Kaepernick stretches field to break Saints

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Colin Kaepernick's run as starter for the San Francisco 49ers is off to a good start

Jim Harbaugh’s decision to start second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick paid off Sunday as the San Francisco 49ers beat the New Orleans Saints 31-21.

Highest Total QBR
1st 2 Career Starts Since 2008

In his second career start, Kaepernick posted a 72.3 Total QBR. That total puts his QBR at 85.0 over the last 2 weeks, the second-highest QBR through a player’s first two starts over the last five seasons.

The reasons behind Kaepernick’s high Total QBR this season has been an ability to stretch the field effectively and success on third down.

Kaepernick has a perfect QBR (100.0) on throws 20 yards or more downfield and he ranks third among qualified players in QBR on third down (89.2), trailing only Ben Roethlisberger (94.5) and Tom Brady (89.5).

Eli Manning Bounces Back

Eli Manning had an 87.9 Total QBR in Sunday night’s win over the Packers, his highest since Week 6 against the 49ers (96.0). It comes on the heels of a three-game stretch that saw Manning post a QBR of 27.1, lower than the likes of Blaine Gabbert (35.3), Brandon Weeden (30.3), and Mark Sanchez (27.5) over the same span.

Eli Manning Last 4 Games

The big difference for Manning on Sunday was the success he had against Green Bay’s standard pass rush.

Manning had a 96.8 QBR on dropbacks against four or fewer pass rushers in the game and threw two of his three touchdown passes. He threw no touchdowns and all four of his interceptions on such dropbacks in his previous three games.

Total QBR and Winning

Total QBR can be used to quantify just how important the quarterback position has become to winning in the NFL. Looking back to previous years, the team with the higher Total QBR has won 86% of regular season games since 2008 (as far back as Total QBR goes). That is higher than the comparable mark for teams with the advantage in total yardage, turnover differential, and NFL passer rating.