Inside the 49ers 49ers 20
NEW ORLEANS Here are my grades for the 49ers' 23 20 loss to the Saints.
KAEPERNICK: C . Kaepernick passed the ball well. He was 6 for 15 on third down and 2 for 3 in the red zone. His worst pass was an interception, but it didn't cost the team anything. Kaepernick ran down the defender and made him dive for the end zone and the defender fumbled the ball out of the back of the end zone. Kaepernick's worst play was his last play, a 16 yard run on third and 19. He ran out of bounds at the end of the run and stopped the clock with 1:48 left. If he had stayed in bounds, the Saints would have gotten the ball back with around 1:08 left, and the 49ers may have been able to force overtime.
RUNNING BACKS: D . Frank Gore had one good run a 24 yarder. Other than that, he was terrible, gaining 24 yards on 12 carries against the worst run defense in the NFL. And he dropped a first down pass on second and 9 late in the fourth quarter. Kendall Hunter had one nice five yard first down run. Besides that run, Hunter rushed 3 times for 4 yards. LaMichael James rushed twice for 7 yards. And Bruce Miller had 2 catches for just 8 yards.
WIDE RECEIVERS: D+. The Saints single covered Anquan Boldin most of the game, so he played well 6 catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. The only other wide receiver who caught a pass was Mario Manningham it was an 8 yard gain. He has not been any better than Kyle Williams was.
TIGHT ENDS: D. Vernon Davis caught a touchdown pass in the third quarter, but he dropped one in the fourth quarter. Vance McDonald caught one pass for 10 yards but dropped a first down catch on a slant pattern. And Derek Carrier lined up in the wrong spot on one play and forced the Niners to use a timeout.
OFFENSIVE LINE: D. They gave up three sacks and lots of pressure. They didn't get much push in the run game, either. Mike Iupati left the game with a knee injury. After the game, his knee was in a big brace and he was using crutches to walk.
DEFENSIVE LINE: D. Aldon Smith got pressure on Drew Brees once or twice. Other than those plays, the 49ers' defensive line did not bother Brees. And they gave up 4 yards per carry and a rushing touchdown. This group missed Ray McDonald big time.
LINEBACKERS: C. NaVorro Bowman had 14 tackles, but Patrick Willis had just six. And together, they did not do a good job stopping the run. Ahmad Brooks intercepted a pass, but he also got flagged 15 yards late in the game for hitting Drew Brees high. That penalty led to a game tying field goal for the Saints.
SECONDARY: C. Donte Whitner had a couple of nice pass breakups, but this group couldn't stop anybody in the fourth quarter. The 49ers gave up 144 receiving yards in just that one quarter. Carlos Rogers, Tramaine Brock and Eric Wright all gave up big catches. Tarell Brown left the game with a rib contusion.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C. Phil Dawson easily made a 55 yard field goal. Andy Lee and Dan Skuta and Kassim Osgood pinned the Saints at their 3 yard line. And Bubba Ventrone recovered a punt the Saints fumbled. But Osgood pretty much lost sealed the defeat for the 49ers at the end when he ran into the Saints' punt returner, Darren Sproles, after he had made a fair catch. That penalty gave the Saints the ball at their 40 yard line.
COACHING: F. This was a close game because the Saints played poorly. Two Saints' turnovers gave the 49ers the ball near the red zone. Those were the only times the 49ers scored touchdowns. If the Saints hadn't been so careless with the ball, the 49ers may have scored no touchdowns for the second week in a row.
I give Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman credit for taking my advice and rolling out Kaepernick in critical situations. It led to a first down catch by Boldin on a third and 3, and a touchdown catch by Vernon Davis in the red zone. But the 49ers should have rolled out Kaepernick more often. Rolling him out was working. At the end of the game, the 49ers dropped him straight back twice in a row, and the result was a sack and a throw away that almost was a safety.
Harbaugh and Roman need to give Kaepernick more check down options, too. Kaepernick almost got intercepted in the first quarter when he forced a pass to Boldin. Kaepernick had no eligible receiver underneath to dump the ball to. The Saints had at least three defensive backs in the vicinity of Boldin. A quarterback has no chance with this style of pass offense.
