49ers Blog and Q&A

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November 12, 2013
Alex Smith v. Colin Kaepernick: a side-by-side (by side) comparison

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Under quarterback Alex Smith, who has started nine games this season, Kansas City's offense is exactly what it was expected it to be: a lot of running plays, few turnovers and not a lot of ambitious throws down field. What's surprising is that Colin Kaepernick's 49ers offense, which also has played nine games, has operated in a similar manner -- and in some ways has been even more conservative -- through the first half of the season.

San Francisco, in fact, ranks 32nd in the league in passing offense in averaging only 174 yards per game. Smith and the undefeated Chiefs rank 27th in that category in averaging 198 yards a game.

Those modest passing numbers, of course, have been offset by their team's stout defenses, robust running games and few turnovers on offense. The 49ers, in fact, are on the opposite end of the league rankings when it comes to rushing attacks. They are fourth in averaging 147.7 yards a game. Their six interceptions also are tied for second-best in the league behind only Kansas City (4).

And there are some significant statistical differences between Kaepernick and Smith. Kaepernick is averaging 7.6 yards and attempt; Smith is averaging 6.1, one of the lowest in the league. Their rushing stats are similar: Kaepernick has taken off 53 times for 310 yards and three touchdowns. Smith has run 53 times for 265 yards and one touchdown. Smith has not lost any fumbles; Kaepernick has lost four.

Smith also made nine starts last year for the 49ers. The two comparisons below are between Smith and Kaepernick this year and Smith in 2012 and Kaepernick in 2013.

2013 quarterback comparison

Average yards per game
Smith: 213.2
Kaepernick: 186.1

Passing attempts
Smith: 315
Kaepernick: 220

Passer rating
Smith: 81.4
Kaepernick: 83.0

Average yards per attempt
Smith: 6.1
Kaepernick: 7.6

Touchdowns
Smith: 9
Kaepernick: 9

Interceptions
Smith: 4
Kaepernick: 6

Sacks
Smith: 26
Kaepernick: 21

Rushing yards
Smith: 265 (1 TD)
Kaepernick: 310 (3 TDs)

Lost fumbles
Smith: 0
Kaepernick: 4

Kaepernick vs. 2012 Alex Smith
(Alex Smith's first nine starts w/ 49ers*)

Average yards per game
Smith: 193
Kaepernick: 186.1

Passing attempts
Smith: 218
Kaepernick: 220

Passer rating
Smith: 104.1
Kaepernick: 83.0

Average yards per attempt
Smith: 8.0
Kaepernick: 7.6

Touchdowns
Smith: 13
Kaepernick: 9

Interceptions
Smith: 5
Kaepernick: 6

Sacks
Smith: 24
Kaepernick: 21

Rushing yards
Smith: 132 (0 TDs)
Kaepernick: 310 (3 TDs)

Lost fumbles
Smith: 1
Kaepernick: 4

* Smith left the game with a concussion midway through his ninth start of the season

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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