Raise your hand if you actually paid attention to the performance of the 49ers Offense on Sunday.
Okay, now that I have those who actually understand the game, we can discuss what really went down vs. Seattle. The reality is that Colin Kaepernick produced 86.5% of the yards for the 49er offense - that includes punt return yards and net kickoff return yards. Russell wilson put up 52.5% of the yards for the Seahawks. 49ers running backs and special teams players only produced 43 yards (12 were from net KR yards). Kaepernick was asked to put the entire game on his shoulders, and he almost pulled it off. Seattle adjusted at halftime and focused on the pass with Gore completely ineffective...mind you that this is the best Pass Defense since the 2002 Bucs and one of the best pass defenses in the modern era.
The stats bear this out. Per ESPN, Colin Kaepernick significantly outplayed Russell Wilson in a complete game context. Kap netted a QBR of 65.1 to Wilson's 38.9. Granted, Wilson's pass play EPA was better than Kap's, but Kap was going against (again) one of the greatest pass defenses of all time. In addition, nearly all of Wilson's value in the game came on two plays: busted coverage that resulted in a huge downfield pass play to Baldwin, and the 4th-and-7 TD pass to Kearse - everything else was garbage. But what Wilson had was a running game, and a return game. Here is a look at performance of each quarterback adjusted for strength of opponent (explained further here), updated for yesterday:
Here is the same data converted back to z-scores. 0 is 2013 league-wide average:
As you can see, Wilson did have his best game in well over a month, but it was still below-average when you adjust for the defense -- and even if you don't adjust for the defense its still below average. In this sort of situation, where EVERYTHING is on the quarterback's shoulders, you turn your quarterback into Tony Romo, or Peyton Manning circa 2005.
You don't want that - you don't want your Quarterback to do everything -- because if they play below an all-pro level, even for a minute, they lose. AdvancedNFLStats looked at this phenomenon a couple months back, and proved pretty clearly that Brady has a better record than Manning in head-to-heads because the rest of his team performed better - I invite you to read Xie's analysis there.
It pains me to say this, but Frank Gore is done. He was 50th in the NFL among running backs in Win Probability Added and 78th in expected points added. There's nothing left. I wanted to see him play in the new stadium, but it won't happen. I think he's done - he gets tired after a single carry now.
In order to beat Seattle next year, we need to run the ball effectively. and we should be able to. Their run defense is good, but not historically-elite. and if you're playing a team with a historically-elite pass defense, you need to RUN THE BALL EFFECTIVELY. Kaepernick's performance was admirable against this defense, but it was not enough. I'm not addressing the defense in this thread, which has its own problems in the secondary. But they shut down Wilson in spite of two bad plays.
Looking forward to Lattimore next year, maybe draft one as well if Gore retires/gets cut. Hunter didn't perform any better, and LaMichael James is producing next to nothing.
Wanna beat Seattle in 2014? Fix the Run Game! Go Niners!