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QB Blaine Gabbert - San Francisco 49ers

6-4, 234Born: 10-15-1989College: MissouriDrafted: Round 1, pick 10

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Photo: Kyle Terada, US Presswire

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Recent Stats and Projections

17 vs LA 82 28 44 354 1 1 7 7 0 0 19.4

Recent Game Summaries

2015 Week 17 vs LA (28 / 44 / 354 / 1 / 1 pass, 7 / 7 / 0 rush)

Wait a second: Gabbert threw for over 350 yards in this game? Girl, you know it's true. The thing is that 244 of those yards came on only eight pass plays, and five of those eight were successful for reasons other than Gabbert himself. Example No. 1: On his 33-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin, the defender fell down at the top of the route. Example No. 2: Quinton Patton's 33-yard catch and run in overtime was the result of a negative-2-yard catch, and a 35-yard run. Example No. 3: DuJuan Harris' 31-yard reception came on a screen pass. Example No. 4: Torrey Smith's 31-yard reception doesn't happen unless cornerback Janoris Jenkins slips on the turf in coverage. Example No. 5: Gabbert's overtime pass to Vance McDonald resulted in a 24-yard gain thanks to 24 yards of run-after-the-catch. All in all, that's 154 passing yards of which Gabbert had zero to minimal influence. He threw for 354 against the Rams, so this math leaves 200 yards outstanding. And yes, Gabbert gets credit for manufacturing most, if not all, of it. That includes perhaps the signature play of the 49ers' season: Gabbert's desperation heave to Boldin for 27 yards after narrowly -- miraculously, even! -- escaping the Rams' pass rush with two minutes left in fourth quarter.

2015 Week 16 vs DET (22 / 33 / 225 / 2 / 0 pass, 1 / 9 / 0 rush)

The 102.2 passer rating looks good, but this was another typical Gabbert performance with the 49ers: Short passes galore, but inexplicable inaccuracy on some of them; and dealing well with pressure up to a point, but getting happy feet and seeing ghosts after that point. For every picture-perfect, second-quarter throw to Vance McDonald in stride, there's a dumpoff to Bruce Miller on the next drive that's well wide of the mark. For every 9-yard scramble that makes something out of nothing, there's a premature scramble in the face of phantom pressure that makes nothing out of something. For every deep dime to Bruce Ellington, there's a deep whatever-the-opposite-of-a-dime-is to Quinton Patton. These inconsistencies are why we get confusing results like Gabbert throwing for 8.8 yards per attempt while the game was close (14/21/185/2/0), but only 3.3 yards per attempt (8/12/40/0/0) against Detroit's prevent defense. They're also why Gabbert's the definition of a low-ceiling quarterback.

2015 Week 15 vs CIN (30 / 50 / 295 / 1 / 3 pass, 2 / 10 / 0 rush)

This game was yet another instance of Gabbert's stats -- both good and bad -- not being a true reflection of his performance. Regarding his three interceptions, none were his fault. The first two resulted from Vance McDonald's hands turning to the dark side. The third came in a situation where Gabbert correctly erred on the side of aggression down 10 points late in the fourth quarter, but Jerome Simpson erred on the side of passivity, allowing safety Shawn Williams to steal a touchdown away from him as he waited for the ball rather than attacking it. Regarding the four sacks he took and the constant pressure he faced, Gabbert was yet again the victim of awful pass protection, especially by linemen who have been thrust into outsized duty because of injury. All of that said, 295 yards, a touchdown pass, and a 60.0% completion percentage sound better than they actually look on film. Gabbert missed badly on several short throws, his touchdown pass was due to failed coverage, and over 80 percent of his yards came when Cincinnati's defense was in "prevent mode" (i.e., in 3rd-and-long, protecting a 2-score lead, or both).

2015 Week 14 vs CLE (18 / 28 / 194 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 19 / 0 rush)

Gabbert's poor performance was portended on San Francisco's first drive of the game. On first down, he threw behind an open Quinton Patton on a quick slant. On second down, he scrambled after play action produced no one open, but inexplicably ran out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage rather than throwing the ball away. And on third down, he overthrew Patton on a 15-yard out route. Midway through the second quarter, Gabbert's Jaguars-era happy feet returned, and it was downfill from there. He took two more sacks of the "leisurely trot out of bounds behind the line" variety, missed Shaun Draughn on a wide-open dumpoff, and prevented Draughn from gaining any yards after the catch on another wide-open dumpoff by throwing it at his knees. The only thing that mitigates Gabbert's awfulness against the Browns was that his teammates did him no favors: 1) His offensive line blew blocks in pass protection with regularity; 2) Bruce Ellington dropped a wide-open deep out in the first quarter that would have resulted in first down inside the Browns' 20-yard line; 3) Jerome Simpson failed to adjust his route on a third-down blitz, thereby ending another drive just outside the red zone; and 4) a 35-yard completion to Patton was nullified due to Patton's own illegal motion penalty.

