ReFo: 49ers @ Jaguars, Week 8
The English soccer fans at Wembley Stadium on Sunday probably were probably surprised their scoreboard could go that high. It read 42 points for the 49ers by the end of the game in an absolute blowout of the Jaguars. The game was all but over less than halfway through the second quarter when Colin Kaepernick’s nine-yard touchdown run made the score 28-0. At that point the 49ers had scored a touchdown on every single possession and had looked far too effortless doing it.
Jacksonville had to have wanted a little better showing in front of the London crowd. They’ll be heading back there for a game the next three seasons in an effort to create a global following. It’s hard to jump on the bandwagon of a team that’s 0-8 though and hopefully they’ll be in better shape when they play the Cowboys in London next season.
San Francisco – Three Performances of Note
Back on Track
Now this is the kind of game we came to expect from Kaepernick towards the end of last season. In his ten starts last year, including the playoffs, he graded at +2.0 or higher in seven of them. Through the first seven games this season he had yet to grade that highly once. That is, until Sunday where his +4.2 grade was the highest given in the game. The amazing part was that Kaepernick graded so highly on just 19 dropbacks and three designed runs. Perhaps more important than any of Kaepernick’s positives were his lack of mistakes; he graded negatively on just one play.
One of the biggest reasons why the 49ers’ running game was nearly unstoppable last season was the play of left guard Mike Iupati. The former first rounder had the second-best run blocking grade among guards and consistently provided push up the field. He just hasn’t quite been at the same level this season, however, and it showed Sunday. Sen’Derrick Marks and Tyson Alualu both played upon Iupati’s biggest weakness, his quickness, to beat him on multiple occasions. The most notable example came at 4:43 in the third quarter when Iupati didn’t pull fast enough to kick out Marks before he stopped Frank Gore for no gain. For the day he ceded three defensive stops and allowed two pressures for a grade of –3.7 to bring his overall grade to -5.4 for the season.
Off Day for Rookie
It was bound to happen at some point. The rookie sensation Corey Lemonier (-1.7) turned in his first bad game of his career. In 27 pass rushes he was able to turn in just one pressure, an unblocked hit midway through the second quarter. Lemonier had been playing in sub packages at a level reminiscent of Aldon Smith two years ago. After his substandard performance, his Pass Rush Productivity dropped from 12.0 to 10.3 and he now has a +4.5 grade for the season.
Jacksonville – Three Performances of Note
I’ve highlighted this duo before in previous refocuseds and they again draw my ire: the Jaguars’ safeties played horribly. Three missed tackles for Josh Evans (-4.2) and two missed tackles for John Cyprien (-0.8) gives these two Tackling Efficiencies for the season of 6.5 and 5.9 respectively. Cyprien stays our lowest-graded safety while Evans moves a few spots down after his performance to our third-lowest graded safety. The two rookies are such a liability on the back end that’s supposed to act as a safety net. On Kaepernick’s second touchdown, Evans bit hard on the option, crashing towards the fake to the running back while the 49ers’ quarterback waltzed right by him. Cyprien has been similarly undisciplined all year. On Kendall Hunter’s 41-yard run late in the third quarter, Cyprien made zero effort to try to wrap up an easy tackle and simply bounced off Hunter along the sideline.
Quick Passing Game
It was clear that Chad Henne (-2.5) and the Jaguars’ offense thought they had their best chance of winning with a short, quick passing game. His average depth of target was 5.3 yards, 2.9 yards lower than his season average heading into the game. Henne would target as many passes behind the line of scrimmage, 11, as passes that traveled over 10 yards in the air. His 2.31 average time to throw was also by far his quickest of any start this season.
They ran into multiples problems along their way. The first was that the run game wasn’t able to regularly provide favorable down and distances. Then Henne was just too inconsistent to sustain a drive. He completed just 64% of his passes from 1-10 yards whereas the league average is over 70%. It wasn’t just the incompletions though, there were many times Henne limited YAC possibilities with throws behind receivers or slightly off-target.
$34 Million Man
The sixth-highest cap for a tight end this season belongs to Jaguars tight end Mercedes Lewis. At $5.75m, Lewis’ cap hit is $500,000 higher than Tony Gonzalez’. That just makes it sting even more when you see his -3.4 grade against the 49ers. Lewis caught one ball for six yards on the day, but promptly fumbled that catch away seconds after he gained possession and Dan Skuta returned it for a touchdown. Lewis is more known for his blocking ability rather than his receiving prowess, but he didn’t even do that well. He was beaten on multiple occasions, but none worse than with 8:06 left in the first quarter. Ahmad Brooks swiftly tossed the Jaguars’ tight end aside at the snap and tackled Denard Robinson for a two-yard loss.
– The Jaguars managed just six total hurries against the 49ers’ offensive line with no hits and no sacks.
– The block of the day belonged to Marlon Moore who pancaked linebacker Russell Allen on Kendall Hunter’s 33-yard run late in the fourth quarter.
– Hunter was on fire when he got on the field. In just nine carries he broke three tackles and averaged 4.67 yards after contact per attempt.
With 7.7 yards per carry on the ground and 10.3 yards per attempt through the air, Colin Kaepernick had his best and most efficient game of the season.
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