49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

November 19, 2013
Film review: Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Kaepernick; Eric Reid adjusts, Tony Corrente dissected


Saints wide receivers Marques Colston, Robert Meachem, Lance Moore, Kenny Stills and Nick Toon all caught passes on Sunday. For the 49ers: Anquan Boldin caught six passes, Mario Manningham caught one and ... well, that was it for the San Francisco wide-receiving corps.

And that, to me at least, is the biggest reason why the 49ers are on a two-game losing streak and can't seem to string any semblance of a drive at the end of halves and the end of games. Colin Kaepernick has an excellent rapport with Boldin and has had it since May. (See: Kaepernick's early chemistry with the receiver in OTAs).

Kaepernick on Sunday threw his best passes to Boldin - back-shoulder throws, over-the-middle darts, some very advanced stuff. He also completed 4-5 passes to tight end Vernon Davis, including the longest 49ers' pass of the game, a 17-yard touchdown in the third quarter. His passer rating to those two pass catchers on Sunday: 127.4

Throwing to everyone else, however, Kaepernick is a well below-average quarterback. His passer rating to the rest of the field vs. the Saints: 25.7.

He completed one pass to Vance McDonald. The rookie couldn't hang onto another in traffic, a second straight game in which he's been unable to haul in a contested pass. Kaepernick hit Mario Manningham on a slant on third-down to pick up a first down. When he went back to Manningham on the same drive, however, cornerback Corey White jumped the route and intercepted the pass. Two more attempts to Manningham were incomplete

All three passes to Jon Baldwin were incomplete. That includes the play that followed the shoulda-been flip to Frank Gore in the fourth quarter that would have gone for 50 or so yards had Gore caught it. That play occurred on second down. On third, New Orleans defensive coordinator Rob Ryan called an all-out blitz and Kaepernick heaved a pass to Baldwin down field. Baldwin, however, did not know the ball was in the air and it bounced harmlessly incomplete. 1.) A 35-yard heave probably isn't the best hot-read play call. 2.) If you're wondering why Kaepernick has little faith in backups like Baldwin, this play probably is a good case in point. The receiver has to be aware of the situation; Baldwin was decidedly unaware of what was going on.


Against Carolina, the 49ers' longest pass play was 14 yards. Against the Saints, the longest pass play was 17 yards. An indication of just how paltry that is for a "longest" play: Seventeen yards would have been the Saints' fifth-longest pass play against a very good 49ers defense.


A good sign: Eric Reid is learning. The rookie safety, who said he would change the way he tackles after suffering two concussions this season, hit both running back Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas low around the ankles when challenging them from the defensive backfield. Reid finished tied for second with Patrick Willis with six tackles for the 49ers.

NaVorro Bowman had a game-high 14 tackles and ranks sixthth in the NFL with 91 tackles. However, the three top tacklers in the league - Cincinnati's Vontaze Burfict (118), Buffalo's Kiko Alonzo (112), Philadelphia's DeMeco Ryans (96) - haven't had their bye yet and have played one more game than Bowman.


On the longest offensive play of the game - a 44-yard to catch and run by Meachem, Tarell Brown had coverage but safety Donte Whitner took a bad angle to try to make initial stop. Whitner, however, later had a big play, along with Willis, when he knocked the ball from the Saints tight end on a fourth-down throw from Brees. Whitner, by the way, could be Donte Hitner by midday today: His name-change case will be considered today in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.


The 49ers made a curious call on 3rd and two in the second quarter by sending LaMichael James, who is not the 49ers' best inside runner, up the middle on a run. He was stopped for no gain. The 49ers were lined up for the read option and they perhaps thought, with James in the lineup, the Saints would expect an outside run. But with an outside linebacker hovering on the edge of the line of scrimmage, the Saints already were guarding against that scenario and there was no chance Kaepernick would run outside. It's an example of the defenses catching up to a situation that would have flummoxed them a year ago.


On special teams, return man Travaris Cadet slipped through a gap between Kassim Osgood and Demarcus Dobbs on his 82-yard kickoff return. It was the only kickoff that was returned by either team, an indication that perhaps Phil Dawson deserves some of the blame for a short kick.

Osgood, of course, also had the mental error of hitting the Saints punt returner after a fair catch prior to the final, game-winning drive, which gave the Saints a 15-yard boost. Replays show Osgood looking up at the ball at the precise moment that Darren Sproles is waving his hand for the fair catch. That is, Osgood didn't see the signal.


Of course, there's been a lot of focus on Tony Corrente for his call on the Ahmad Brooks' hit. For the record, I think Corrente should have kept his flag in his pocket on the play because the hit was to Brees' upper torso, something Corrent couldn't have seen from behind the play. Having said that, it was an otherwise excellently officiated game. There were some tough calls to make on Baldwin's catch/non-catch in the end zone, the fumbled interception out of the end zone and Kaepernick's out-of-the-tackle-box heave at the end of the game. Corrente's crew got each of those calls correct on the field.


Adam Snyder mostly filled in well for Mike Iupati, who is likely to miss some time with a sprained MCL. But he gave up a key sack on first down as the 49ers began their final, two-minute drive. MMQB's Greg Bedard has a nice breakdown of the play here.

Video highlights from 49ers-Saints game:

-- Matt 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.


November 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Monthly Archives

Ask a question

Please use the form below to submit your question. Because there is a 100-word limit for questions, a word counter is located directly beneath the box where you enter the your question.


49ers Question:

Your letter contains of 100 words allowed.  Count words

Your IP Address has been recorded as and will be included with this submission.