Here's my take on tonight's 34-3 thumping of the Houston Texans:
THE GOOD: The running game was excellent tonight putting up 177 yards at 4.9 yards a clip with 2 rushing touchdowns. Gore looked good. Hunter looked good. Even LMJ looked good. The offensive line opened up huge holes and kept Houston's defensive stalwarts (Cushing and Watt) at bay for the most part. On the defensive side, the secondary abused Houston's Matt Schaub with Tramaine Brock picking off two passes and taking one back for 6. Altogether, the defense collected 5 turnovers, giving the 49ers' O plenty off opportunities and solid field position. Overall, special teams played well and avoided giving up any game-breaking returns. It should also be noted that the 49ers only committed 3 penalties for 17 yards and none of them were false starts, personal fouls, or delay of games - penalties we typically call 'dummy' moves. They played a very clean game tonight - well done!
THE BAD: Although Kaep didn't turn the ball over, he had an extremely quiet night, going 6 for 15 with 113 yards passing and a touchdown. As a matter of note, tonight's game marked the 4th consecutive game in which Kaep's pass attempts have declined. He also hasn't thrown for more than 167 yards in a game since week 1, but let's get back to his play in tonight's game.
Kaep was having a pretty bad game until a 4th quarter touchdown pass to Vernon. Prior to that play, he'd been overthrowing receivers and had a couple of passes batted down at the line. Harbs and G-Ro must have noticed the accuracy issues and adjusted with more run heavy play-calling to take the pressure off him.
Now casual fans may overlook the quiet night because Matt Schaub personified terrible quarterbacking for the Texans, but it didn't seem like Kaep was comfortable behind center until they went to the pistol formation late in the game (when he connected with Vernon for a score).
Anyways, the shift in strategy is obvious. Harbs and G-Ro have been weaning Kaep off the pistol/read-option all season, and if the goal is to help make Kaep more comfortable as a pocket passer, then I'd personally like to see more play-action, because you could almost predict the plays on which Kaep was going to throw.
Also sprinkling in some screens, checkdowns, and quick slants would probably help Kaep get into a rhythm. Not every play has to be an intermediate fade route or curl route. Anyways, it's only Kaep's 15th pro start and he's still figuring it all out. Here's hoping he has a better outing next week.
THE UGLY: Injuries. Injuries. Injuries. Starting D-lineman Ray McDonald left the game with some sort of bicep injury. Hopefully it's not serious as we're missing the following starters from last season's Super Bowl team due to injury: