- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Miami Dolphins, losers of four of five games, have a tall task ahead when they travel to play the San Francisco 49ers. Their biggest challenge defensively is slowing down dynamic 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Miami's defense has struggled mightily against mobile quarterbacks this year. Rookie Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks threw for 224 yards, two touchdowns and averaged 7.6 yards a carry against Miami on quarterback scrambles. Others like Andrew Luck and Jake Locker, who aren't running quarterbacks but have good mobility, also had success using their legs to extend broken plays for first downs.
But Kaepernick's athleticism is on another level compared to Luck, Locker and Wilson. Kaepernick rushed for 84 yards and averaged 9.3 yards per carry last week against the St. Louis Rams. He is as dynamic running the football as he is passing. That is the reason San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh made the bold move to stick with Kaepernick over veteran Alex Smith.
The best way for Miami to attack Kaepernick is by blitzing him. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the inexperienced Kaepernick is completing just 55.6 percent of his passes against five or more rushers. Smith, by contrast, completed 72.2 percent of his passes against the blitz this season.
Miami did a good job last week pressuring New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who is a pocket passer. The Dolphins recorded four sacks against Brady and held New England to its lowest point total (23) since Week 6.
Although Kaepernick is a much different quarterback, the stats show Miami needs to keep up the pressure this week. That is the best way for the Dolphins to have a chance for a road upset.