Now that 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has avoided quarterbacking’s version of the black hole, he’ll attempt to do something Sunday that he hasn’t done in two years.
That is, produce consecutive 100-or-better ratings in consecutive weeks. In the Baltimore Ravens, he’ll face a defense that ranks 25th in the NFL in passing yards allowed.
Last weekend, Kaepernick threw for 262 yards, two touchdowns and a 107.1 rating in a 30-27 loss to the New York Giants. He credited the performance to extended sit-downs with the receivers earlier in the week.
“We had more meeting time together,” Kaepernick said Wednesday. “We went in detail over things to make sure everybody was on the same page, what we were looking to get out of each play and what we were trying to take advantage of.
“It was a confidence-building thing for both sides — for the receivers, for us, for the offensive line. It was something that we can build on moving forward.”
Wide receiver Torrey Smith agreed. “Yeah, I think it was a lot better. It showed, too,” he said. “Probably throughout the week, there was more dialogue than usual and it worked for us.”
When asked what he liked most about Kaepernick’s performance, coach Jim Tomsula was careful not to read too much into it.
“I don’t think anybody saw anything new out of him there,” Tomsula said. “But [I] just like the way he played. Go get it, man. That’s all I’d have to say on that.”
Kaepernick has had his moments before. But if consistency is the mark of a franchise QB, then he has fallen well short of the mark the last two seasons.
The last time Kaepernick had a rating of 100 or better in back-to-back games was the tail end of the 2013 season, when he posted grades of 108.8, 108.6 and 111.2 in the final three weeks. He has played 21 regular-season games since then.
The inconsistency didn’t stop Baltimore coach John Harbaugh — whose brother, former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, created the Kaepernick monster — from gushing over him Wednesday.
“Incredible talent. I think he’s had a tremendous career, and that’s what you prepare for,” he said. “When you have players of that caliber who’ve played the way they have in this league, you know what they’re capable of doing. It goes for their whole offense.”
If former Nevada coach Chris Ault is to be believed, then Kaepernick’s decline coincides with his poor mechanics and footwork in the pocket. Ault recruited him to run the Pistol offense for three seasons.
“Nobody knows Kap like I do, and really that started last year,” Ault told FoxSports.com. “For some reason last year, his technique throwing the ball … he let it go.”
“I saw a little of it in college. He was a pitcher, as everyone knows. He threw that thing 93 or 94 miles per hour. He has a low elbow at times. It’s not a sidearm throw by any means, but his elbow and arm are at 90 degrees instead of having that thing extended all the way up. He does that because he’s so doggone strong.
“He’s one of the few guys that can get away throwing that way, but when you have to make the touch pass, drop it over [coverage], or if you have to anticipate where a receiver is going, that type of release often times makes you very inconsistent. That’s what I’m seeing.”
Tomsula wasn’t interested in the breakdown. “With all due respect to coach Ault — I don’t know him — but we’re not really paying attention to other people’s evaluations,” he said. “We’re watching our film and we’re evaluating and we’re correcting and working things that we feel like we need to work on.”
Kaepernick said he wasn’t “huge” on mechanics and hadn’t broken down enough film to know whether the critique was valid or not.
“That’s the job of the quarterback — throw it to the receiver so he can catch it,” Kaepernick said. “It’s that simple.”