Colin Kaepernick? Eh - he's not doing poorly in his third-ever start. he's is 10-15 for 75 yards and engineered a six-play, 60-yard drive in the first quarter to give the 49ers a 7-0 lead heading into halftime. The 49ers converted three third downs on the drive, Kaepernick has a 78.5 passer rating.
But the excitement the second-year quarterback brought to his first two starts definitely is not there today. The Rams defense has taken away Kaepernick's deep options and has kept a spy on him so that he doesn't escape the pocket. He's been sacked three times, including twice on the final drive of the half.
That's forced Kaepernick into a lot of checkdowns and shorter throws, which, of course, is what Alex Smith was known for - and criticized for - when he was the starter. It should be noted that at least two of Kaepernick's throws were dropped by his receivers, including a crossing route to Michael Crabtree on third down.
Overall, the game has been dominated by defense.
A 49ers team that came out sleepily in the Nov. 11 meeting has been awake and aggressive early in this one.The Rams had a first down on their opening drive by virtue of an unnecessary roughness penalty against NaVorro Bowman.
They had five straight punts after that, and didn't get a first down on their own until their final drive of the half. That ended when Greg Zuerlein missed a 58-yard field-goal attempt. Aldon Smith had his 17 1/2 sack on the season, which ties him with Fred Dean for the franchise's single-season record.
With Kendall Hunter out for the season, Brandon Jacobs appears to have stepped in as the No. 2 runner. Jacobs has two carries for five yards; Frank Gore has 10 carries for 40 yards, including a one-yard touchdown run. Gore has been averaging 16 carries a game.
Ted Ginn is playing more since Kyle Williams was placed on injured serve with an ACL tear.
- Matt Barrows