2015 Week 13 vs CHI (18 / 32 / 196 / 1 / 0 pass, 6 / 75 / 1 rush)

Gabbert produced the play of the season for San Francisco by making the throw of the season, a 44-yard rainbow strike to Torrey Smith, who ran the final 27 yards for a game-winning touchdown in overtime. But here's the thing: Prior to that throw, Gabbert had completed only 17 of 31 passes for only 125 yards, which translates to only 4.03 yards per attempt. And factoring the four sacks for -26 yards that he had taken to that point, Gabbert's net yards per attempt before the last play was only 2.83. In short, if all you saw from this game was the final highlight, you'd never realize this was actually a vintage Blaine Gabbert performance -- at least as a passer. Where he continued to show improvement over his Jaguars-era form was with respect to his newfound ability to escape pressure and salvage plays when the protection breaks down. This produced his game-tying, 44-yard touchdown run near the end of regulation, along with 31 yards on five other scrambles. More importantly, it also produced several pass plays that had no business gaining positive yardage given Chicago's pressure. Two such plays were a 5-yard completion despite defensive end Jarvis Jenkins having him dead to rights for a sack, and a dumpoff to Shaun Draughn for 26 yards just as he was getting hit by nose tackle Eddie Goldman.

2015 Week 12 vs ARI (25 / 36 / 318 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / 11 / 0 rush)

Gabbert had a very similar game to last week's surprisingly-not-awful performance at Seattle, so this is now two weeks in a row -- against above-average pass defenses, no less -- that Gabbert's shown the offense he leads won't crawl into a hole and die when the team is behind. That said, "erratic" is a good way to describe the details. He threaded needles on some passes (mainly to Boldin), but missed wildly on others (mainly to Patton). He showed a willingness to throw deep, but also threw checkdowns (at least) four times on 3rd-and-long. Perhaps the only thing Gabbert did that was consistent from start to finish was deftly avoiding an immense amount of pressure in the pocket. On several occasions, he even turned that pressure into big plays by rolling out to his right, and then throwing back left.

2015 Week 11 vs SEA (22 / 34 / 264 / 1 / 0 pass, 4 / 22 / 0 rush)

On the heels of what Arizona did to Seattle's pass defense last week, Gabbert's performance -- at least in terms of yardage -- is more further indication that the Seahawks are in a funk than it is an indication that going to Gabbert was the correct decision by San Francisco's coaches. That said, Gabbert did aa least four things better than the Colin Kaepernick of recent vintage. First, despite being the victim of relentless pressure from Seattle's pass rush, Gabbert only took two sacks and turned disasters into big gains on several occassions. Second, and somewhat relatedly, although Gabbert's deep accuracy was comically bad at times, he showed a willingness to push the ball downfield when the opportunity arose. Indeed, 97 of his 264 passing yards came on throws that traveled at least 15 yards in the air, including San Francisco's two longest gains of the game. Third, on a 36-yard completion to Vance McDonald in the third quarter, part of the reason why McDonald was so wide open down the left sideline was because Gabbert held the safety by initially fixing his gaze to the right side. Finally, and most importantly going forward, Gabbert showed that his 49ers offense won't become completely non-functional if the team gets down big early.

2015 Week 9 vs ATL (15 / 25 / 185 / 2 / 2 pass, 8 / 32 / 0 rush)

Regarding Gabbert's performance, a certain off-color line from a certain car-cleaning scene in a certain Tarantino movie comes to mind. Did he do his job effectively? Yes. Should we be overly congratulatory? Based on the favorable game script and Atlanta's toothless pass rush, the answer is no. There was nothing that Gabbert did that Colin Kaepernick couldn't have done -- and hasn't already previously done -- in the same circumstance, right down to the scrambling; well, except for one thing. There were several plays, including his 11-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Celek, in which Gabbert made an anticipatory throw that Kaepernick likely wouldn't have made. In short, there were several instances where Gabbert did a much better job of trusting the play and trusting his receivers than the 2015 version of Kaepernick exhibited. Still, it's no secret that Gabbert's weakness has always been epic failure under pocket pressure. In this game, he faced hardly any of it. The true test of any Gabbert-rises-from-the-ashes mythos will come when he faces stronger pass-rushing opponents in the future (e.g., at Seattle after the bye).


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