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Colin Kaepernick faces surging Bills defense in first start

The Buffalo Bills have won three straight in large part because of strong defensive play. We break down what’s next.

The San Francisco 49ers have officially changed starting quarterbacks, with head coach Chip Kelly announcing on Tuesday that Colin Kaepernick will replace Blaine Gabbert with the first team offense.

Kaepernick will get the bulk of the first team work (Gabbert previously got 3/4 of the first team snaps) this week, and start on Sunday when the 49ers head to Buffalo. A road game is never an easy task, and he faces a Bills defense that has improved considerably the last few weeks. After losing their first two games, the Bills have on three straight and given up the following passing totals:

Week 3: Carson Palmer, ARI - 26/50, 287 yards, 4 interceptions, 5 sacks
Week 4: Jacoby Brissett, NE - 17/27, 205 yards, 3 sacks, 4 rushes 23 yards
Week 5: Case Keenum, LA - 21/31, 271 yards, 2 interceptions, 4 sacks

It’s going to be a tough matchup for Kaepernick, and he faces the Bills with limited options in the passing game. He gets Carlos Hyde in the run game, which is huge. But the 49ers pass catchers raise some concerns. Jeremy Kerley is currently the leading receiver, while Torrey Smith has been all but forgotten. The tight ends have made some big plays, but had plenty of mistakes as well.

There simply are not a lot of weapons. I do think this could bode well for the deep ball with Torrey Smith. Kaepernick has not exactly impressed with his deep ball accuracy, but we know he certainly won’t underthrow Smith! But the reality is that this team is woefully inadequate at wide receiver and tight end. I am excited to see Kaepernick out there primarily because he is, simply put, something different. He may never again look like he did in 2012 and 2013, but given what we’ve seen the first five weeks, I’ll take anything at this point.