SANTA CLARA, CA – It’s been three years since the Colts played a game in the Bay Area-and its been eight since they faced the team in red and gold.
It’s worth noting that the last two trips to this part of California were victories-with the Colts beating the Raiders 31-26 in 2010 and the 49ers 28-3 in 2005.
Getting another victory would be a lift for the Colts who had a letdown at home against the Dolphins in Week 2-in a game many expected Chuck Pagano’s team to win. Since they didn’t, the Colts must beat San Francisco at Candlestick Park Sunday afternoon to avoid their second consecutive 1-2 start to a season.
“It’s the 24-hour rule, you can’t do nothing about it,” said defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois of the loss to Miami. “Once the final score happens, you might have a few hours to think about it but once that happens you have to let that go and start thinking about San Francisco.”
When the former 49er did that this week along with the rest of his defensive teammates, one name immediately comes to mind: San Francisco quarter Colin Kaepernick. The third-year quarterback exploded onto the scene in 2012, throwing for 1,814 yards and ten touchdowns compared to just three interceptions while also rushing for 415 yards and five touchdowns.
His dual-threat abilities in the 2012 playoffs (798 yards passing, 264 rushing)helped the 49ers win the NFC and advance to Super Bowl XLVII, where the narrowly lost to the Baltimore Ravens 34-31.
“Take my hat off to him,” said Francois. “He’s a dual threat-he can pass and run so our biggest thing is to cage him in. Let him have to beat us with his arm.”
That was a bit of a problem last week in perhaps his worst game as an NFL starter to date. A solid Seattle pass rush made Kaepernick uncomfortable as he tossed a career-high 3 interceptions and passed for just 127 yards as he completed just 13-of-28 passes.
Even with those struggles, Kaepernick was still able to rush for 87 yards on nine carries and has help in the backfield when he decides to hand it off.
“He’s got a good option. He’s got the three horsemen in the backfield,” said Francois of the San Francisco offense. “They have Frank (Gore), LaMichael James, Kendall (Hunter) so they have a lot of weapons but we just have to contain all those weapons at once.”