Week 1 of the NFL season featured very different results for the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers. One team celebrated a Monday night win while the other suffered a Thursday night loss. Now both teams make the necessary adjustments as they head into a very important contest this weekend.
During a very active NFL off-season, the 49ers were rumored to have quarterback Colin Kaepernick on the trading block. The Jets, Eagles, and Bears were among those teams reported to be seeking out his services, but the San Francisco signal caller remained with the club.
Of all of the stats that were most pleasing to 49ers fans from week one, Kaepernick’s sack total is likely their favorite. A report from ESPN‘s Kevin Seifert explains their joy.
“Kaepernick took only one sack in the 49ers’ 20-3 victory against the Minnesota Vikings, and even that came when he stepped out of bounds at the line of scrimmage rather than take a hit with a two-touchdown lead late in the third quarter.”
That victory helped the 49ers keep pace with their NFC West rivals, as the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams were also victorious in week one, with the latter’s win coming over the Super Bowl runner-up Seattle Seahawks.
Kaepernick was sacked 52 times during the 2014 NFL regular season, a number the 49ers will have to reduce to find more success this year.
The 49ers quarterback also rushed for a career-high 639 yards in 204, a factor the Pittsburgh Steelers are obviously preparing for, according to linebacker Lawrence Timmons.
“We have to be aware of his speed. He’s definitely a [fast] quarterback. We’ll definitely have to keep him contained. We can’t let him break the pocket and get outside.”
The Steelers were opposed by a much slower quarterback, New England’s Tom Brady, to start their 2015 NFL season with a 28-21 loss. A big component of the Steelers’ preparation for week two is Mike Vick, who has been leading the scout team reps this weekend. Vick, a running quarterback in his own right, knows he’s just the man to help his team prepare for the 49ers’ Kaepernick.
“I don’t have to try to simulate anyone. We’re enough alike that I can just go out there and be myself.”
The Pittsburgh Steelers host the San Francisco 49ers at Heinz Field on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. eastern time. The game will be broadcast by Fox.
[Photo Credit: San Francisco Examiner]