Colin Kaepernick: What If? He Had Started Against The Panthers?

What if? San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick had started against the Panthers, would the 49ers have won? Would Kaepernick have outperformed Blaine Gabbert?


The San Francisco 49ers suffered a crushing loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday 46 to 27, a loss that saw a multitude of lows and rare highs in the game, in particular, the defense giving up 529 yards, 46 points while being on the field for 78 snaps and time of possession 35:54 to 49ers 24:06.

Blaine Gabbert, the offense, and running game, the recap:

Gabbert’s game statistics: completed 17 of 36 for 243 passing yards at 6.8 yards a pass play, a passer rating of 64.9 percent to go with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Gabbert completed 47.2 percent of his passes against the Panthers and went 4-14 on third down. Via  

Important to also note: 49ers running game totaled 65 yards, 2.5 a carry. Carlos Hyde totaled 34 yards at 2.4 yards a carry. Also, Hyde committed a fumble and the offense only accounted for 16 first downs.

49ers wide receivers didn’t make a huge impact in this game, in fact— Torrey Smith, Jeremy Kerley, Quinton Patton, and Rod Streater all combined for 10 catches and 122 yards with one touchdown coming from Smith.

The one big impact play on offense came from tight end Vance McDonald on a 75-yard touchdown pass from Gabbert. Fellow tight end Garret Celek chip in with a catch going for 12 yards both tight ends, only targeted two times each.


Per Eric Branch of San Francisco Chronicle reported that all-pro left tackle Joe Staley acknowledged the Panthers’ defensive front had some unexpected stunts that helped muck up the running game.

Former pro bowler and Superbowl winning veteran safety Antoine Bethea’s explanation for TE Greg Olsen’s easy 78-yard TD catch? “They had seen some things we had been doing during the week, and they just countered it.”

Colin Kaepernick:

How would Colin Kaepernick have fared against the Panthers under these circumstances aforementioned above is the million dollar question that fans are asking and curious to know?

There’s a substantial amount of 49er fans that feel that the 49ers lost because of Blaine Gabbert’s two interceptions, his completion percentage of 47.2 and his lack of rushing—- totaling just 10 yards rushing on three attempts while averaging 3.3 yards a carry.

Important to note: Panthers had a spy on Gabbert at times throughout the game and were throwing stunts at the offensive line not just to stop Carlos Hyde, but contain Gabbert from running up the middle for chunks of positive yards. (Film Study by the defense).

Colin Kaepernick, over his career the last five years totaled 57 games played, averaged 175 passing yards a game, a completion percentage of 59.9, passing attempts of 23.9 a game, and 26 interceptions, with a 1.9 int % ratio.

In closing, it’s a good what if conversation or debate to have on how Colin Kaepernick would have fared against the Panthers. However, first, he would have to get healthy and get his playing weight up, before he could even attempt to play in a game.

Feel free to leave comments on why you think the 49ers would have either won the game or why Colin Kaepernick would have outperformed Gabbert.

All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of, Pro Football Focus,, , unless otherwise indicated.