Quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers look to salvage their lost season starting with Saturday night’s matchup with the playoff-striving San Diego Chargers at Levi’s Stadium.
At 7-7 with a 1-4 division record, the 49ers have no chance to make the postseason but can get Kaepernick’s game back on track while denying the Chargers (8-6) an AFC wild card spot.
Now in his second full season as the 49ers starter, and first under his $126 million contract, Kaepernick’s numbers are down across the board. He’s posted a career-worst 84.9 passer rating, with 16 touchdowns to 10 interceptions and his 7.13 yards per completion is also a career-low.
And in the midst of San Francisco’s current three-game losing streak he’s tossed four interceptions to one touchdown, while throwing for less than 200 yards in each loss. With his quick feet, an attribute that once made Kaepernick one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the league, he’s notching 4.7 yards per rush.
But Kaepernick could turn things around against a Chargers pass rush that’s notched only 20 sacks all season, the third-lowest mark in the NFL. San Diego’s also trying to end a losing streak, after dropping two straight to New England and Denver.
In both those losses the Chargers totaled two sacks and six quarterback hits, with five coming against New England. They also allowed 8.1 yards per pass attempt, and an average of 99 rushing yards to two teams not known for running the ball a whole lot.
Kaepernick will likely look to receiver Anquan Boldin early and often, hoping to help his top target breakout of his funk. Boldin’s totaled nine receptions for 95 yards in the last three games, two of which were against Seattle’s punishing secondary.
No. 2 San Francisco receiver Michael Crabtree may not play, putting more emphasis on Boldin. Crabtree (knee) is listed as quesitonable and sat out Wednesday’s practice, but was limited in Thursday and Friday’s sessions. Likely tied to Kaepernick’s drop in production, Crabtree’s posting a career-low 10.3 yards per reception.
San Diego has some injury woes of their own, with running back Ryan Matthews and top receiver Keenan Allen both listed as out for Saturday’s game.
Matthews (ankle) has appeared in only six games this season, but when healthy he’s put up 4.5 yards per carry. Allen (collarbone, ankle) was hurt in last week’s loss to Denver, and was enjoying a solid sophomore year with a team-best 77 receptions for 783 yards and four touchdowns.
With two of his top weapons out, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers will need break past a 49ers secondary ranked No. 3 in the league while dealing with back and chest injuries of his own.
After starting the season red-hot, Rivers has slowed in the last two weeks, throwing two touchdowns to three interceptions and he posted two of his lowest completion percentages of the year. Still Rivers is a major threat to San Francisco, with 27 touchdowns to 12 picks, and he’s third in league with a 67.6 completing percentage.
Start Time: 8:25 P.M. ET
TV Channel: CBS
Live Stream: A live stream is available by subscription with DirecTV here
Betting Odds: San Francisco -1
Over/Under: 41 points
Prediction: San Diego over San Francisco, 24-14