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Taking a look at 5 more random passes from 49ers QB Blaine Gabbert

This went OK last time. Let’s get five more random passes and see what Blaine Gabbert analysis we can come up with today.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert is a much better play than Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Whether that’s enough for him to beat Colin Kaepernick in a quarterback battle is completely up in the air and frankly, I have no idea what that competition is even going to look like.

But I’ve dipped my toe into the “fine, I’ll take Gabbert seriously” pool and think things went well last time so I’ll wade in again. Essentially, I’m picking one game of his in a 49ers uniform and then selecting three-to-five random pass attempts. I’d make a gif and analyze each of those passes.

In the first post a week ago, I did a little work to get a good spread in the results so it wasn’t totally random. This time, it was totally random, after I picked the Week 11 game against the Seattle Seahawks and, of course ... I ended up with some interesting plays.

Four of them are incomplete passes and one of them is a touchdown. So pretty par the course for 49ers quarterbacks in recent seasons. Rather than keep on rambling, we’re just going to jump into it. Keep in mind I assembled them in clock order for this post but they did not come out of the randomizer that way.

3rd and 6 at SF 22(8:41 - 1st) (Shotgun) Blaine Gabbert pass incomplete deep left to Torrey Smith

I have to give the 49ers credit for at least trying to go deep on a third down, something that they rarely did last season. Gabbert goes to the one guy he should be going to deep: Torrey Smith. But the pass is overthrown and Smith, who is well-covered, can’t get anything done with it.

It's worth noting that Gabbert managed to look to his right before he settled on Smith. Not properly progressing through his reads has been a problem of his and of Kaepernick, and it’s one of the most frustrating tendencies. Whatever the case, both of the guys to his right were well-covered and Smith was the only option.

But it had to be a perfect pass to beat the underneath coverage and it certainly was not a perfect pass. It was a bad throw, but one that he would probably make if given another chance.

1st and 10 at SF 18(1:48 - 1st) Gabbert pass incomplete deep middle to Bruce Ellington (Earl Thomas) [Cliff Avril]

This pass is frustrating in so many different ways. But it’s mostly frustrating for the fact that Earl Thomas is so stupidly good at playing football. Personally, I was not a fan of this play design with Bruce Ellington being the deep man and nobody else anywhere near the first down marker, but it was well-executed initially.

I just feel like the setup is a little too long, and that Ellington maybe should have cut to the sideline knowing how long it took the play to develop. Gabbert really takes his time and gets set, and that allows Thomas to close, and close he does. While taking his time, though, Gabbert looks to left and gets through his progressions, identifying Ellington as the only viable option.

But could that ball have been thrown better? Did it need that much hangtime? Was it well-within Ellington's reach? These things are a little hard to tell, so let’s check another angle.

Ahhhh, so frustratingly close! For it being such a floater, it was potentially a little overthrown. But I wonder if Ellington would have had better luck going up in the air for that ball. If he does, he gets body control over Thomas and only has to hold on for dear life. But really, at the end of the day I think this was perhaps a play that Ellington should have turned toward the sideline, but one that was spoiled by a great play from Thomas regardless.

2nd and 10 at SF 18 (1:07 - 1st) Gabbert pass incomplete deep right to Garrett Celek

Obviously, we have a badly overthrown pass here and not a whole lot else. But that's not all Gabbert did wrong — he clearly didn’t check any of his other reads and locked right on to Celek, who does have a step on his linebacker outside. But the pass is well overthrown. This is despite Gabbert having a decently clean pocket and time to throw the ball.

He’ll want that one back, but trailing by two scores in the first, he couldn't get it back. A bad throw at a bad time and let’s just move on to the next one, shall we?

3rd and 3 at SF 27(6:09 - 2nd) Gabbert pass incomplete deep left to B.Ellington (Richard Sherman)

How about another deep miss to Ellington? Unlike that one, which was genuinely on target, this pass was ... I have no idea what this pass was. Where was it going? Was it miscommunication? Ellington looks confused out there but honestly looking at the direction he was running and where the pass ended up, it didn’t look like a miscommunication. It looks like this one seriously, seriously got away from Gabbert.

Ellington is trailing up and to the left the whole time and this is happening well before Gabbert throws the pass. But for some reason Gabbert floats it to the right and far, far deeper than Ellington could have reached. It looks worse than it is because Ellington stops early because he can tell the pass is long gone.

But this one was almost intercepted! Bad, bad Gabbert. Stop that!

1st and 10 at SEA 19(0:09 - 2nd) Vance McDonald Pass From Blaine Gabbert for 19 Yrd TOUCHDOWN

And then we have this! In a first down attempt in the red zone, the 49ers actually go for it. They have two players on a deep slant, two on shallow curl routes and even have a running back in the flat. It’s simple, effective play design that ends with tight end Vance McDonald having body positioning over the players covering him and it’s an easy touchdown.

But the timing is what’s important here. Gabbert quickly analyzes the play and he knows when McDonald will turn and that the touchdown is going to be good.

Gabbert throws his pass as soon as he sees the underneath man move to cover Ellington on the shallow curl. Gabbert throws the pass well before McDonald makes his move, but it’s totally on target and the right kind of throw in that situation, to boot. Nothing fantastic or amazing, but it shows the man does know how to play the position, occasionally.

Let’s end on that good note, shall we? Let’s.