By TED SILLANPAA
The 49ers won’t be changing quarterbacks again any time soon, nor should they. Fans, thus, should simply hope that an offense that has averaged 15 points the last two games is just slumping, as opposed to trending wildly downward.
Colin Kaepernick was fine at quarterback. He offset mistakes with big plays. The idea of returning to Alex Smith is nonsensical. The last thing the club needs after Kaepernick has settled in for three games is to put the pressure to move the team on the shoulders of Smith while he’s also carrying the burden of trying to keep his job from one play to the next. NFL quarterbacks have enough trouble without playing while looking over their shoulders. Jim Harbaugh made his decision and it was bold.
This 49ers’ team has been good, but not great. The defensive unit is outstanding, but it can’t win a championship by itself. Take away the 14 points the defense accounted for against the Saints and the 49ers would’ve lost. The defense held the Rams to 5 points in regulation — and San Francisco lost on Sunday. The defense can’t do more than it has been doing.
The offense took a hit losing running back Kendall Hunter. That’s not the type loss that should suddenly put the 49ers just two games up on the Seahawks in the division with games against the Seahawks and Patriots still highlighting the schedule. The mistakes — penalties, dropped passes, etc. — are slowing the 49ers and there’s no simple fix.
Fans have knee-jerked, naturally, to scream that the play-calling was too conservative … or not conservative enough … in the loss to the Rams. Every play called is designed to succeed, obviously. Penalties and physical mistakes kill even the best play call. (Kaepernick made two mistakes Sunday, but he also ran for 50 yards to get the 49ers in position for what should’ve been a game-winning field goal. A physical mistake, missed kick, cost the 49ers.)
If the 49ers’ offense just hit a rough patch, they’ll hold off the Seahawks and roll into the playoffs with a quarterback who does have the physical ability to break games open. If the offense is, inexplicably, going downhill … the 49ers are in big trouble. This is no time in the NFL season to be trying to fix big problems on offense or defense.
And, heaven knows, if it’s not broke … don’t fix it.