49ers opened their first drive with a Kaepernick-to-Boldin connection for six yards. Kaepernick’s next pass intended for M. Crabtree was  incomplete thrown under pressure, but with the next play he found Boldin again good for 15 yards and a first down. F. Gore ran for no gain on first down play followed by two broken plays. On second down Kaepernick had to scramble, he gained eight yards, and on 3rd-and-2 he couldn’t escape the pressure and took a sack for a loss of two yards. The 49ers had to settle for a FG.

2nd drive: Own 8, 4:01 left in the 1st qrt, SF up 3-0
San Francisco started the second drive deep in its own territory. After F. Gore’s 9-yard run, Kaepernick kept the ball on read-option play and ran for two, enough for a first down. Later on when facing 3rd-and-7 Kaepernick connected with Boldin for 22 yards. Two consecutive penalties on the 49ers made it 2nd-and-18. This time Kaepernick found WR K. Osgood for 17, just short of a first down from 5-wide empty backfield formation. The next third down play was another negative play, Kaepernick took a sack for a loss of six yards and the 49ers had to punt from their own 47-yard line.

3rd drive: Own 20, 9:53 left in the 2nd qrt, Down 7-3
Kaepernick failed to complete a pass on this drive. He threw a perfect deep ball to V. McDonald who stumbled and couldn’t come up with a catch. On 3rd-and-13 Kaepernick was under pressure, had to scramble, but got only six yards and the 49ers had to punt again.

4th drive: Own 13, 2:25 left in the 2nd qrt, Down 7-3
Short pass from Kaepernick to V. McDonald fell incomplete. The second one to Gore was good for six which made it 3rd-and-4. With his third pass Kaepernick looked for Boldin, but he underthrew the pass and the 49ers had to punt.

5th drive: Own 17, 15:00 left in the 3rd qrt, Down 10-3
The 49ers faced 3rd-and-10 after F. Gore was stopped for no gain and after V. Davis dropped underthrown pass from Kaepernick. Kaepernick’s third down play was incomplete again, but defensive offside penalty made it 3rd-and-5 instead. Kaepernick completed third down pass to Crabtree who sprinted for 33 yards after the catch. Later on, those two connected for additional 19 yards which made it 1st-and-goal from ATL 10-yard line. Kaepernick threw a quick screen pass to Boldin behind line of scrimmage, well executed play resulted in a Boldin touchdown.

6th drive: Own 20, 9:29 left in the 3rd qrt, score tied 10-10
With a 11-yard pass completion to Crabtree, 11-yard run from F. Gore and a 9-yard pass to Boldin the 49ers quickly moved into Falcons’ territory. Gore then lost one yard and made it 3rd-and-2. Kaepernick completed a pass to Crabtree for 22 yards to keep the drive alive. After incomplete pass to Davis and a sack for -9 yards Kaepernick looked for Boldin on third and long. The pass was incomplete, but defensive pass interference allowed the 49ers to have another first down. With three run plays inside redzone the 49ers didn’t get enough yards for a first down and had to settle for the second FG of the game. 

7th drive: Own 39, 2:12 left in the 3rd qrt, SF up 13-10
The drive started with F. Gore run for six yards and continued with Kaepernick’s scramble for 22. Later on, the 49ers faced 3rd-and-1 and went with F. Gore who got three yards earning them another set of downs already inside the redzone. F. Gore got the call again and ran for five yards and set up Kaepernick’s touchdown run on a designed run play.

8th drive: Own 24, 8:34 left in the 4th qrt, SF up 20-17
Up by three late in the game the 49ers turned to their power running game. It was a 6-play drive, all the plays were run plays and the drive ended with 1-yard touchdown run by F. Gore. The 49ers took a 27-17 lead and it seemed that they did enough to earn another win, it turned out they needed a big help from the defense to put the game away.

Drive stats
Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers had 54 offensive plays in eight drives and scored 3.4 points per drive. Kaepernick passed for one touchdown, ran for another and didn’t turn the ball over.

