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49ers vs. Cardinals sack breakdowns: Sloppy with the football

We take a look at the two allowed sacks by the San Francisco 49ers against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 6.

Thearon W. Henderson

Sorry for not getting this post up sooner -- but if it's before the next game I think we're good! This week, the San Francisco 49ers allowed two sacks, a slight regression from the one sack allowed last week (which generated a lot of healthy discussion) but not an otherworldly number by any means.

The Cardinals have a decent defense, and are tied for No. 7 in the NFL with 19.0 sacks on the season, so they were bound to find their way to Colin Kaepernick at least once or twice. The offensive line has been pretty good and I'm not displeased with any member in particular, but there were a couple bad sacks in this one for sure.

Let's get down to it.

First Quarter: 3rd and 4 at SF 25, Kaepernick sacked at SF 18 for -7 yards (Karlos Dansby, Calais Campbell)


Let's jut get this out of the way first: the only two players to really hold their blocks on this play are left tackle Joe Staley and right guard Alex Boone. Staley sticks with his man, sealing him on the outside, while Boone may or may not be holding his man for a short while -- hard to tell -- but either way he stops his guy from having an impact on the play.

On the outside, Anthony Davis struggles with his block, not carrying it far outside enough. It looks like he doesn't expect Kaepernick to be anywhere close to where he is -- like he should be stepping up. The actions of center Jonathan Goodwin seem to corroborate this. Goodwin immediately kicks out towards the right after snapping the ball, despite there being two guys clearly coming his way.

Goodwin doesn't touch anybody on this play. Running back Frank Gore steps up immediately to chip at one of the interior players, and does a decent job, but the other one, who lined up in front of Goodwin, is free and totally unblocked. He's the one who gets to Kaepernick, who is in panic mode thanks to Davis' guy.

It looks like this was designed this way -- Goodwin kicking to the right immediately, but it was pretty clear less than a second into that play that the 49ers left a man unblocked -- the man in front of Goodwin. This on top of the shallow block from Davis outside leads me to believe that play probably includes a fast delivery, perhaps a shorter dropback from Kaepernick and Goodwin actually doing something. Also worth noting that Mike Iupati as soundly beaten by his man.

Second Quarter: 2nd and 1 at ARI 49, Kaepernick sacked at SF 44 for -7 yards (Darnell Dockett), FUMBLES, recovered by ARI

(sorry about the color on this one, all the red sort of screwed it up and I didn't notice it until this morning)


When a play like this happens, all I can really look at is jut how badly Kaepernick holds the football. He has been absolutely careless with it this season. The man is stepping up after seeing no less than three Cardinals players coming in his direction, and he's holding the football like pushing it towards an Arizona player will have some kind of push-back effect. It is, by far, his biggest issue this season and something that needs to be corrected.

OK, let's point out the elephant in the room: Staley mauling that poor fellow on the outside of the play. The guy hits Staley, tries to backpedal slightly to get around him, and then gets pushed back a good six or seven yards for his troubles.

As far as the rest of the blocking is concerned, the play goes back when Mike Iupati and Jonathan Goodwin double team the same guy, and Iupati can't adjust quickly enough to pick up the other guy inside. Gore is there to block on the right side before trying to get out for a pass, but the man comes unblocked on the left to get Kaepernick out of his "I might pass on this play" mode.

Davis gets his man outside and VERY close to Kaepernick but in the end he held his guy enough to prevent a Kaepernick sandwich. Boone holds his man and Gore gets a semi-successful chip if the play wasn't extended for as long as it was. But the guy Gore gets a piece of gets in there on Kaepernick as well. Just a bad play through and through, it seems.

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