Two games into the 2013 season and the San Francisco 49ers passing attack has seen both the very highs and lows of a patchwork offense.
On opening weekend against Green Bay, Colin Kaepernick torched the Packers to the tune of 412 yards and three touchdown passes. Newly acquired receiver Anquan Boldin caught 13 passes for 208 yards and one score, and tight end Vernon Davis caught nine balls for 98 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
On the road in Seattle the next week, Kaepernick passed for just 127 yards with three interceptions and was held out of the end zone. Boldin and Davis combined for four catches and just 27 total yards.
In the meantime, the 49ers other receiving options have been all but absent through two games.
Kyle Williams, the No. 2 receiver has 7 catches through two games for just 75 total yards. Marlon Moore is the only other receiver with a catch, good enough for a 6-yard gain. Rookie Quinton Patton, who left 49er fans buzzing with excitement during the preseason, has no catches.
Most disturbing about the 49ers up-and-down passing game through two weeks, has the lack of consistency and the play of the slot receiver.
Seattle was able to shut down Boldin with their No. 1 cover corner, Richard Sherman while Vernon Davis wasn’t able to shake lose the defense leaving Kaepernick with little options other than forced passes that lead to a couple of interceptions, or passes well short of first downs.
Of Kaepernick’s 28 attempts on Sunday, six went to Williams and five went to fullback Bruce Miller while Boldin and Davis combined for just 9 attempts. Against Green Bay they combined for 26 of Kap’s 39 attempts.
Without a significant threat from the No. 2 and No. 3 wide receivers, the 49ers could be pushing themselves into a corner where defenses may simply man up their best cover corner on Boldin and/or double team if need be. With Vernon Davis hurting from a hamstring injury, the vertical passing game could be in danger, forcing the 49ers offense to play within a 10-yard box, which is what happened against Seattle on Sunday.
This boxed passing offense works against the 49ers open passing game and against Kaepernick’s strengths to vertically stretch the field both with his arms and legs.
With Mario Manningham possibly returning soon after Week 6, the 49ers in the meantime, might be stuck in the boxed passing game unless Patton, Williams or Moore can help stretch the field against defenses that will undoubtedly view Sunday’s blowout loss to the Seahawks as the remedy against the 49ers passing attack.