W16-drive statsOffensive formations
Kaepernick lined up under center again on over 60% of all offensive plays, but this time the 49ers used the pistol offense more than they did in recent weeks, with a 14.8% rate. They ran the ball from the pistol four times, two of those plays were read-option runs from Kaepernick who also added a scramble for 22 yards from the pistol.

W16-formationsPass plays
Out of 54 offensive plays 27 were designed pass plays: 21 pass attempts, three scrambles and three plays resulted in a sack.

W16-passingAfter a bad first half performance, Kaepernick did play better in the second half, completing 7 of 10 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. He ended up with fourth 100+ passer rating game in the last five weeks. A lot of his passing yards came with yards after catch, part of the blame for that goes to poor tackling performance from Atlanta’s defense.

W16-YPPKaepernick scrambled three times for 36 yards and was sacked also three times for a loss of 17 yards. He finished with 8.0 yards per pass play which is well above his career average (7.2). Kaepernick attempted only four passes on third downs, but most of his passing yards came on those critical downs, 91 to be exact which is 46% of the total passing yardage.

W16-3rd 4th downKaepernick also scrambled once on third downs and had to take two sacks. Here’s a breakdown of all Kaepernick’s third down plays:

W16-3rd4thD situationsUnder pressure

W16-under pressureColin Kaepernick was pressured on eight (29.6%) of his 27 total drop backs, based on my count. He attempted only four and completed just one pass for 22 yards when under pressure. The rest of the pressure plays resulted in sacks (3) and one scramble. The other two scramble plays weren’t the result of opponent’s pressure.

Incompletions
Kaepernick attempted 21 and completed 13 passes which leaves him with eight incompletions. Here’s a breakdown of his incompletions (click on the image to enlarge).

W16-incompletionsRun plays
Colin Kaepernick ran on three designed run plays against Atlanta. Twice he ran on read-option play from pistol formation, one time (on TD run) he ran from the shotgun.

W16-rushingConclusion
As I’ve already written in my last review, Kaepernick does seem to be a lot more confident player with WR Michael Crabtree back in the lineup. But at times he still leaves the pocket too early and finds himself in the situation when he has to make plays with his legs rather than with his arm. And when the going gets tough for the 49ers they turn to their power running game. They’ve done it many times this season. For example, Week 6 against the Cardinals up 22-20, they scored touchdown that sealed the victory, but in that drive the last eight plays were all runs. Or against the Seahawks in Week 14 down 16-17 when they needed to score, they engineered 18-play drive with the last eight plays all run plays. And they did it again on Monday Night against Atlanta in the last drive with all six plays on the ground, although it was the defense who had to seal the victory for San Francisco.
Next for the 49ers is a regular season finale in the Arizona desert against the Cardinals. Both teams, the 49ers and the Cardinals, still have a lot to play for so it will be another interesting battle between division rivals. The last time this two teams met was a Week 6 game in San Francisco. The 49ers have won that game 32-20, but late in the game it was still 22-20. It will be difficult for the 49ers to move the ball on offense against Arizona team ranked No.2 on defense (No. 3 against the pass) according to Football Outsiders, but hopefully they can finish the regular season with a win.

happy-holidays

2013 NFL Week 16 picks

Another bad week on my Week 15 NFL picks. With just 2 weeks left that’s a 136-87-1 overall record for 2013. The last 2 of the interconference games will be played this week, MIN @ CIN and PIT @ GB. The NFC leads 34-28 in those games and has already clinched winning record over AFC for the 3rd straight season, something hasn’t happened before.

