It's been quite a while since an Effage fanpost, and there are many subjects I could expand upon (receivers, injuries, run defense, play-calling, Aldon Smith, etc.). But today, we are going to focus on QB statistics. This isn't an analysis of play or a doom and gloom post, it is simply a form of basic statistical observation.
Note: I am pro-Kaepernick and have full confidence he will learn from the struggles and become a better player for it, so please keep that in mind when I post the following, well, ugly stats.
- 9/15 @ SEA - Loss 29-3. Passing: 13 of 28 (46%) for 127 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs, 1 fumble lost, 3 sacks, 87 rushing yards
- 9/22 Vs IND - Loss 27-7. Passing: 13 of 27 (48%) for 150 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT, 1 fumble lost, 3 sacks, 20 rushing yards.
- Consecutive losses combined: 26 of 55 (47%), 277 yards, 0 TDs, 4 INTs, 2 fumbles lost, 6 sacks, 107 rushing yards, 10 points scored
Clearly, it isn't pretty. 6 turnovers, below 50% completions, averaging just 137.5 yards passing in these games. These last 8 quarters of putrid passing production got me thinking... how long has it been since our last QB had such a stretch? A quick glance at our old friend and now foe Alex Smith's game logs shows it's been quite a long time since the Smith led 49ers have had this kind of struggle passing.
We have to go all the way back to 2007 to meet the criteria (consecutive losses, 6 turnovers, below 50% comp and averaging below 150 yds passing). Yes, THAT 2007. Mike Nolan. Jim Hostler leading the worst 49ers offense in history. Vernon Davis out for the year. Bill Walsh passed away during training camp. Frank Gore was having a rough year. The offensive line plagued by injuries and aging players. Zero receiving talent. It was rough all around for the 49ers.
It was November 2007. Alex Smith had been out for a month with a separated shoulder. This was when Nolan decided Smith was being soft, refused to listen to the doctors (kid needs surgery and/or rest) and put Smith back out there. Then we saw some of the worst QB play possible, and it was painful to watch an injured player try to carry a poor team with a dense head coach. During the final two games of this ill-advised return to the field, the results looked as such:
- 11/04 @ ATL - Loss 20-16. 17 of 38 (45%) for 149 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs, 1 fumble lost, 2 sacks
- 11/12 @ SEA - Loss 24-0. 12 of 28 (43%) 114 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 2 fumbles lost, 3 sacks, 6 rushing yards
- Consecutive losses combined: 29 of 66 (44%) for 263 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs, 3 fumbles lost, 5 sacks, 6 rushing yards. 16 points scored.
Needless to say, I did not expect I would compare the 2013 49ers to the 2007 49ers. That is an absurd thought. But it's also statistical truth over a two game stretch. I suppose the silver lining is Kap's rushing yards, leading to a bit more production. But it's still terrible.
A few odd tidbits: The starting quarterback of these games was in his 3rd NFL season (Alex Smith/Colin Kaepernick). The head coach was in his 3rd season (Nolan/Harbaugh). Additionally, these two game stretches involved a road game at the Seattle Seahawks.
Let's take a few steps back for a moment. Kaepernick has less than one full season of NFL game experience. Defenses in the NFL are just now starting to formulate successful gameplans against his game. His performances against the Packers alone give us a taste of the ability this player has at his disposal.
Bumps in the road are inevitable for every player that has ever played in the NFL.
Harbaugh is fine. Roman is fine. Kaepernick is fine. Some of you may miss Alex Smith (sentimentally I do as well), but Kaepernick is our QB. He is dynamic, hard working, intelligent, and intense. In other words, he matches his head coach perfectly.
Please don't forget the 4 TDs on the road against the Pats, the comeback against the Falcons, the 181 rushing yards (playoffs) and 412 passing yards (wk1) games against the Packers. Yes, I was strongly against the QB switch. I still have my doubts. But it was done with good reason. This kid's future is immensely bright.
Sure, the league has figured some things out, but do not panic. Crabtree, Manningham, and Vernon Davis are showing their importance. Kap is learning on the job, and he already took us to the Superbowl and has lit off fireworks in the process.
But yes, this is the worst QB results we've had in a very long time. A time we all wish we could forget. At least this team can realistically expect better results in the near future.
Bring on the Rams and the rest of the season. This 49ers team under Harbaugh has proven their worth. It is not time to panic. Our QB is taking his lumps. Better to do it in September than in December and January.
I hope the numbers provided in this post are taken for the perspective that we have a young QB learning on the job. Alex Smith eventually became a very good player, and Kap has already shown bigger and better flashes in his young career.