AP Photo/Dave MartinSan Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) walks in the sideline in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans

AP Photo/Dave MartinSan Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) walks in the sideline in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans

49ers looking to sustain drives

Three-and-out. Three-and-out. Three-and-out.

Short of turning the ball over, it’s probably the worst scenario for a team’s offense — as well as a defense that keeps having to walk back onto the field after a shorter-than-expected rest.

Just ask Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers, who have run the obligatory three plays and punted five times in each of their last two games, a one-point loss to the Carolina Panthers and a three-point defeat to the New Orleans Saints.

“When you’re on the sideline, of course there’s frustration,” 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers said. “You’re sitting back there asking what’s going on. You know, ‘Move the ball, put some points on the board,’ especially if you’re playing real good on defense.”

Rogers then went out of his way to say there isn’t an offense-defense divide on the team, that each side has the other’s back, and that there will no doubt be days with the feelings are reversed.

“There’s going to be some weeks where teams are going to score on us and put up points,” Rogers said. “And the offense is going to be wondering, ‘Why we aren’t getting three-and-outs. Why we aren’t shutting people down?’. They’ll get it together.”

Kaepernick and the 49ers (6-4) will hope to find their way tonight against the Washington Redskins (3-7). Forget, at least for now, trying to win the NFC West — San Francisco needs to stop the slide to keep pace in a crowded wild-card race.

The 49ers have gone three-and-out on 28.9 percent of their possessions this season, the fourth-worst percentage in the NFL, offering more evidence how defenses have adjusted to zone-read quarterbacks such as Kaepernick and the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III. Last year, those two looked poised to change the NFL; this year, both are proof that it’s hard to make an NFL living on zone-read and play-action alone.

Kaepernick’s passer rating is down 16 points from 2012, and Griffin III has dropped 18 points. Defenses have taken different approaches, with 49ers opponents crowding the line and daring Kaepernick to throw. Redskins foes are finding success by playing back and making Griffin do something he’s never had to do on a regular basis — work through his progressions to find an open receiver.

“Defenses are doing a great job on us, game-planning for us,” 49ers running back Frank Gore said. “We’ve been doing great on the running game, so everybody’s going to try to stop the run.”

When the prime-time schedule was announced in the spring, 49ers-Redskins featuring Kaepernick-Griffin looked like a no-brainer. Both players are still dynamic enough to make for compelling viewing, but Kaepernick hasn’t thrown for more than 200 yards since mid-October. Griffin already has thrown twice as many interceptions as he did all of last season.

NEXT GAME

49ers vs. Redskins

WHEN: Monday, 5:40 p.m.

WHERE: FedExField, Landover, Md.

TV: ESPN, KPIX, Ch. 5

RADIO: KNBR (680 AM), KSAN (107.7 FM)Colin KaepernickNFLSan Francisco 49ers

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

City Administrator Naomi Kelly said Wednesday that the allegations against her husband were “based on the word of a liar.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City Administrator Naomi Kelly takes leave after feds charge husband

High-ranking official under scrutiny over 2016 China trip

High school seniors Shayla and Kayla Bryant receive guidance from 100% College Prep around college admissions. (Courtesy photo)
High school seniors juggling college applications and distance learning

In a final year of high school spent largely online, seniors are… Continue reading

Lyft, owner of the Bay Wheels bikeshare program, stands to receive more than $300,000 in a legal settlement with The City. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Supervisors to weigh $330,000 settlement with Lyft over bikeshare dispute

If approved, deal would resolve an 18-month long legal battle over San Francisco’s e-bike market

The J Church train could begin running again later this month on at least part of its surface route. (Mira Laing/Special to S.F. Examiner)
First Muni trains will return to service Dec. 19

Three additional bus routes coming back online in January

Stanford defensive end Thomas Booker recently was one of Pac-12’s Football Players of the Week. <ins>(Pac-12 Screenshot)</ins>
College Football Preview: Oregon at Cal, Stanford at Washington

Cal plays final home game, Stanford plays second of three road games to end regular season

Most Read