Of today’s announcement that Colin Kaepernick will remain San Francisco’s starting QB, despite Alex Smith (above) having recovered from his recent concussion, Niners coach Jim Harbaugh simply called the move, “going with the hot hand”. Putting aside for a moment whether or not Smith should’ve pretended his brains weren’t scrambled, the SF Chronicle’s Eric Branch points out there’s some statistical reason beyond Harbaugh’s faith in momentum.
In terms your toddler could understand, the 49ers have fewer really bad plays – and more really good plays – with Kaepernick at the controls, which is a nod to the second-year quarterback’s strong arm and fast feet.
In his two starts, Kaepernick has been sacked just once, despite being under constant pressure Sunday against the Saints. In contrast, Smith was sacked 22 times in his eight full games this season. In addtion, Kaepernick had 10 pass completions of 20 yards or more in his two starts. In his eight full games, Smith had 22.
Tight end Delanie Walker acknowledged Kaepernick is more willing to throw risky passes downfield, which is perfectly acceptable since Kaepernick has also thrown just one interception in two starts.
“That’s just Kaep being young so he takes more chances,” Walker said. “Alex is the more ready quarterback, controlling the offense, making sure we get another down. Kaep, he will take a chance and go for the big play.”