Week 16



2013 Colin Kaepernick – Week 15 review

The 49ers advanced to 10-4 with a win against Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but haven’t yet secured a playoff spot. Colin Kaepernick had one of the best, if not the best, performance this season against a solid Tampa Bay defense (sixth ranked defense in the NFL according to Football Outsiders). His confidence grew each week since the return of WR Michael Crabtree and it showed again on Sunday. Technically, the 49ers had 10 drives on offense, not counting two drives, one drive consisting of one run play at the end of the half and the last drive with three kneel-down plays to end the game with QB C. McCoy in the game. With 10 drives the 49ers scored 26 points on offense, 2 TD and 4 FGs. San Francisco won the battle of field position and had average starting field position at their own 36-yard line (again, not counting the two drives).

1st drive: Own 38, 14:01 left in the 1st qrt, score tied 0-0
The 49ers opened the game with a TD drive that took almost seven minutes off the clock. Gore ripped off 13-yard run on the first play. Kaepernick had to scramble twice on the drive, one of the two scrambles came on third down play good for another first down. With short passes and runs from F. Gore and K. Hunter, the 49ers gradually moved up the field and had 1st-and-goal from TB 4-yard line. Gore was stopped for no gain on first down. Kaepernick was forced to leave the pocket on second down, he patiently waited for Crabtree to get open, extended the play under pressure and found Crabtree in the end zone for a TD.

2nd drive: Own 26, 5:30 left in the 1st qrt, SF up 7-0
With pressure coming Kaepernick had to take a sack to start the 49ers’ second drive of the game and lost five yards. On second drop back he connected with TE G. Celek for eight yards. Completion to V. Davis for five yards on 3rd-and-7 wasn’t enough for a first down. Punt time for the 49ers.

3rd drive: Own 15, 0:35 left in the 1st qrt, SF up 7-0
This drive started with K. Hunter’s run for 15 yards and Kaepernick’s completion to  M. Crabtree for 12 yards. Later on, Kaepernick had to scramble and got away with six yards, he slided just short of a first down. F. Gore then lost one yard on 3rd-and-1 and the 49ers had to punt again.

4th drive: Own 44, 10:57 left in the 2nd qrt, SF up 7-0
A mixture of short passes and F. Gore runs helped the 49ers advance to the TB 46 yard line. Facing 3rd-and-15 Kaepernick made great effort again to extend the play under pressure, he connected with Boldin for 25 yards and a first down. But on another third down play later on, Kaepernick couldn’t avoid the sack and the 49ers were forced to kick a FG.

5th drive: Own 19, 3:39 left in the 2nd qrt, SF up 10-0
After F. Gore lost one yard on first play, Kaepernick and Crabtree connected for 12 to make it 1st-and-10. With the next play the 49ers ran again, Gore got three yards. Kaepernick completed next two passes to V. Davis, first short one good for 15 yards, the second one a 52-yard bomb for a touchdown.

6th drive: Own 27, 15:00 left in the 3rd qrt, SF up 17-7
Kaepernick’s pass intended for A. Boldin was incomplete to start the second half. RB L.M. James then ran for 21 yards on run play from shotgun formation. Kaepernick was intercepted on the next play on tipped ball intended for V. Davis. LB L. David returned it to the end zone, but the play was nullified due to defensive offside penalty. Two more pass plays with two incompletions force the 49ers to punt.

7th drive: Opp 44, 10:50 left in the 3rd qrt, SF up 17-7
The drive started with F. Gore run for six yards from TB 44-yard line. Kaepernick then looked for A. Boldin on the next two plays, first was tipped at the LOS and incomplete, the second one good for seven yards and a first down was thrown behind WR, but Boldin made a great one-handed catch. Later on, false start penalty on V. Davis made it 3rd-and-14, Kaepernick was under pressure and looked for Boldin again, but the pass was incomplete as Boldin couldn’t hold onto the ball,  P. Dawson kick was good and the 49ers took a 20-7 lead.

8th drive: Own 37, 6:20 left in the 3rd qrt, SF up 20-7
Kaepernick found A. Boldin for 11 yards with short pass on a first down play which put the ball on SF 48-yard line. Kaepernick’s next pass was a deep ball intended to V. Davis again. Davis was open but the ball was a bit off-target. F. Gore with one yard on run play and short pass to M. Manningham for just two yards on third down wasn’t enough for another set of downs. The 49ers had to punt from their own 49-yard line.  

