The San Francisco 49ers lost another ugly one in Week 13, and a big part of the problem was the lack of any semblance of a passing game. Colin Kaepernick completed 1-of-5 passes for four yards through three quarters, and was sacked five times for 25 yards lost. Chip Kelly benched Kaepernick early in the fourth quarter, and Blaine Gabbert replaced him. Gabbert finished his stint 4-of-10 for 35 yards. He was sacked once for a loss of eight yards (and a safety).
Kaepernick officially attempted five passes, but he was also sacked five times, and two passes were called back due to penalties. That totals 12 plays where a pass was called, not factoring any plays potentially audibled from a pass to a run.
After the game, Kelly was asked if he had been too cautious in the passing game. He said maybe he was, but he also saw how the ball was coming off his hand, and did not like what he saw. He benched Kaepernick for Gabbert because he hoped it might spark something in the passing game. Kelly also said no decision has been made as to the team’s starting quarterback for Week 14.
The game was a mess for the 49ers passing game, with nobody able to get much of anything going. There were some drops, but it is also hard to get into much of a rhythm when the team is not passing all that much. Kaepernick had some ugly throws, and it would seem Kelly factored that in to some extent. And had the 49ers taken advantage of their scoring opportunities in the first half, maybe the lack of passing would have been quickly forgotten. But they didn’t, and it wasn’t.
The 49ers head back to Santa Clara for a Week 14 game against the New York Jets. It would seem likely that Kaepernick will remain in the starting lineup. He was showing enough prior to this game that it would be an odd decision to remove him at this point. Kelly said a decision had not been made, so we’ll wait for one of his press conferences this week for more information on the starting quarterback against the Jets.