The San Francisco 49ers fell to 6-4 on the season with a 23-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints on the road. While a controversial penalty on Ahmad Brooks that occurred late in the game will get talked about and yet it will also overshadow another dreadful performance offensively for San Francisco. Still blame goes squarely on the play calling of offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
In the season opening win he had a great plan designed for the Green Bay Packers who were looking to make amends for their dreadful defensive performance against the 49ers in the playoffs and did so by making sure to stop the run. Frank Gore had 21 carries for just 44 yards and a touchdown, Colin Kaepernick carried the ball seven times for 22 yards a far cry from his record-setting performance previously against Green Bay when he carried the ball 16 times for 181 yards and two touchdowns and Kendall Hunter added six carries for 24 yards.
Kaeperick in the season opening victory utilized his ability to throw the football by completing 27/39 passes throwing for 412 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite target Anquan Boldin who caught 13 passes for 208 yards and a touchdown with Vernon Davis adding six catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns.
Even though Green Bay made the most of its effort to stop the run allowing 90 yards on 34 attempts San Francisco still made it an emphasis on running the football even if it got a yard or two at most. In the losses the run gets abandoned making the offense one-dimensional.
Here’s an example of the number of attempts on the ground in the four losses compared to the passing attempts:
|Opponent||Rushing Attempts/Yards||Passing Attempts/ Yards|
Number of attempts on the ground in the six wins compared to the passing attempts and yards.
|Opponent||Rushing Attempts/ Yards||Passing Attempts/Yards|
So far during the 2013 many have noticed a regression in Kaepernick as he’s not showing the poise that he exhibited after taking over for Alex Smith. He also has only reached the 200 yard mark twice this season so far after accomplishing the feat in six of his seven starts and all three playoff games. He also did a great job of being able to escape pressure and taking off with the football to pick up first downs.
This season has been completely different and one can only assume that the team has told him to run only as a last resort to avoid risking an injury by taking a big hit. It has also made him stay in the pocket longer and he’s no longer as elusive, which has resulted in sacks.
Now the team did suffer a major blow before the season began when Michael Crabtree went down with a torn Achilles. Still the team acquired Boldin from the Baltimore Ravens, drafted pass catching tight end Vance McDonald in the second round and acquired Jonathan Baldwin from the Kansas City Chiefs. The duo have combined for a total of 10 receptions and 124 yards and more recently San Francisco waived Kyle Williams who caught 12 passes for 113 yards.
Play calling by Roman right now is the reason the passing game ranks last in the NFL and in order for Roman to keep his job he must make changes. That gets done by calling for more quick passes, stop utilizing all the play clock don’t know how many timeouts that got burned this year due to the clock approaching zero, no more abandoning the run in the second half of games and more importantly needs to allow Kaepernick to utilize best weapon his ability to make plays with his legs.
In other words it’s time to unleash Kaepernick and allow him to do what comes naturally to him. By continuing to keep him in the pocket he will continue to struggle, which will continue the talk of his regression.