9th drive: Own 20, 14:54 left in the 4th qrt, SF up 20-14
The 49ers took 10:27 off the clock and their longest drive of the season, time-wise, ended with another field goal to make it 23-14. It started with two F. Gore runs for 11 yards. Kaepernick then overthrew deep pass to open M. Crabtree on 1st-and-10 play, Crabtree committed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty which made it 1st-and-20. After K. Hunter got two yards, Kaepernick completed two passes, first to B. Miller. The second one to M. Crabtree who got enough yards for another first down, but it was Kaepernick again with his elusiveness who managed to deliver the ball under pressure.  Later on, with three more run plays the 49ers entered Buccaneers’ territory. On first down F. Gore got only one yard, on second down Kaepernick connected with Crabtree for three yards and scrambled for 10 yards on crucial third down play. With 1st-and-10 already inside redzone Kaepernick went with B. Miller for 10 yards. Miller fumbled the ball out-of-bounds and was injured on the play. On 1st-and-goal the 49ers tried to surprise the Bucs, but Boldin was stopped for no gain on run play. After F. Gore ran for two on second down, Kaepernick completed short pass for two yards to V. Davis, not enough for a first down. The 49ers were forced to kick a FG.

10th drive: Opp 26, 3:44 left in the 4th qrt, SF up 30-14
With a big lead late in the game and with great field position the 49ers ran the ball three more times to set up fourth P. Dawson’s field goal.

Drive stats
Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers had 67 offensive plays in 10 drives (one run play at the end of the half and three kneel-down plays by C. McCoy to end the game not included) and scored 2.6 points per drive. Kaepernick passed for two touchdowns and didn’t turn the ball over.

W15-drive statsOffensive formations
The 49ers continued to operate on offense with Kaepernick under center on majority of plays, against the Buccaneers it was almost 70% of all offensive snaps, similar to Week 14 against the Seahawks. The 49ers used the pistol offense on even fewer times in Week 15, they’ve run only two plays from the pistol, both of them pass plays.

W15-formationsPass plays
Out of 67 offensive plays 35 were designed pass plays: 29 pass attempts, four scrambles and two plays resulted in a sack.

W15-passingKaepernick had one of the best performances in the passing dimension of the 49ers offense on Sunday against the Buccaneers. It was his third 100+ passer rating game in the last four weeks.

W15-YPPKaepernick scrambled four times for 42 yards and was sacked twice for a loss of 14 yards. He finished with 6.6 yards per pass play which is below his career average, but he made some great plays especially on third downs.

W15-3rd 4th downKaepernick attempted nine passes on third downs. He completed seven of them for 60 yards. He also scrambled two times on third downs and had to take one sack. With his 12 third down plays he manage to get first down on six of them. Here’s a breakdown of all Kaepernick’s third down plays:

W15-3rd4thD situationsUnder pressure

W15-under pressureColin Kaepernick was pressured on 11 (31.4%) of his 35 total drop backs, based on my count. He attempted six and completed five passes for 60 yards and a TD when under pressure. The rest of the pressure plays resulted in sacks (2) and scrambles (3). One of his scramble plays wasn’t the result of opponent’s pressure.

Incompletions
Kaepernick attempted 29 and completed 19 passes which leaves him with 10 incompletions. One interesting note, in all of 2012 (regular season and playoffs) Kaepernick never had his pass batted down/deflected at the line of scrimmage, he already has 11 of those in 2013. Here’s a breakdown of his incompletions (click on the image to enlarge).

W15-incompletionsRun plays
Colin Kaepernick never ran on a designed run play against Tampa Bay. The fourth time that has happened this season, he didn’t run on designed play also in Week 4 (@ Rams), Week 5 (vs Texans) and Week 11 (@ Saints). He only ran 26 times on designed run plays so far this season.

