The San Francisco 49ers won a game on Sunday, which usually means I dive right into things and make a ton of GIFs because I'm happy an watching the 49ers win is always fun. But for some reason I've decided that I'm going to cover the sacks allowed every single week, and when I went to make the GIFs, all I could think about was how bad the line was a week ago. The Denver Broncos have scarred me for the time being.
But the New Orleans Saints are the topic of discussion this week. They managed to take the 49ers to overtime and they also managed to bring Colin Kaepernick down a total of four times. All in all I thought the 49ers blocked poorly in this game, and Kaepernick was under pressure a lot more than you'll see in these four sacks. But he also had a poor game on his own, and I still think the 49ers need to do something about these receiver routes taking so long to develop.
Whatever the case, we're going to dive right in.
1:13 in 2nd Quarter: 1st and 10 at SF 44: Kaepernick sacked for -4 yards
Obviously, both Alex Boone and Marcus Martin eventually lose their guys and the play crumbles from there. One thing I'd like to point out that might be missed: Kaepernick is looking at tight end Vernon Davis literally the entire play. I'm not sure why he can't pull the trigger and get rid of that football on first down. I'm not sure why he can't turn and see Carlos Hyde to hit him for a modest gain on first down. It's not great protection and he doesn't have a ton of time but seeing Kaepernick flounder instead of delivering strikes in the face of pressure is seriously getting old.
8:30 in 3rd Quarter: 1st and 10 at SF 20: Kaepernick sacked for -9 yards
Can we blame the offensive line for this play? It's a deep dropback, they hold their guys for as long as they can without drawing a penalty of some kind, and the 49ers' receivers don't give Kaepernick anything to work with. That said, the receivers never had a chance, and I don't get why they kept running the routes they were running. I went to the coaches' film to show you what I mean:
This kind of play rarely works for the 49ers. It doesn't matter how decent the protection is at first. All of the 49ers' receivers excel with out routes, curls and slants, yet they're all streaking here, with the outside man having literally zero chance of catching a pass on that route. At some point you need to stop and try something else.
8:04 in 4th Quarter: 3rd and 4 at SF 49: Kaepernick sacked for -6 yards
This is the first of those plays in which I feel like the 49ers really should have made some adjustments at the line. They're clearly going to get pressured from all sides, yet the blocking assignments are clearly inadequate for the blitz that's clearly coming. Anthony Davis lets his man by, perhaps expecting Hyde to get the block. Hyde is nowhere near and Kaepernick is done for before the play even begins. Joe Staley also gets soundly beat on the other side, so even if Hyde picked up that block (or if the 49ers correctly identified that he really shouldn't have been given that assignment), Kaepernick was going down soon anyway.
8:26 in Overtime: 3rd and 10 at SF 47: Kaepernick sacked for -7 yards
This is another play that had literally no chance of working out. It was obvious prior to the snap, and it was a crucial play in overtime. Kaepernick didn't make an adjustment, the coaches didn't burn a timeout, the line didn't appear to adjust. The receivers didn't break quick on their routes and Kaepernick didn't step up. It was a bad sack, one of the worst I've seen in a long time, and it makes me livid to watch it.
It's worth noting that Kaepernick didn't have much of an opportunity to step into a quick pass because none of those routes developed quickly enough. But if you can't tell, there's over 10 yards of buffer between the lien and the three defenders on this play. With three receivers going out, I have no idea why one of them didn't cut early or better yet --- why Kaepernick didn't tell them to. Just bizarre, and something I thought this team would have outgrown by now. Oh well.