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49ers-Bills final score: Colin Kaepernick impresses on ground, SF run defense is awful in loss

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The run defense was an embarrassment, while Colin Kaepernick and the offense showed some signs of life before the game got out of hand. What’s next?

The San Francisco 49ers suffered their fifth straight defeat, losing in Week 6 to the Buffalo Bills by a final score of 45-16. The 49ers kept things close early on, trailing 17-13 at the half, but it got ugly in the second half thanks to turnovers and atrocious defense. The 49ers dropped to 1-5 with the loss.

There are two notable stories in this game. The national media (and us to some extent) will focus on Colin Kaepernick. He made his first start since Week 8 of the 2015 season. He finished the game13 of 29 for 187 yards and a touchdown, while getting sacked three times. He also rushed eight times for 66 yards.

In the passing game, there was plenty of inconsistency. Kaepernick overthrew and underthrew numerous targets. He had some excellent throws, including a solid leading pass short of the sticks that was converted for a first down. He found Torrey Smith for a 53-yard touchdown on a catch and run that Kaepernick underthrew. That was sort of a fitting play for the game. Kaepernick made some big plays, but also missed quite a few big plays.

Where things really picked up with the offense was Kaepernick on the ground. He scrambled eight times for 66 yards, and it was night and day compared to Blaine Gabbert. Defenses are going to adjust as the season moves along, but it was the one thing that I think everybody can agree was improved from last week.

On the other hand, the 49ers were embarrassed by their defense. The team brought a lot of pressure, including mixing in some quality blitzes. They got burned by Tyrod Taylor through the air, but it was the ground game where the 49ers defense was shredded in every respect. The team gave up 312 rushing yards. LeSean McCoy led the way with 140 yards and three touchdowns. Tyrod Taylor added 68 yards, and Mike Gillislee added 60, including a 44-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. It was an incredibly embarrassing performance for a defense that is severely lacking in the necessary talent.


  • Carlos Hyde suffered a shoulder injury in the third quarter. He left the game, but returned a short while later. He was out for a couple notable plays after that (including a failed 4th and 1), with Mike Davis on in his place. Hyde later returned, so it might have just been a coach’s decision.
  • Rashard Robinson suffered a concussion in the third quarter. He will need to go through the concussion protocol over the coming week before we know if he is available to face the Buccaneers in Week 7.

Up next: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3)

The 49ers are back home in Week 7 facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs are coming off their bye, while the 49ers will enter their bye week after this upcoming game. The Bucs went into their bye with a huge road win over the Carolina Panthers. Jameis Winston was solid, completing 18 of 30 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown. The Bucs defense got to face Derek Anderson (Cam Newton was inactive with a concussion), who threw two interceptions. The Bucs did give up 5.4 yards a carry on 25 carries, so the 49ers could get after the Buccaneers on the ground.