clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

49ers vs. Bills film breakdown: Taking a look at the 3 Colin Kaepernick sacks

The Bills sacked Colin Kaepernick three times and we break down what broke down on Sunday.

The San Francisco 49ers have a better offensive line than anybody expected given the recent departures of Anthony Davis, Alex Boone, and even Mike Iupati not that long ago. It’s a unit that’s made up of one savvy veteran playing at a very high level — Joe Staley — and some young, promising players with high ceilings.

But it needs to be better, and it needs to be better soon. One of the important parts of Colin Kaepernick’s potential ability to once again become the franchise player the 49ers want is keeping him comfortable in the pocket.

One of the consistent aspects of Kaepernick’s struggles was a tendency to abandon the pocket, and therefore the play as a whole, the worse his line got. Eventually, he started seeing guys that weren’t there, and started rolling out well before he needed to.

In other words, the offensive line needs to be at its best. It was not at its best on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, and we’re going to take a look at what broke down.

2:34 in 3rd Quarter: 1st and 10 from SF 25 - Kaepernick sacked at SF 24 for -1 yards (Zach Brown)

Wooh, look at second-year player Trent Brown on the right side. He is struggling big time with his guy, but I think ultimately you could say that he was successful. Kaepernick, though, chose to keep his eyes on the right side and went out that way.

But rather than look to throw it, he turned up-field and tried to save some yardage. He failed, resulting in a loss of a yard.

Kaepernick deserves some blame for his lack of pocket awareness, and I also am not particularly pleased with Staley showing absolutely no hustle at the end of the play. But this was a generally harmless sack, if there ever was one. Nobody was egregiously bad.

10:10 in 4th Quarter: 2nd and 5 from SF 30 - Kaepernick sacked at SF 23 for -7 yards (Lorenzo Alexander) FUMBLES, recovered by Joshua Garnett at SF 18

There isn’t really much to say about this one, is there? Kaepernick, compltely unaware that the left side has broken down, is rolling out to his right out of habit, not out of fear. Staley is beaten 100 percent, and the guy that did it manages to hit Kaepernick from behind, forcing a fumble.

Fortunately, that fumble was recovered by rookie Joshua Garnett. Speaking of Garnett, he’s also beaten by his guy, which collapses the pocket even further. But ultimately, it’s Staley who gives up the pressure, the hit, the fumble, etc. Not a good play.

4:21 in 4th Quarter: 2nd and 4 from BUF 21 - Kaepernick sacked at BUF 28 for -7 yards (Adolphus Washington)

Well ... that could have gone better for Garnett. He almost looks like he’s trying to chip the blocker like a tight end, but is completely unaware of the fact that there is nobody to pass the guy onto. Maybe he thought Brown would help, but it was obvious that both guys were coming and that Brown would be unable to help.

To me, it looks like a pre-snap mistake made by Garnett, the rookie. The pre-snap mistake gave way to a post-snap debacle, a loss of 7 yards for the 49ers. Of course, the game was well out of reach at this point, but that really doesn’t matter. Kaepernick is the quarterback and the offensive line needs to do a better job of protecting him.