W15-rushingConclusion
Kaepernick has played better recently and it came against better defenses in the NFL. His better performance coincides with the return of WR Michael Crabtree. Kaepernick seems to be more confident player with him back in the lineup. Without Crabtree he would have probably intentionally thrown away a few passes on Sunday when he was under duress. But he trusts Crabtree that he’ll get open and with him back and with Boldin he was able to complete some key passes facing heavy pressure. Vernon Davis also remains his trust worthy receiver, but more as a deep threat and not someone he would go to on third down. Unfortunately, FB B. Miller got injured and is lost for the season, so the 49ers will have to adjust their offensive personnel going forward. The 49ers are one of the rare NFL teams who use FB as much and it will be interesting to see with what kind of answer to a newly situation they’ll come up with on offense.
Next for the 49ers is a MNF game at home against the Atlanta Falcons. It will be 49ers’ last game at Candlestick and San Francisco 49ers would like to get one final win at their memorable stadium.

candlestick-farewell

2013 NFL Week 15 picks

Another 11-5 record on my Week 14 NFL picks. Overall for the season: 129-78-1. The last of the TNF games will be played tonight to start Week 15 in the NFL. It will be a battle between San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos. Home teams are 7-6 on Thursday Night this season (not counting the season opener in Week 1), and I’m picking home team to win again and improve the record to 8-6. I’ll update this post later on this week with the rest of my picks for Week 15.

Update: The Broncos managed to lose against division rival San Diego Chargers on Thursday, that means 0-1 start on my Week 15 picks in the NFL, 129-79-1 overall record for the season.
Update2: 7-9 record on my Week 15 picks & 136-87-1 for the season.

Week 15



2013 Colin Kaepernick – Week 14 review

Second straight win for the 49ers and Colin Kaepernick against division rival, this time it was Seattle who came in with 11-1 record. Colin Kaepernick didn’t play out-of-his-mind against the Seahawks, which was expected, playing against one of the best defenses in the NFL, but he did made some crucial plays which helped beat the Seahawks. Michael Crabtree’s presence was felt and even though he didn’t put up big numbers he did help San Francisco’s signal-caller in the passing game. Technically, the 49ers had 10 drives on offense, not counting one drive consisting of one kneel down play to end the game. With 10 drives the 49ers scored 19 points on offense, 1 TD and 4 FGs and had average starting field position at their own 31-yard line.

1st drive: Own 31, 12:44 left in the 1st qrt, score tied 0-0
F. Gore was stopped for no gain on the first play of the drive. Kaepernick then threw two passes, first one intended for M. Crabtree who couldn’t hold onto the ball, the second one on third down to M. Manningham was underthrown and the 49ers had to punt.

2nd drive: Own 39, 9:48 left in the 1st qrt, score tied 0-0
On the first play of the drive Kaepernick released the ball just in time with pressure coming to him, he hit B. Miller for seven yards on the play. Later on he connected with Boldin on timely pass for nine yards. After Gore got seven yards on run play it looked as if Kaepernick had Boldin open again, but his pass was tipped. On 2nd-and-10 Kaepernick found Crabtree who made a great catch for 17 yards, but Kaepernick had to throw the ball away on the next play. On 2nd-and-10 he ran with the ball. Officially the play went down as a scramble, but it was a designed run from shotgun formation, Kaepernick got nine yards and almost broke through for a touchdown. On 3rd-and-1 the 49ers gave the ball to B. Miller who was stuffed at the line for no gain. The 49ers had to settle for a FG.

3rd drive: Opp 34, 1:52 left in the 1st qrt, SF up 3-0
Great special teams play, blocked punt, gave the offense the ball on Seattle 34-yard line. F. Gore got four yards from pistol formation to start the drive. Kaepernick hit Crabtree on second down but the catch was ruled out-of-bounds. On third down Kaepernick was on target, but Manningham couldn’t catch the ball with good defensive play by CB J. Lane. The 49ers had to settle for another FG.

