The NFL features plays every week that almost defy description – incredible displays of athleticism and awareness that leave fans in awe. Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers are lagging behind in their division race and needed a win at New Orleans and with the game on the line, Kaepernick delivered a tremendous throw that made Mark Schofield, film review aficionado, say “whoa”.
I know what you are thinking: “Another film breakdown?”
Look, sometimes the pieces that I put together for this site are a bit…dry. I break down game tape, trying to take readers inside the Xs and Os of coverages, routes and schemes. I wax poetic about the virtues of rub routes and enjoy the art of using pass routes to influence defenders. (Yes, I believe there is an art to that). But sometimes it is nice to take a step back and just say, “forget the film, that is simply something that no human being should be able to do.”
Enter Colin Kaepernick.
Trailing by 3 points with 1:34 remaining in the game, San Francisco faced a “4th-and-the-season” situation Sunday against New Orleans. With Arizona off to a scorching start, the 49ers desperately needed to pull out the victory to keep pace in the NFC West. With their 2014 fortunes on the line, San Francisco put Kaepernick in the shotgun:
Then, this happened:
The New Orleans nickel defense utilizes Cover 2 on this play, but the secondary loses track of wide receiver Michael Crabtree when the quarterback breaks the pocket. Specifically, the deep safety moves from his zone mirroring Kaepernick’s movements, opening up a huge window for the receiver. Crabtree continues on his deep pattern and his QB is able to spot him:
Look where Kaepernick is when he releases this pass. Crabtree makes the catch at the Saints’ 29-yard line while going to the turf. The throw, made by the QB after moving to his right, carries at least 55 yards on the fly:
That throw is something no mere mortal should be able to accomplish. When Kaepernick leaves the pocket he scrambles to the right sideline. He then has the vision to identify Crabtree running free deep along the left hashmarks. The QB plants, sets his feet quickly and throws back across the field:
The QB’s mechanics are flawless. It is not just the arm strength, it is the footwork, technique and athleticism that allows this “whoa” moment to happen. The play moved the 49ers into field goal range but San Francisco failed to gain another yard on their next three plays. On 4th down Phil Dawson converted the 45-yard kick and Jim Harbaugh’s men went on to earn the win in overtime, keeping their playoff hopes alive for one more week. And on this play, Colin Kaepernick demonstrated why his right arm might be the most impressive in all of football. Sometimes, the film speaks for itself.
All video and images courtesy NFL.com and NFL Game Rewind.
Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkSchofield.