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Kaepernick, 49ers Stunned at Home

Posted Nov 10, 2013

The 49ers quarterback was sacked six times in a physical contest between two of the top defenses in the NFC.

Colin Kaepernick posted a single-start career low 91 passing yards in San Francisco’s 10-9 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

The 49ers quarterback was sacked six times in a physical contest between two of the top defenses in the NFC. Kaepernick was sacked three times in the fourth quarter and completed 2 of 9 pass attempts for 20 yards and one interception.

Kaepernick, nor any member of the offensive unit, was pleased with the outing at Candlestick Park.

“We have to execute better,” said Kaepernick after the 49ers posted a season-low 46 net passing yards in a game that featured one offensive touchdown, a 27-yard run by Carolina running back DeAngelo Williams.

PHOTOS: 49ers vs. Panthers

“We just have to be able to make plays,” Kaepernick said.

The 49ers were boosted with the return of Mario Manningham, who led the team with three catches for 30 yards, but the unit could not get much offensive rhythm established. San Francisco converted 2 of 13 third downs and finished the game with 10 first downs and 151 net yards.

Tight ends Vernon Davis (concussion) and Garrett Celek (hamstring) were both ruled out of action in the first half. The loss of Davis, who was injured on a short pass in the second quarter, was hard to overcome. The veteran tight end was hit and appeared to fumble the ball in the right flat, but it was ruled as an incomplete pass and a Carolina challenge was unable to overturn the call.

After losing control of the ball, Davis’ head slammed to the Candlestick turf on the play. He never returned to the game.

The missing tight ends caused the 49ers to come up a short during the team’s lone red zone trip. Instead of going for a 4th-and-goal from the 2-yard line, Phil Dawson connected on a 25-yard field goal, his third of the first half, to give the 49ers a 9-0 lead.

“We really were out of a couple of personnel groups that we would have liked to have been in at that situation, both Celek and Vernon Davis were out,” Jim Harbaugh explained of the red zone trip. “We needed some time to move some personnel around to accommodate that situation.”

Reserve offensive lineman Adam Snyder saw action as the team’s No. 2 blocking tight end, but the damage was felt in the second half. Without Davis’ presence, the 49ers managed to produce 51 net yards of offense in the final 30 minutes of action.

“Vernon changes defenses,” Kaepernick said. “He makes them do things they don’t normally do.

“He’s a big loss.”

The longest plays of the game were on Frank Gore runs. A 17-yard carry was the offense’s longest play from scrimmage. In the second half, Gore’s 14-yard run was the offense’s longest play. Gore finished the game with a game-high 16 carries for 82 yards.

In the passing game, however, Kaepernick’s statistics were not indicative of how Harbaugh rated his quarterback’s performance against an aggressive front seven.

“Moving the ball wasn’t coming easy for us today,” the 49ers coach said when asked about Kaepernick’s day. “I thought there were plays to be made, and he made some really good ones. And we all put our fingerprints on that.

“Don’t feel good as a coach. It’s not a good feeling when you don’t prevail, especially when you had multiple chances to get it done.”

After Carolina took a 10-9 lead with 10:05 left to play, San Francisco had three offense possessions and managed just one first down and the game-sealing interception to cornerback Drayton Florence.

“We were trying to take a shot down the sideline,” Kaepernick said of San Francisco’s only turnover of the game. “It was desperation mode.”

At 6-3, the 49ers are still in the mix for a NFC playoff seed, but sit 2.5 games behind the Seattle Seahawks.

It’s not desperation on the season by any means.

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