This is not what is supposed to be happening. At 1-2 and after suffering back to back beatdowns including a 27-7 loss at home against the Colts, the powerhouse once thought to be the San Francisco 49ers seem to be at a loss in terms of explaining the sudden turn of events.
After an impressive season debut, Colin Kaepernick has coming crashing down. Most people shrugged off that he struggled in Seattle because of the quality of the opponent but his recent performance against the Colts has risen the level of concern to the 49er faithful.
Kaepernick had two more turnovers (a pick and a fumble) and only threw for 150 yards in Sunday’s loss. Obviously it’s not all on Kap; the offensive line hasn’t done the job like it has in the past as the running game has struggled and Kaepernick has been hit a lot.
The lack of talent at the wide receiver position has also made things difficult. After a strong game in week one, Anquan Boldin has only caught 6 passes in his next two games and Vernon Davis has been out because of injury.
It seems like teams have made it a point to hit the quarterback in read-option situations which has had an effect on how offensive plays are now being called. The 49ers haven’t used the read-option, which has been very effective for them in the past, to protect their quarterback. The concern of being hit has also negated Kaepernick’s threat with his legs so he isn’t running as much.
On defense, the 49ers just don’t look as intimidating as they have in the past. Teams have been running the football at will and the turnovers have not been there so far. Add the fact that Patrick Willis is hurt and Aldon Smith is dealing with his own issues and will likely miss a month of action, it doesn’t look like quick solution is likely in this scenerio.
The performances these past two games have transfromed this early part of the season into “make-or-break” time. Meanwhile in Kansas City, Alex Smith and his Chiefs are 3-0. I’m not ready to say that San Francisco made a terrible mistake but the Chiefs are playing like the 49ers once did. Nothing flashy, just running the football, not turning the ball over and bending but not breaking on defense. The 49ers have gotten away from that, electing to throw the ball around the field, committing more turnovers. The defense has been giving up big plays and has come up short in clutch situations.
So what is it? Is it that the league has caught up with them? Is it just as simple as injuries or talent level? Or is it something more complex like a self entitlement issue? Their success has clearly put team more in the limelight than ever before. Kaepernick on magazines, Aldon Smith in rehab, Frank Gore arguing with the coach. All are the makings of a terrible reality show, not NFL football.
The 49ers better realize that whatever good things they accomplished is now in the past and doesn’t matter; they need to do more than just show up in order to beat somebody.