The answer to the question of whether Colin Kaepernick is or isn’t a good quarterback wasn’t answered as the San Francisco 49ers found their groove again thanks to establishing their power running game through Frank Gore, while their defense has looked impregnable for the first time this season.
The San Francisco 49ers came with a lot of question marks revolving around their ability to bounce back from the two losses, but had no problem simply out muscling the St. Louis Rams in a 35-11 blowout, showing that Jim Harbaugh knows when to let up and start going back to fundamentals that made his team so successful over the last couple of years.
The 49ers ran for 219 yards, with Frank Gore exploding to finish with 153 yards on 20 carries, scoring a touchdown. Kendall Hunter and Anthony Dixon got TDs on the ground as well, while Colin Kaepernick threw two touchdowns passes after being on 0 for the last couple of games.
It’s not that Kaepernick looked exceptionally well. He finished with 15-of-23 for 167 yards, but struggled with the deep ball once again, with a 2-of-5 for passes that travel more than 15 yards downfield. He’s only 34% on such throws this season, compared with 54% of such throws last season.
When we are at our best, we do whatever it takes offensively to be successful. That’s what we did tonight. The ground game worked, so we used it. We showed that we are capable of doing this every week. That’s what’s satisfying. After the last weeks, this is what we needed. We went back to being us.
The defense steamrolled all over the Rams’ offensive line, which was pretty much on an improving route compared to the past. Sam Bradford was sacked five times (twice by Navorro Bowman), turning the ball over twice, throwing an interception and completing less than 50% of his passes. The running game was just as bad or even worse, getting only 18 yards on 19 attempts, showing just how hard it must have been for Bradford. The Rams hadn’t been held to 18 rushing yards or fewer as a team since 2008 Week 12.
The biggest problem for the Rams was not being able to stop the run, as they pretty much lost the game in the trenches, with both lines falling apart against the immense pressure the 49ers put them under. A week after letting DeMarco Murray go off on them with 175 yards, came the Frank Gore show, leaving them humiliated.
We’re going to have to hold each other accountable and make plays and dig our way out of this hole because nobody’s going to do that for us. It’s disgusting. It really is just disgusting.
With the 49ers making quick work of the Rams, scoring 28 consecutive points after the Rams scored the only points of the first quarter through a field goal, there’s no question that no one is going to bother the 49ers from chasing the Seahawks in the NFC West. Vernon Davis was back, which is a great sign, but it seems that Colin Kaepernick and the confidence in him to win games with his arms has been shaken.
Luckily, the 49ers remembered they might have the best situation in the league for a power running game, which makes it easier for Harbaugh to go back to what actually works for this team – establish a ground game, and only then give Kaepernick a chance to look like a star.