Between Meh And Immortality: The Story Of How The Hawks Own A Niner

Jonathan Ferrey

A statistical glance at how the Seahawk defense has 22-handedly gone about giving the 49ers some salary Kaep relief.(/snort)

It's possible that Field Gulls readers will have a distorted view of Colin Kaepernick's value. Eyes are clouded by the strong forces of rivalry, contempt, grudging respect, wishful thinking, confirmation bias, and Kaep's forgettable/unforgettable performances in CenturyLink Field.

It's easy to imagine Colin local meltdowns as the norm. They're not. He's really good, and if it weren't for Thomas and Sherman and Friends, he'd be way better than good.

Won't you take a gander with me, good sirs and lovely ladies, as we look at how the Hawks have altered Kaepernick's career?

Colin Kaepernick Is Very Good

Statistically overall, his career numbers are impressive.


W-L Comp-Att Comp % Yards TD/Int QB rating Y/A AY/A ANY/A
Regular Season 17-6 382-639 59.8 5046 31/11 93.8 7.90 8.09 6.96
Playoffs 4-2 94-162 58.0 1374 7/5 87.3 8.48 7.96 7.06
Total 21-8 476-801 59.4 6420 38/16 92.5 8.01 7.99 6.98

Rate stats and advanced stats confirm the traditional stats. Over two years, he's accumulated a 110 in QBrating+ and a 116 in Int+ to go with a 4.9 TD percentage. His DYAR was eighth in the league this year; his personal DVOA seventh. In 2012, he had the 13th most DYAR in the whole league -- despite only starting seven games!

All this glory has been accumulated after just 23 regular season starts. And, by the way, he's 4-2 in the playoffs, 3-1 on the road. He's been to a Super Bowl. He came one me-di-ocre throw away from taking his team there again this season.

He is very good at what he does.

If we were to slot him between a few notable quarterbacks, it would look like this:

By all-time QB rating: Joe Montana is 10th with 92.3; Ben Roethlisberger is 9th with 92.6

By all-time Y/A: Steve Young is 5th with 8.0; Norm Van Brocklin is at 4th with 8.2.

By all-time ANY/A: Tony Romo is 4th with 6.96; Philip Rivers is 3rd with 7.2

By all-time Int %: Aaron Rodgers is 1st with 1.8. Kaepernick bests everyone, ever.

To return to DYAR, his closest peer was Roethlisberger again, who accumulated 1485 DYAR in 29 games, while Kaepernick posted 1346 in 23 starts.

And let's finish with a dash of individual DVOA -- Kaepernick was one of only five quarterbacks to record at least 16.6% DVOA in each of the past two seasons. The other four? Oh, no biggie, just Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.

It is no wonder the Niners want him as their quarterback. It is no wonder he wants a salary surpassing 18 million dollars. Nobody should be surprised if he gets something approaching that from an NFL team, even if it's not San Fran. Big Ben's contract AAV is 14.7; Manning's is 19.2. It's hard to see Kaepernick getting paid outside of that range.

Because, repeating for emphasis: Colin Kaepernick is very good.

Ah, But Colin Kaepernick Is Also Very Bad

Let us make the same table as before, only this time using exclusively his games vs. Seattle:

W-L Comp-Att Comp % Yards TD/Int QB rating Y/A AY/A ANY/A
Regular season 1-2 47-93 50.5 546 2/5 53.4 5.87 3.88 3.11
Playoffs 0-1 14-24 58.3 153 1/2 56.4 6.38 3.46 2.96
Total 1-3 61-117 52.1 699 3/7 54.0 5.97 3.79 3.08

Fate is not being entirely fair to Colin here -- three of those four games have taken place at the inhospitablest venue in the league. And a four-game sample size is minuscule. Still, the games happened. So we tally them.

And in doing so, we discover a couple more slotting gems.

By all-time QB rating: 192nd is Al Dorow at 53.8; 193rd is Zeke Bratowski, a real person, checking in at 54.3

By all-time Y/A: Right between Rick Mirer (5.9) and Steve Walsh (6.0).

(Not even kidding with the Rick Mirer thing. He just showed up, right there, coincidentally, karmically. Pretty sure the only 18 million Mirer ever earned here was 18 million extended middle fingers from Hawk fans.)

To wrap up this section, you can play a brutal game called "Reduce Blaine Gabbert's effectiveness by 20 percent," and the following chart appears out of nowhere, practically:

AY/A ANY/A Passer rating
Kaepernick vs. Seattle 3.79 3.08 54.0
Gabbert, 20 percent worse than himself 3.84 3.01 53.1

Why pick Gabbert for that comp? Oh, no reason.

Now You Sea Them, Now You Don't

If the Lombardi-toting Seattle Seahawks had never appeared on Kaepernick's schedule, he'd probably be in line for Romo-Ryan-Rodgers money, something closer to $22 million. Remove the Hawks games from his career and this is the new table you get:

W-L Comp-Att Comp % Yards TD/Int QB rating Y/A AY/A ANY/A
Regular season 16-4 335-546 61.4 4500 29/6 100.6 8.24 8.81 7.60
Playoffs 4-1 80-138 57.8 1221 6/3 92.7 8.85 8.74 7.78
Total 20-5 415-684 60.7 5721 35/9 99.1 8.36 8.80 7.63

Every single category sparkles. The .800 winning percentage and passer rating would both be the second-best of all time. The TD-Int numbers! But my point is different this time -- look again at those three final columns. Folks don't consistently compile Y/A, AY/A and ANY/A like that. It simply isn't done. Unless... wait...

2012-13 Aaron Rodgers' triple-slash line: 8.1 / 8.6 / 7.5

2011-12 Tom Brady, to be fair to him: 8.1 / 8.5 / 7.9

And then, Denver Manning's done this: 8.2 / 8.9 / 8.4

When the Hawks aren't holding him back, that's the company Colin keeps. Those guys. With the next tier, Drew Brees and Russell Wilson, only one rung below them, because short joke.

The Rodgers-Brady-Manning level of quarterback makes a lot more dough than any other. And Kaepernick could have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those no-good pesky kids in blue and green.

So You're Welcome, San Fran?

The Seahawks might've kept the Niners out of the 2014 Super Bowl. It might've happened in large part because of THIS PLAY, which literally can not be watched too many times, or caps-locked too often.

But in return, San Francisco, I've got great news: we just saved you a ton on car insurance quarterback costs. Trent Baalke, you're welcome, assuming you're still here when the bill comes due.

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