NFC West: 2013 Week 2 QB Watch

QB Watch: 49ers' Colin Kaepernick

September, 18, 2013
9/18/13
1:30
PM ET
A weekly examination of the San Francisco 49ers' quarterback play:

Jones
Kaepernick
Rewind: It’s pretty simple. Colin Kaepernick probably had his worst performance of his 12-game NFL starting career in a 29-3 loss at Seattle on Sunday. He couldn't get anything going against the Seahawks' defense. Kaepernick threw for 127 yards and committed four turnovers; his quarterback rating was 14.0, the lowest of his career. Kaepernick said the 49ers will have no chance to win if he plays that way in the future.

Fast-forward: I smell a bounce-back game. The 49ers host Indianapolis on Sunday. The Colts have a beatable defense which might be able to contain Kaepernick. Young quarterbacks Terrelle Pryor and Ryan Tannehill -- neither of whom is at Kaepernick’s level -- have already had their moments against this defense this season. The Raiders' Pryor had 112 rushing yards against Indy in Week 1, which might spur the 49ers to design their offensive plan around Kaepernick's running ability Sunday.

Getting Boldin going: Kaepernick needs to reconnect with Anquan Boldin. One week after a San Francisco debut in which he had 13 catches for 208 yards, the receiver had just one catch for seven yards against the Seahawks. Boldin doesn’t need to get 13 balls from Kaepernick, but they do need to establish a presence.

Prediction: Kaepernick will go 21-of-31 for 314 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He will run for 71 yards on nine carries.

QB Watch: Rams' Sam Bradford

September, 18, 2013
9/18/13
1:30
PM ET
A weekly examination of the St. Louis Rams' quarterback play.

Bradford
Bradford
Rewind: For the second week in a row, Rams quarterback Sam Bradford put up big numbers and kept those with the foresight to start him as their fantasy signal-caller happy in the process.

Bradford threw a career-high 35 passes 5 yards or less down the field, and at first it appeared that number was a bit too high. But after reviewing the film, Bradford really didn't have but a few chances to get the ball downfield on some of the throws he checked down.

Once again, the St. Louis offense really started revving when it went to a no-huddle, two-minute tempo in the second half. We already knew that Bradford is most comfortable in a fast-break style, and his second-half performance of 20-of-34 for 228 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions only served to reinforce that.

Fast-forward: The Rams' Week 3 foe, the Dallas Cowboys, are having issues at cornerback, with Morris Claiborne nursing a bad left shoulder and rookie B.W. Webb not yet ready to contribute. Dallas worked out three corners on Tuesday and clearly has its eyes open for help.

Through two weeks, Dallas is allowing 313.5 passing yards per game. Bradford hasn't been sacked this season, but the biggest obstacle to continued big numbers will come from the best pass rush he's faced yet. With end DeMarcus Ware leading the way, Dallas has seven sacks in two games.

Bad bounces: Bradford has only thrown two interceptions in the first two games, but both have been turned into touchdowns. Neither was the result of a bad decision or even a bad throw. Instead, Bradford's been a victim of bad bounces. Odds are that streak will end sooner than later.

Prediction: Another favorable matchup against a team that has struggled to stop the pass and has done well against the run could lead to a third consecutive big game for Bradford.

QB Watch: Cardinals' Carson Palmer

September, 18, 2013
9/18/13
1:30
PM ET
A weekly analysis of the Arizona Cardinals' quarterback play:

Rewind: Carson Palmer put his veteran leadership on display against the Lions with his 14th fourth-quarter comeback. Yet Palmer’s best pass on that game-winning drive didn’t even count. Knowing the Lions liked to face guard, Palmer threw the ball perfectly so Andre Roberts had to backtrack a step and was able to draw a pass interference penalty. Palmer also struggled on third down, going 1-for-11. He finished with 248 yards on 22-of-39 passing.

Palmer
I predicted Palmer would turn in the same type of game in Week 2 as he did in Week 1 if he was given the time, and I think he came up a tad short. He was missing players high and wide, but he led the Cardinals to a win.

Fast-forward: Palmer and Cardinals coach Bruce Arians will see their closest match in Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. He’s creative, like Arians, and will devise a scheme to confuse Palmer. He already has thrown a few curveballs this season, such as not lining up any down linemen. Palmer also can expect to see four or more safeties more often than he has this season, which may open up the underneath pass out of the slot.

Deep bound and down: Palmer was 1-for-6 on passes of 20 yards or longer, according to Pro Football Focus, which is the bread and butter of the Cardinals’ offense. Arians has six deep plays to use every game. The Saints are vulnerable deep down the middle and on the right side, where they gave up all three passes that direction this season for 76 yards.

Prediction: Palmer will find the seams in Ryan’s defense and spread the ball around to a host of receivers to distract the Saints from Larry Fitzgerald. Palmer will throw for 300 yards again and three touchdowns.

QB Watch: Seahawks' Russell Wilson

September, 18, 2013
9/18/13
1:30
PM ET
A weekly analysis of the Seattle Seahawks' quarterback play.

Wilson
Rewind: A mixed bag for Russell Wilson. He led the Seahawks to an emotional 29-3 victory over the West Coast-rival San Francisco 49ers, but it wasn’t an impressive statistical performance. Wilson completed 8 of 19 throws for 142 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. For the second consecutive week, he got off to a slow start, completing only one of his first nine passes and uncharacteristically missing on easy throws. But Wilson has a knack for finding ways to get it done when the team needs it. He completed a 51-yard pass to Doug Baldwin in the third quarter on a third-and-12 at the Seattle 29 that led to the Seahawks' first touchdown.

Fast-forward: Wilson gets a chance to really show his stuff Sunday, when the Seahawks are 20-point favorites over the Jacksonville Jaguars at CenturyLink Field. However, Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley knows Wilson’s tendencies as well as anyone; Bradley was Seahawks defensive coordinator before taking the Jacksonville job this season. Bradley won’t underestimate Wilson’s capabilities, and might have a few tricks up his sleeve that he learned when his defense faced Wilson every day in practice last season.

Home perfection: Wilson still hasn't lost a home game in his NFL career, a perfect 9-0 so far. He has led the Seahawks to seven victories in their past eight regular-season games.

Second-half Russ: Wilson always seems to play better when the game is on the line. Indeed, he has played much better in the second half than the first over this season's first two games. Wilson has completed 20 of 27 throws for 294 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the second half.

Prediction: It would be shocking if Wilson plays poorly in this one. Look for him to have his best game so far against the struggling Jaguars. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is placing a major emphasis this week on the offense cutting down on penalties and careless mistakes. Wilson will benefit immensely if the players around him stop hurting themselves with undisciplined errors.

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