Good news! As you can see in the photo above, the San Francisco 49ers have figured out how to solve Colin Kaepernick's issues with the play clock. Thanks to Matt Andruscavage for passing this along.
But seriously, the play clock was once again a problem for the 49ers. Colin Kaepernick was assessed two delay of game penalties, and then had what can probably best be described as a brain fart when he used a timeout early in the fourth quarter. The 49ers led 23-21, and had a 4th and 2 at the Eagles 43 yard line. They sent the offense out on fourth down, but instead simply went for the hard count to try and draw Philadelphia offsides.
Philly did not budge, and Kap called the timeout before time expired on the play clock. As the timeout was called, the camera showed Jim Harbaugh a bit upset with the decision. At first it looked like he was telling the refs he did not want a timeout, but then I think he was yelling at Kap on the field that he had wanted the 49ers to take the delay of game. This would have given Andy Lee a bit more room to drop the punt inside the 20.
Here is a shot of Harbaugh as Kap came off the field after the timeout:
(no caption needed) pic.twitter.com/6nJ520FJJ3— LOL KNBR (@LOLKNBR) September 28, 2014
After the game, Jim Harbaugh took the blame, saying he should have told Kap not to use the timeout. While it is certainly possible blame belongs to multiple people, it was still a disappointing sequence of events.
And the two delay of game penalties were so infuriating. The first came on a 1st and 10 at the Eagles 40. Kap had just converted a 3rd and 5 with a 23-yard completion to Anquan Boldin. They got bumped back 5 yards, and proceeded to go 3 and out.
The second came on 3rd and 3 at the Eagles 11. The 49ers led 23-21, and had benefited when Chip Kelly decided to move them back 10 yards on OPI, rather than let them kick a field goal. On the following play, Kap scrambled 16 yards for a first down. Eventually they got to the 11, and then a delay of game turned a 3rd and 3 into a 3rd and 8. The 49ers gained three yards on the next play, and then kicked a field goal. There is no telling how the series would have played out if not for the penalty, but it was still frustrating.
We don't know for certain what is going on with the delay of game penalties, so we can only be so critical. It could be Kap being slow to get through things. It could be the play-calling takes time getting two plays in. Whatever it is, there is clearly a problem that needs to be resolved. The 49ers were not quite as awful on stupid penalties in Week 4, but they more than made up for it with poor clock management.
Of course, this is not a new problem. We saw this back during Alex Smith's time with the 49ers. What exactly is going on with this?