After some lighthearted protests and ribbing from his teammates left the 25-year-old quarterback chuckling quietly, Kaepernick turned stone-faced serious when questioned about San Francisco’s passing game.
A season-opening win against Green Bay in which he threw for more than 400 yards and three touchdowns was supposed to have raised the bar for Kaepernick.
Instead it’s turned out to be the high-water mark, and the 36th overall pick in 2011 has had a difficult time getting back to that point.
On the flip side, the 49ers have won three of four since defeating the Packers and they’ve done it behind a resurgent running game that has made passing the ball almost an afterthought in recent weeks.
“The only stat I really care about is whether we won or not,” Kaepernick said Wednesday. “I’m happy with wins, consecutive wins. That’s the biggest thing for us. As long as we’re winning, that’s all that matters.”
That hasn’t stopped the critics, who point to Kaepernick’s increasing low passing totals over the past month.
He has passed for more than 150 yards just once in the past four games.
Against Houston last week, Kaepernick threw seven consecutive incompletions during one stretch and finished with a 40.0 percent completion rate that is the lowest of any of the 12 games he’s started since replacing Alex Smith as San Francisco’s starter a year ago.
The 49ers entered the week 31st in total passing while Kaepernick had the fifth-lowest completion percentage among all starting quarterbacks.
A successful running game led by Frank Gore is partially to blame. Kaepernick threw just 15 times last week against Houston while San Francisco piled up nearly 200 yards on the ground. Opponents have also geared up more to stop San Francisco’s passing game while at the same time trying to keep Kaepernick from escaping the pocket.
“Defenses are going to change every time we see them,” Kaepernick said. “They’re going to have new wrinkles so it’s just something you have to be ready for.”
Since his big game against Green Bay, Kaepernick has thrown more interceptions (four) than touchdowns (three). He’s completed more than 13 passes just once in the past four games, and more than half of his passing yardage against Houston came on a 64-yard completion to tight end Vernon Davis.
49ers vs. Cardinals
WHEN: Sunday, 1:25 p.m.
WHERE: Candlestick Park
TV: Fox (KTVU, Ch. 2)
RADIO: KNBR (680 AM), KSAN (107.7 FM)