The San Francisco 49ers didn’t surprise anyone with their win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, the game is a testament to how the 49ers offense is taking shape. Colin Kaepernick is really able to show off his playmaking ability now that Michael Crabtree is back. A lack of weapons had been an ongoing problem for the 49ers. The X factor in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game was the way in which Kaepernick was able to make things happen for the offense.
The best example of the way Kaepernick impacted this game was the 52 yard touchdown that he threw to Vernon Davis. The throw came on a play action pass in which Kaepernick moved to his left and launched a beauty of a throw to Vernon Davis as he separated from Mark Barron on the post route. The throw led Davis perfectly. Having a big arm that is so accurate down the field really goes hand in hand with the speed that Davis possesses.
The two almost connected on another pass on almost the exact same route except it wasn’t on play action. Kaepernick started to scramble but saw Davis coming open and with the flick of his wrist, he threw the ball almost 60 yards down field. It was just out of reach for Davis. The vertical threat that these two possess makes the safeties stay honest. They have to take the big arm into account along with the 4.3 speed of Davis.
Another way that Kaepernick impacted this game was his ability to scramble when the pocket collapsed around him and his receivers were not open. His first run was a 16 yard scramble on 3rd and 8 after a delay of game penalty. These are the exact kind of plays that deflates a defense. The reaction by Bucs safety Dashon Goldson was an example of how those runs frustrates a defense.
Five plays later, Kaepernick was able to scramble to the right to buy some time before he threw a touchdown to Michael Crabtree. Crabtree didn’t give up on the play and was able to work the scramble drill to get open. This is exactly what was missing when Crabtree was not in the lineup.
The two connected again in the fourth quarter on a crucial thrid down. It was 3rd and 12. Once again, Kaepernick was flushed to his right. This time he attacked the line of scrimmage and Crabtree was able to get free on the deep comeback route. Kapernick threw a strike to Crabtree and he stayed in bounds for a 14 yard gain.
The nail in the coffin was when Kaepernick scrambled for a first down in another third down situation. The 49ers were driving to get into position for a field goal that would make the game a two possession game. He dropped back, felt the pressure from his blind side and stepped up before he broke a Mason Foster tackle and picked up the first down on a ten yard gain.
The play of Colin Kaepernick has started to get back on course. He showed the playmaking ability that made him a guy that every one wanted to watch. His dual threat ability was on full display against the Buccaneers. This was one of those games where it was easy to say that he was the best offensive player on the field.