4th drive: Own 26, 12:17 left in the 2nd qrt, SF down 7-6
The 49ers ran on first three plays to get another set of downs. Kaepernick overthrew a pass intended for M. Manningham. Gore lost one yard on read-option play. Defensive holding on CB R. Sherman on third down made it 1st-and-10. Kaepernick hit wide open A. Boldin from play-action for 20 yards and ran for three yards on designed read-option run. On the next play, Kaepernick looked for Crabtree, the ball was a bit underthrown. There was interference on the play but the 49ers never saw a flag. Manningham was open on third down but the pass from Kaepernick was broken up by CB J. Lane. SF settled for third field goal of the game. 

5th drive: Own 28, 3:47 left in the 2nd qrt, SF down 14-9
Kaepernick had to scramble and got two yards on first play. Defensive holding on the next play made it 1st-and-10 again. Later on it was false start penalty which made it 1st-and-15. Kaepernick found B. Miller for 11 yards. On 2nd-and-4 Kaepernick showed ability to avoid the pressure, extended the play and found A. Boldin who made a great catch for 27 yards. Kaepernick connected with V. Davis for 13 yards on a misdirection play. With 1st-and-goal play Kaepernick looked for Davis again who was covered and wisely decided to throw the ball away. Offensive pass interference on M. Crabtree pushed SF back to SEA 16 yard line. Gore got eight yards from shotgun formation, and Kaepernick delivered a bullet to V. Davis on third down for 8-yard touchdown.

6th drive: Own 18, 15:00 left in the 3rd qrt, SF up 16-14
Kaepernick overthrew a pass intended to B. Miller to start the second half. F. Gore then got eight yards, it was 3rd-and-2 and Kaepernick hit Crabtree on a short pass that resulted in 13 yard gain and a first down. Pressure forced Kaepernick to scramble, he ran for six yards. Gore got two, but Kaepernick lost seven yards on read-option run and the 49ers had to punt.

7th drive: Own 32, 7:35 left in the 3rd qrt, SF up 16-14
The 49ers moved the ball again on Seattle defense, Kaepernick completed passes to Boldin and Crabtree. F. Gore ran for 15 yards on 2nd-and-6. Kaepernick then hit Boldin for 18 yards to put the ball on SEA 20. Kaepernick’s next pass intended for M. Crabtree was underthrown and intercepted by CB B. Maxwell. It was the game’s first turnover.

8th drive: Own 47, 0:23 left in the 3rd qrt, SF up 16-14
Kaepernick was again off-target with his pass short intended for F. Gore who lost one yard on the next run play. On 3rd-and-11 Kaepernick couldn’t avoid the pressure and was sacked for a loss of 11 yards, it was 4th-and-22 and the 49ers had to punt.

9th drive: Own 13, 12:36 left in the 4th qrt, SF up 16-14
Kaepernick found open running lane and scrambled for eight yards on the first play of the drive. Hunter then ran for six yards, enough for a first down. With his next pass Kaepernick was off-target again as he underthrew a pass intended for A. Boldin. His next pass was a short one to B. Miller for three yards. On 3rd-and 7 Kaepernick showed ability to move around the pocket and extended the play, hit Boldin for 15 yards, but the play was nullified due to a penalty on A. Boone. With 3rd-and-17 the Seahawks brought pressure and Kaepernick had no chance and was sacked for the second time.

10th drive: Own 20, 6:20 left in the 4th qrt, SF down 17-16
Down by one point the 49ers needed to score and they had plenty of time to do so. Kaepernick threw only one pass, a 6-yard completion to M. Crabtree, but got eight yards on 3rd-and-7 play on designed QB sweep run from shotgun formation. Earlier on F. Gore ripped off a 51-yard run and intelligently stayed in-bounds to keep the clock running. Last eight plays of the drive were all run plays, the Seahawks had to burn all timeout and had little time left after P. Dawson kicked game-wining field goal from 22 yards.

