Time without Smith: It takes a major story to overshadow a second straight blowout loss by the defending NFC champion. After Sunday’s loss, star pass rusher Aldon Smith vowed to restore his personal life. Team CEO Jed York announced Smith is leaving the team for an indefinite amount of time. Smith, who turns 24 Wednesday, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving Friday morning. He is expected to seek treatment.
Patrick Willis left Sunday's game with a groin injury. The 49ers have a quick turnaround with a game on Thursday.
Banged-up stars: Smith may not be the only key 49er not on the field Thursday night at St. Louis as they try to stop the bleeding. Star tight end Vernon Davis missed Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury. It was his first missed game in six years. Also, late in the third quarter, star inside linebacker Patrick Willis left with a groin injury. It will be very difficult for him to return on a short week. Michael Wilhoite would likely replace Willis.
Kaepernick looks lost: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick was brilliant in Week 1 at home against Green Bay. But his production has sagged in the past two games. He looked rattled, lacked confidence and was far from the superstar he looked like two weeks ago. It’s not all Kaepernick’s fault. The 49ers’ receivers, other than Anquan Boldin, did not help him Sunday against the Colts and Kaepernick missed Davis. But here’s the deal: Elite quarterbacks find a way to get the job done in bad situations. Kaepernick needs to show he can.
Run defense sags: For years, the 49ers’ toughness has been represented by their stout run defense. Sunday, the Colts had their way on the ground. They ran for 179 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. It was the highest mark the 49ers allowed in three seasons. Two years ago, San Francisco allowed three rushing touchdowns all season.