The San Francisco 49ers replaced Alex Smith with Colin Kaepernick, never looking back to regret it. However, the Kansas City Chiefs are quite happy with the quarterback they’ve acquired, who is surprisingly quite solid on his new job, and even more shockingly, doing a better job at running the ball than Kaepernick, who has been disappointing, to be gentle, so far this season.
Smith, leading the Chiefs to a 5-0 record so far, is 38th in the NFL in overall rushing with 161 yards on 33 carries, averaging 4.9 yards per carry. He is fourth among all quarterbacks in running, following Michael Vick, Russell Wilson and Terrelle Pryor.
Kaepernick? The first game of the season against the Green Bay Packers was something of a change in his style, trying to show the world that he can be a pocket passer, using the fear teams have from him breaking out to generate space and time to find open receivers.
That didn’t last long, as the 49ers lost two consecutive games against the Colts and the Seahawks. After his MVP-like performance against the Pakcers, Kaepernick hasn’t been doing well, completing just 50.1% of his passes while throwing three touchdowns and four interceptions. He’s throwing less and less, while running by himself less as well. He has 154 yards on 27 carries this season, which isn’t that far off Smith, but the expectations from both of them in this category are completely different.
Kaepernick did run for 87 yards in the loss to the Seahawks, when the 49ers were bullied off the field. Over the last three games, he’s rushed the ball only 11 times, never for longer than 14. Smith isn’t the better runner with the ball than Kaepernick, but his own numbers and the Chiefs’ perfect start to the season show that at the moment, he’s the better quarterback.
Does this mean the hype of Kaepernick was a bit too much? Probably, but it doesn’t mean he isn’t going to be great. Injuries to wide receivers have hurt Kaepernick’s passing game, but it’s also been his inability to survey the field correctly, missing wide open men. As the 49ers revert back to more old-school football patterns, Kaepernick has time to put his season back on track.