San Francisco 49ers No.2 quarterback Blaine Gabbert had a statistically bad game in the 49ers preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens at the M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. The game is still underway at this time with the Ravens leading the 49ers 23-3. Gabbert took over for Kaepernick in the 1st quarter and ended up completing just 3 of 11 passes for 20 yards with 1 interception.
Gabbert had at least 4 passes that should have been caught. Had those passes been caught, he would have completed a respectable 7 of 11 passes. 49ers wide receiver Steve Johnson was the main culprit in dropping Gabbert’ passes. They were sailing through Johnson’s hands, and he looked like he had a bad case of alligator arms on a couple of the throws. He appeared to be more worried about the hit that he was going to take once he caught the ball than on concentrating on just doing his job and catching it.
Gabbert was throwing a lot of quick slants of about 10 yards with the ball having a lot of velocity on it. The Niners receivers had butter fingers repeatedly with passes from Gabbert there very, very catchable if the Niners had their best receivers in the game. The fact is they didn’t. Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree weren’t in the game when Gabbert was playing, so he had to be satisfied with throwing the ball to Johnson, Chuck Jacobs, Bruce Elllington and tight end Vance McDonald.
Niners quarterback Josh Johnson had a better game stats-wise compared to Gabbert in completing 7 of 9 passes for 63 yards with 1 fumble. However, Johnson was playing against 2nd and 3rd stringers and he was throwing a much slower ball. It was easier to catch for the receivers than the darts that Gabbert was throwing with his passes over the middle. Gabbert still looked like the more talented quarterback compared to Johnson by a significant margin. It just shows you how misleading stats are.
The Niners need to let Gabbert play with the first team offense so that he can play with the team’s best receivers. The guys that Gabbert was throwing to don’t have the talent to catch his kind of passes or even Kaepernick’s at this point in the season.