Colin Kaepernick threw for 274 yards and two touchdowns in the second half of a Week 2 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It marked the most yards the San Francisco 49ers quarterback has thrown for in any half of football that he's played in 41 career regular-season starts. Kaepernick finished the day with 33 completions, 335 passing yards and a quarterback rating of 106.7.
Despite the game's 43-18 outcome, both Kaepernick and offensive coordinator Geep Chryst took a lot away from the experience.
On Wednesday, Kaepernick said his production, which included a 75-yard fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Torrey Smith, gives the 49ers offense "confidence moving forward."
A day later, Chryst, San Francisco's first-year coordinator, added his thoughts to the topic of conversation.
"What he did, especially in the second half pass-game wise, was really encouraging," the play-caller said of his quarterback. "I think we can build off of that moving forward starting this Sunday."
Kaepernick will look to get his team back in the win column in a road game against a familiar foe, the Arizona Cardinals. In five career starts against the NFC West rival, Kaepernick has a 4-1 record with 97 completions for 1,287 yards, nine touchdowns and one interception. He's also rushed 30 times for 164 yards.
Chryst said the 49ers have focused on tailoring this year's offense to Kaepernick's strengths. Kaepernick's 98.1 quarterback rating ranks 12th among all passers. He's one of seven quarterbacks to have not thrown an interception in two starts this season.
"Kap has an appetite to get better everyday," the coordinator said.
"We're willing to have him run the ball. You saw that Sunday. And I think that's a compliment to his unique skill set. We're not trying to make him anything other than Kap."
Kaepernick led the 49ers with 51 rushing yards against the Steelers. The fifth-year quarterback has 92 rushing yards through two games, with many of those yards have come on runs in the team's pistol formation, which Kaepernick mastered in college at the University of Nevada.
"He as much authored that (offense) which has been adopted by a lot of football people," Chryst said. "But the thing I see in terms of growth from him, even though he's standing in the pistol, you know, he strung some completions together in the fourth quarter."
The 49ers finished the game with 27 first downs in 90 total plays in the loss. Both were positive developments to Chryst, despite the losing outcome.
"You try to build off of what you did well and you've got to correct what you didn't do well," he said.
More Notes from Chryst
- Chryst said that the 49ers aimed to string together long drives to keep Pittsburgh's high-powered offense off the field. It worked at times, but Chryst said he wasn't pleased to have double-digit drives not result in touchdowns. "To have a 15-play drive, a 17-play drive and an 18-play drive, accomplishes the first task, but three points to show for that is not good," he said. "It's unacceptable."
- Chryst said he liked what he saw from rookies DeAndrew White, Mike Davis and Blake Bell. White and Davis made NFL debuts in Week 2; Bell played one snap in Week 1. "You learn something about your team every time and you learn with some of those rookies, they did some really good things," Chryst said. "They did some rookie things too, but they did some good things."
- Chryst said he was encouraged by the team's trio of fourth-down conversions, but he wasn't happy with the red-zone execution. "You have to learn and improve and move forward and so we'll do that," Chryst said. "But again, you're trying to score touchdowns. We knew we were in four-down territory. Kicking a field goal might have changed the points on the board, but we knew we were in four-down territory. We took four downs. I think we were three-for-five on fourth down. ... You needed points because of the fine job that Pittsburgh was doing offensively."
- Chryst offered a complimentary view of Arizona's defense. "First off, they're athletic and aggressive. They use multiple personnel groups. I think they're confident in what they're doing. There hasn't been as much change in their scheme. There's a lot of carryover with a new coordinator because a lot of their defensive coaches have stayed the same. They started off awful hot last year. I think they were at one time were 11-1 last year and I see a consistency, an optimism to how they play. So it's incumbent upon us to meet that challenge."