Notice how the vast majority of Brees' completions were check downs. The 49ers don't have those check downs built into their offense.
One more thing. Harbaugh did a poor job managing the clock. He used all three of his first half timeouts and both of his challenges in the first 20 minutes of the game, and both challenges failed. After the game, I asked Harbaugh who he communicates with in the booth to decide whether or not to challenge a play.
Geep Chryst (he made all the calls during the drive that led to Catch III vs. New Orleans in 2012). Rathman; not only have Gore and Hunter been productive, but he turned a former DE into arguably the NFL top fullback. I think most of the coaching staff needs an overhaul. This staff was built for a power running game, and for some reason they didn seem to care to address the passing game much. Chryst has done a nice job with Smith and Kaep, but the younger receivers haven developed and the O line pass blocking has been subpar.
As much as I want to complain about the
This was a coaching lose, again. The design of the offense is simply not taking advantage of Kap strengths and minimizing his weaknesses. He ain hurt. He didn suddenly forget how to play. In fact, I would say his passes have been more accurate and been thrown with more touch this year.
The offense scheme has not supported him, allowed him to grow in a structured way. It like, forget that you can outrun the entire D like a gazelle, forget you can throw on the run downfield better than any other QB, forget you ran the read option/pistol. Let just sit in the pocket and wait.
I want dynamic Kap back, please.
Hope the Niners takeaway from this lose is not we got robbed, or we lost by a last minute FG. Look in the mirror Roman/Harbaugh.
I agree completely. Kap legs or rather, the threat of him either passing OR running is what made (makes?) him so dangerous and difficult for defenses to deal with.
He only played what, 16(?) professional games as a starter? Sixteen total games to learn how to read pro defenses from under center and performing straight drop backs? How many times have we seen college QBs who spent their entire career under center still take several years before they can operate competently in a pro style offense? Why have we gone away from what he does best? Are we too afraid to lose him to injury (playing not to lose instead of playing to win)? The kid is just not ready to operate this offense like Alex did. He not experienced enough yet and it shows. Not a knock on Kap, he just things for the first time sometimes. We all (coaches and bandwagon fans, alike) have to realize this and adjust our expectations.
I hope the coaches realize their playoff window is closing. Release the hounds, already! Start calling a more QB movement (lateral and forward) oriented scheme. Roll him out. Go heavy read option. Call designed QB runs! Stop dropping him back behind our road grading OL line like he the second coming of Peyton. News flash: he not. Go back to what you say you good at playing to the strengths of your players.
CK played poorly. The D overall played well. Grant please tell me you understand the lack of consistent pass rush was the game plan and it worked reasonably well for the most part. I understand you never coached or played the game but I believe you have done a pretty good job making up for it by studying the game but if you weren aware the lack of pass rush for the most part was a large part of Fangio game plan you have a lot more catching up to do. and taking a class in football coaching theory.
I think it a combination of things. One is that Kap doesn have enough time to go through deciphering what the defense is showing due to the archaic way the plays are called. I also not convinced that he is proficient reading defenses yet anyway. These things combined with the lack of playmaking ability of our WR leads to which leads to loss of confidence for our young QB.
Others have said this, but I wish we would run some backyard plays a handful of times per game. The guys don look like they are having too much fun right now [losing sucks] but I believe this could have a two fold effect by releasing pressure and adding back that element of surprise. Run some plays that haven been seen or would never be expected under the circumstances. Run them with 15 seconds on the play clock! This puts the opponent on their heels, make the defense be Lately opposing defenses have been and aggressive, because they know what coming and WHEN.
In a close game such as the one last week against the Panthers, one bad play, one bad dropped pass, one sack, one missed tackle, one INT, a bad officials penalty call could swing the pendulum either way.
We played in a hostile environment against a pretty darn good team with the strength of our offense (running game) stifled and still missing our best WR (Crabtree) and lost by a freakin field goal. I don like losing under any circumstances, but this team is going to keep improving as CK7 gains Michael Sam Authentic Jersey more experience and we get healthier at the WR position.