Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Kaepernick Made All The Throws

In reviewing the film of the 49ers 32-7 win over the Bears on Monday night, a couple things stick out to me.  The first is that Colin Kaepernick made all the throws.  Of course he had some incompletions, but what I mean by that is he beat the Bears defense when they were in man, sent 6 on a blitz, and when they tried to disguise their zone coverage as well.

The second that jumped out to me was a slight formation adjustment that Greg Roman used down in the Red Zone, and it paid dividends, leading to a touchdown.

Lets start with Kaepernick first.

The first play that I want to go over id the first play of the  2nd Quarter.  It is 2nd & 10 at the SF 36, and they beat the Bears man coverage.

This is the same vertical concept that Kaepernick missed Kyle Williams on against the Rams.  The only change is that they have changed the formation.  One thing to note is that Kendall Hunter (white) and Bruce Miller (blue) have shifted out as receivers.  The 49ers get a great look from the defense hear.  With the single safety deep it is a simple read for Kaepernick.  He is either going to Davis (red) or Walker (yellow) depending on the how the deep safety plays it.

Post snap you can see that the deep safety has slid towards Walker.  This leave a large window for Kaepernick to fit the ball over the top of the LB who Davis has beaten deep.

Here you see Davis making the reception for a 32 yard completion.

The second play is later in the 2nd quarter.  It is 3rd & 10 on the Chi 31, and the Bears are coming with a 6 man blitz.

The 49ers have the perfect play call on to beat the blitz.  It is a simple pre-snap read.  Due to the blitz look Crabtree is the #1 target on this route.  The reason is that even if the LB's drop, he should be open on his break due to the OLB on that side being lined up over the RG.

The two linebackers lined up over the RG and C come, while the 3rd drops to cover the RB.  Seeing this Kaepernick knows that he is going quick to Crabtree.  In the picture above you can see that he has started his throwing motion well before Crabtree makes his break.

Crabtree makes the reception 4 yards downfield, breaks a tackle and picks up 16 yards after the catch for another 49er 1st down.

The last play is from the 49ers opening drive of the game.  It is 2nd & 10 with the ball at the Chi 35 yard line, and the Bears are going to try to throw a disguised coverage at the 49ers.

This is a simple flood route concept.  The Bears are showing Cover 3 pre-snap, and against that look the primary read would be the safety who is lined up on the 25 yard line.  Post Snap, they safeties drop to deep halves, and it is Cover 2.  This changes the read to the playside corner, and the playside outside linebacker (blue arrow)

The defense is now clearly in cover 2, and the playside corner has started to carry the outside receiver.  Kaepernick now knows he should have Davis on the outside linebacker who has the responsibility of carrying (running with) the #2 receiver (Davis) inside out in cover 2.  There is no way the linebacker can stop Davis once he breaks to his out route.

Davis has now made his break, creating separation, and Kaepernick has already delivered the ball for a 12 yard completion and another first down.

The last thing that I want to go over is a slight formation change that Greg Roman made in the Red Zone on the play that ended up being a 17 yard touchdown run by Kendall Hunter.  To understand the change let's take a step back to the 49ers 2nd touchdown against St Louis.

 This is the 49ers zone-read play that we have seen a lot of this season.  The 49ers had run it out of this formation a few times prior to this game, and when the Rams saw the formation they were ready for it.  DE Chris Long crashes down, so Kaepernick keeps the ball.  The Rams have it well defended with LB James Laurinitis in position to make the play, but Kaepernick beats him with a stop-start move and makes it to the pylon for a TD.

Now let's take a look at this same play from Monday night.

Notice that Roman has replaced one of the receivers with Bruce Miller.  By having both Miller and Walker in the backfield the offense is now balanced, and can run the option in either direction.  This puts a lot of stress on the outside defenders on both sides, as they now are both responsible to play the option.

Nothing else has changed with the concept of the play other than it is going left instead of right.  Kaepernick reads the outside linebacker (yellow) and correctly gives the ball to Hunter who takes it 17 yards for the touchdown.

A slight change that makes a big difference, and another example of the creativity that makes the 49ers run game so dominant.

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