One common refrain over the course of the offseason and through training camp was that the San Francisco 49ers had simplified their offense. We heard about simplified language, and quarterbacks coach Steve Logan talked about stripping out some of the excess stuff. We did not get a lot of specifics, but Steve Logan had talked with the media about mastering a few less things, rather than having a ton of plays out there that weren't always going to be perfect.
On Sunday, Colin Kaepernick had his worst game since joining the San Francisco 49ers, and Arizona Cardinals defensive back Tyrann Mathieu suggested they were prepared for a simplified passing game.
"We knew going into this game that the focus for them was to run the football. Their passing game has just simplified so much, it was easy for us to anticipate routes, get some good breaks on the ball today."
We don't have access to the playbook, so we can't say anything about the game-plan with any kind of certainty. Is it necessarily the simplified game plan that was the problem? If it made it easier for the Cardinals to prepare, I suppose so, but it seemed to me like there were a lot of other problems. For example, Kap making some bad decisions, and staring down his first target? Not a good thing. The offensive line getting run over and forcing Kap into a throw off his back-foot? Not good.
One key to the Cardinals dominance was they did not take their foot off the gas. At halftime, Bruce Arians made it very clear the Cardinals needed to finish off the 49ers in the second half:
After the game, the Cardinals defensive backs all talked about getting pressure, and putting this game away as much as they could. And again, you add that to the mix, and I think this goes beyond some concern about a "simplified" passing game. But again, that's just my view from afar.
TM on being matched up with Boldin: We got out to an early start so most of those guys got out of the feel of the game real quick. We were just able to stay on the gas pedal and run up the score a little bit.
S Jerraud Powers: I couldn't tell in his body language. Kaepernick is so good. He's a hell of a quarterback. He's been through a lot as a quarterback throughout his career with the 49ers. I didn't see anything in his body language that we were getting to him or whatnot, but it was one of those situations when the defensive line and pressure does it's job and gets in his face, it kind of makes our job easier, knowing that he won't have much time to make his reads and stuff and be aggressive.
S Rashad Johnson: I think Colin Kaepernick was a bit uncomfortable all game. There were guys in his face and he was never able to step in and throw it. He was always a little bit behind on his shows. It was an overall great job. the defensive line got pressure and we knew where he was going with it.