FanPost

Colin Kaepernick-Anquan Boldin Passing Charts

Otto Greule Jr

Fooch's Note: G_49er does some interesting game-charting work over at The Instant Replay, and put together this interesting FanPost. I thought I'd bump it to the front page.

The 2013 season ended for San Francisco 49ers with a loss against Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game back in late January. The 2014 season can't come soon enough, but in this series of posts I'll look back to last season to present passing charts for Colin Kaepernick, all based on my own game charting.

In the first post I'll break down Kaepernick-Boldin connection, but before I do that a quick reminder of how much more effective Kaepernick was when throwing the ball to either Boldin, Davis or Crabtree. For that let's look at the table with standard passing stat lines.

Kaepernick threw 21 touchdown passes in 2013 and all of them were caught by Anquan Boldin (7), Vernon Davis (13) and Michael Crabtree (1). The top three receivers combined for 2313 yards, which is 72.3% of Kaepernick's total passing yards. Kaepernick completed 63.2% of his passes when throwing the ball to his top three receivers and only 51.5% when intended receiver was someone not named Boldin, Davis or Crabtree.

Kaepernick targeted Boldin 130 times during 16 regular season games and completed 85 passes for 1179 yards with seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. It's always interesting to see how many of those yards were gained after the catch (YAC). One can find some fairly inconsistent data regarding YAC on the internet. For example, Sportingcharts has 468 YAC for Boldin, ESPN has it at 316.

Yards After Catch - the number of yards gained by a receiver after making a reception.

Following this simple definition above I came up with 435 yards gained after the catch for Anquan Boldin. That's 36.9% of the total passing yards produced by Kaepernick-Boldin combination. Let's now look at Kaepernick - Boldin passing chart, but first a few notes regarding the chart:

  • gold circles indicating complete passes are placed at the spot of the reception at the distance from the line of scrimmage, the same goes for red circles indicating touchdown passes
  • black circles which indicate incomplete passes are placed at the location of the intended receiver (batted down/deflected passes included) or at the spot where the ball crossed the sideline in case of intentional throw-aways
  • for passes thrown past the goal line, I placed the circles at the distance to the goal line.
  • We can see from the chart that Kaepernick rarely threw 20+ yard passes to Boldin and the only pass he threw 30 or more yards past the line of scrimmage was one of the rare intentional throw-aways. Majority of his passes to Boldin were fairly short. In fact, he threw 82 passes within 10 yards from the line of scrimmage, which is 63.1% of all targets and 13 of those 82 were thrown at or behind the line of scrimmage. Most of those passes were to the middle or to the right side of the field.

    One way to analyse pass attempts is to look at the completion percentages within certain zones. For that I divided the field horizontally in three zones (outside the numbers-left side, between the numbers-middle & outside the numbers-right side). Vertically, I divided the field into the zones depending on the length of the pass, passes thrown behind LOS, passes thrown 1-10 yards, 11-20 yards, etc. The result is a chart with completion percentages by zone.

    One example to explain how to read the chart. Kaepernick completed 63.6% of his passes to Boldin thrown over the middle and 11-20 yards past the line of scrimmage. His total completion percentage for the passes thrown to Boldin over the middle was 58.9% as shown at the bottom of the chart. For passes thrown 11-20 yards, the total percentage is at 63.9% as shown at the right side of the chart. As expected, Kaepernick's completion percentages fall with distance as they do with every NFL quarterback. In case of Boldin, Kaepernick more frequently threw passes to the middle (56) and to the right (48) compared to just 26 passes to the left side where he was most effective with 76.9 completion percentage, but as we can see from the passing chart, only one of Kaepernick's seven touchdown passes to Boldin came on the pass to the left.

    Overall Kaepernick went 85 of 130 (65.4%) when the intended receiver was Boldin. He had four batted down/deflected passes at the line of scrimmage and had to throw away two passes when his target was Boldin who dropped five passes and had 15 passes thrown his way defensed. Two of those 15 were so-called forced drops. Forced drop is a pass situation in which receiver catches the ball, but defender knocks the ball out of his hands or forces him to drop the ball with a hit. The rest of Kaepernick's passes to Boldin, 19 to be exact, were off-target and out of receivers' reach. If we further break down off-targets we end up with six overthrown, six underthrown and seven passes thrown wide. Here's a graphic presentation of the structure of all incomplete passes.

    Colin Kaepernick lost his No.1 wide receiver when Michael Crabtree suffered torn Achilles prior to the start of the 2013 season. Although the 49ers struggled at times during 2013 in the passing dimension of their offense, it was Boldin who came through and became the go-to guy for Colin Kaepernick. Boldin caught 33 of 44 passes thrown his way on third downs and was 1 of 1 on fourth down. He turned 26 of those receptions into first downs (including one fourth down play) and two more resulted in touchdowns. It remains to be seen whether or not Anquan Boldin stays with the 49ers in 2014, but it is fair to say that he's been a valuable part of the offense and a reliable target for young signal-called of the 49ers.

    With my next post I'll break down Kaepernick's throws which targeted Vernon Davis.

    This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.

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