Posted: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013
By James Brady
The San Francisco 49ers have one of the best offensive lines in football. This is not an opinion -- it's based on stats from last season. This season, they haven't been quite as good as advertised, but they definitely improved in Week 4 against the St. Louis Rams.
I had previously hoped to get you a post with gifs from the Rams game and the aforementioned Indianapolis Colts game, but due to time constraints I've only brought the gifs for Week 4. We're going to look at the two sacks the Rams netted on Colin Kaepernick (and you can blame NFL Game Rewind for screwing up when I went gif-making last night ... many cosmic forces did not want ya'll to have gifs apparently).
Let's get right to it.
First Quarter: 1st and 10 at SF 20, Colin Kaepernick sacked at SF 12 for -8 yards (Robert Quinn)
Right, so as you can see, the 49ers have a couple guys who are open, including a receiver on the left side seam. He's open from the get go, but by the time Kaepernick takes the snap, he's already trying to avoid pressure. His first read was on his right side as well, so there was no chance of him standing tall and delivering a strike to said seam receiver while taking the hit.
Now, where the play fails catastrophically is No. 77 Mike Iupati. He barely gets a hand on Robert Quinn before he forces Kaepernick to panic and try and run outside. It seems like Iupati might have a different assignment or something along those lines, or perhaps he expected Joe Staley to do something but it's clear that's where the play fails.
Neither Jonathan Goodwin nor Alex Boone hold their blocks particularly well but the play had gone to hell well before that point. Right tackle Anthony Davis actually sealed off his man well enough to give Kaepernick a fighting chance, which is exactly what he should do. But that play was doomed from the start.
This is actually a somewhat complicated play. There's two stages of this play: where it all goes right, and where it all goes wrong. Where it all goes right is the simple part: Joe Staley takes his man all the way outside and eliminates him from the play, Mike Iupati refuses to move so his guy drops back into coverage, Jonathan Goodwin gets some pushback on his guy, Alex Boone forces his man outside and Anthony Davis gets a good first move on his guy.
Where things go wrong is when Davis loses his man. His guy pulls a good move on him and gets inside. Davis passes the block onto fullback Bruce Miller, who was unsure if he should be following the running back out into the flat (keep in mind the play had been going on for long enough to make this a reasonable assumption). Miller can't contain his man.
By the time Miller is unable to stop his man, who just got past Davis (who himself went to help contain Boone's man, which was unnecessary, given that Boone is a manly man), Goodwin's man pulls a similar move and leaves him behind as well. By my estimation, Goodwin was being too aggressive and his guy used that to his advantage, backing up to let Goodwin stumble in order to get around him.
Now, at this point, it's my opinion that Kaepernick made a mistake. It's clear from the opening part of this gif that wide receiver Anquan Boldin is open, at least initially. There was time for a quick throw and Kaepernick didn't pull the trigger, and at the very least, he should have been looking for a dumpoff.
I've went ahead and made gifs of the coaches film of the play, which you can open in a new tab here and here. You can be the judge on that one, but in my opinion, the Rams made a very good play, and Kaepernick made a pretty bad one -- though he didn't exactly have a ton of options. What say you?