Drive stats
Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers had 63 offensive plays in 10 drives (one kneel down by Kaepernick to end the game not included) and scored 1.9 points per drive. Kaepernick passed for 1 TD and was intercepted once when he underthrew a pass intended for M. Crabtree.

W14-drive statsOffensive formations
The 49ers continued to operate on offense with Kaepernick under center on majority of plays, just like they did in recent weeks. Compared to Week 2 game @ Seattle this was quite a change.  Back then, Kaepernick lined up under center on 15.7%, this time on 70.3% of all offensive snaps, which is also the highest rate so far in the season. The 49ers used the pistol offense a lot less this time around, they ran only six plays from the pistol, five of those were run plays. Kaepernick ran  for three and -7  yards on two of those run plays.

W14-formationsPass plays
Out of 63 offensive plays 35 were designed pass plays: 29 pass attempts, four scrambles and two plays resulted in a sack.

W14-passingAs expected Kaepernick didn’t reproduce his passing performance from previous two weeks on Sunday when he faced No. 1 pass defense (according to Football Outsiders). He completed just over 50% of his passes and was intercepted on a bad throw to M. Crabtree. But compared to Week 2 game, which was played in Seattle, he did do a better job passing the ball.

W14-YPPOfficial NFL gamebook has six scrambles by Kaepernick, but he actually scrambled only four times against Seattle on Sunday and was sacked twice for a loss of 20 yards. He finished with just 5.0 yards per pass play, well below his career average (7.2), and similar to Week 2 game in Seattle (4.9).

W14-3rd 4th downKaepernick attempted only five passes on third downs. He completed two for 21 yards, one of them was a 8-yard TD pass to Vernon Davis. Both sacks came on third down plays and also two of his designed run plays. One of them maybe his best play recently when he ran for eight yards for a first down on 3rd-and-7 with 3:24 to play in the game. Here’s a breakdown of all Kaepernick’s third down plays:

W14-3rd4thD situationsUnder pressure

W14-under pressureColin Kaepernick was pressured on 8 (22.9%) of his 35 total drop backs. He attempted 3 and completed 2 passes for 20 yards when under pressure. The rest of pressure plays resulted in sacks (2) and scrambles (3). As already mentioned Kaepernick scrambled 4 times, but 1 of those plays wasn’t the result of opponent’s pressure.

Incompletions
Kaepernick attempted 29 and completed 15 passes. He was intercepted once which leaves him with 13 incompletions. Here’s a breakdown of his incompletions (click on the image to enlarge).

W14-incompletionsRun plays
Colin Kaepernick ran on a designed run play four times (kneel down play not included), three read-option runs and one QB sweep from shotgun formation – the play I already mentioned on 3rd-and-7 for eight yards which extended the drive late in the fourth quarter and helped bleed the clock and set up game-winning FG.

W14-rushingConclusion
Just like many expected the game against the Seahawks shaped out to be a tough, physical battle between two similar teams. The Seahawks and the 49ers are the only two teams in the NFL which run the ball more than they pass and it wasn’t any different on Sunday as both teams’ running game was a huge part of the game plan. The 49ers won the battle of field position which was one of the reason they came out victorious. Kaepernick made fewer mistakes compared to first game against Seattle back in Week 2. He will be credited for his second 4th-quarter-comeback & game-winning-drive of the season as he led the 49ers to game-winning FG. The 49ers ran 10 plays on that drive (not counting FG attempt) and 8 of those 10 were designed run plays. Kaepernick opened the drive with 3-yard scramble followed by completed pass to M. Crabtree for six yards. From that point on it was all run plays, including Kaepernick’s 8-yard gain on 3rd-and-7.
Next for the 49ers is a trip to East coast for an early game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who’ve won four of last five games. The 4-9 Buccaneers are not what their record show, they came just short of beating the Seahawks in Seattle and will not be an easy task for the 49ers who will have to play on high level in order to get another win.