Colin Kaepernick Must Focus on Consistency Now


Colin Kaepernick has turned in two stellar performances in a row after a forgettable first four games for the San Francisco 49ers.

After a tough loss the previous week to the New York Giants in the final seconds, Kaepernick picked up where he left off against the Baltimore Ravens in a 25-20 win. He connected with Torrey Smith on a deep pass and danced his way in the pocket before throwing a laser to Quinton Patton for the deciding score in the game. No one really talked about it, but it was a small measure of revenge for the loss in Super Bowl 47.

San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers /

San Francisco 49ers

These were the types of performances 49ers’ fans envisioned more of three years ago, when Kaepernick made an improbable run to the Super Bowl in the middle of the 2012 season. It seemed so long ago, but in the season opener in 2013, Kaepernick turned in arguably his greatest performance of his career in a 34-28 win against the Green Bay Packers. He threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns, and more importantly, was building on his success from the Super Bowl.

All of that came crashing down the following week against their bitter division rivals, the Seattle Seahawks. Kaepernick completed just 13 of 28 passes and was picked off three times in a 29-3 shellacking. Ever since then, one can make the case that Kaepernick has gradually declined in performance.

This Thursday’s matchup against those same Seahawks is a perfect barometer on whether Kaepernick has truly turned a corner on his development as a quarterback. Against a team that he has had very little success with throwing the ball, he has a chance to prove his critics wrong. If he turns in a big game, it would feel like his career has come full circle.

For Kaepernick, it has never been a question of physical tools. It was whether he could enhance his awareness in the pocket, read coverages and go through his progressions and be able to know what the defense was going to do before the ball was snapped.

On the 21-yard touchdown pass to Patton, Kaepernick seemed to put all of those components together. The Ravens rushed six and Kaepernick bobbed and weaved within the pocket to buy himself precious time to allow Patton to get open. Patton was probably Kaepernick’s third option on the play.

Just prior to the touchdown strike to Patton, Kaepernick stepped up nicely in the pocket to deliver a beautiful pass to Anquan Boldin for 51 yards. The mechanics of throwing seemed to be clicking for Kaepernick, but his ability to spread the ball around to all of his receivers was a welcome sign as well.

Against the blitz, Kaepernick was brilliant against the Ravens. The Ravens showed pressure all day, blitzing on 17 of 33 drop backs by Kaepernick. He responded with both of his touchdown passes coming against the increased pressure.

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These are all positive signs for 49er fans, but expectations should be tempered. It has essentially been two years since Kaepernick carried a consistently long string of games where he performed up to par of a top-ten quarterback. If Kaepernick wants to be taken seriously and maintain his position with the 49ers, he cannot put up mediocre performances in consecutive fashion as he has been prone to do for the last couple of seasons.

No other team has given Kaepernick as much trouble as the Seahawks have. Should he perform well, it may galvanize Kaepernick for the rest of the season and increase his confidence further. A win would also keep the 49ers’ playoff chances alive, and possibly end their rivals’ bid to get back into the playoffs. Here’s to hoping that Kaepernick can continue his solid play and lead his team to victory on this short week.

Next: NFC West Power Rankings Week Six