Last week: 6 (+4)
The 49ers would be #1 in these Power Rankings if I knew, first that Colin Kaepernick was going to be their starter for the rest of the season and second that his performance on Monday Night was not a fluke. We’ll know the answer to both of those questions in the next few weeks and it’s certainly an interesting situation. They were 6th last week and they’d probably still be there if I knew Smith was going to continue to start. Smith is a nice quarterback in that system, but I’ve never felt he could lead them to a Super Bowl.
If Kaepernick is for real, they absolutely can. They have the defense, the running game, the offensive line. They rank 2nd in yards per play differential and 3rd in rate of sustaining drives differential. Kaepernick makes the run even more dangerous because teams have to respect the deep ball now and because they also have to respect Kaepernick’s own running ability. They have an incredibly complex playbook, but Kaepernick allows them to use more of it with his athletic gifts and it didn’t appear he had any issues with the mental part of it either, which was formerly Alex Smith’s biggest advantage.
I’m not saying bench Smith. That could be potentially disastrous for team morale and chemistry, so it’s not advisable to do it unless you know Kaepernick is for real, but there’s nothing wrong with giving Smith a couple more games to “rest up,” see what the kid has, and then bench Smith in 2 weeks or so when you’re sure Kaepernick is the better option. If he is, this is an incredibly dangerous team with no flaws that can absolutely win the Super Bowl. If not, they go back to Smith and remain a fringe contender.
QB Colin Kaepernick: 16 of 23 for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns, 2 throw aways, 2 drops, 130.0 adjusted QB rating pressured on 9 of 26 drop backs (1 sack, 2 scrambles, 3 of 6, 1 drop, 2 throw aways), rushed for 10 yards on 4 attempts
RG Alex Boone: Did not allow a pressure on 28 pass block snaps, run blocked for 12 yards on 3 attempts
TE Vernon Davis: Caught 6 passes for 83 yards on 8 attempts on 24 pass block snaps, 2.7 YAC per catch
ROLB Aldon Smith: 6 sacks and 2 quarterback hits on 22 pass rush snaps, 1 penalty, 5 stops
CB Tarell Brown: Allowed 5 catches for 37 yards on 9 attempts, 1 interception, 2 solo tackle, 1 stop
MLB Patrick Willis: 3 solo tackles, 3 assists, 2 stops, 1 quarterback hurry on 2 blitzes, allowed 2 catches for 11 yards on 4 attempts, 2 pass deflections
MLB Navorro Bowman: 11 solo tackles, 6 stops, allowed 4 catches for 19 yards on 4 attempts
RE Justin Smith: 1 sack and 5 quarterback hurries on 25 pass rush snaps, 6 solo tackles, 5 stops