SANTA CLARA (AP) — No need to remind Colin Kaepernick of the numbers.
He knows how bad he has been more often than not against the archrival Seahawks — as in three touchdown passes to nine interceptions and 18 sacks in six starts — and certainly could use a good game facing Seattle and that menacing secondary starring Richard Sherman.
“They’re a good defense. I’m not going to take credit away from them and what they’ve been able to do,” Kaepernick said Tuesday while preparing for Seattle’s visit Thursday night. “I do have to go out and I have to perform better.”
Kaepernick is 1-5 against Seattle with a 53.3 percent completion rate and 54.1 passer rating. Against everybody else, including in the postseason, he’s 30-15, completing 60.9 percent of his throws for 60 touchdowns to 22 picks and a 94.0 quarterback rating.
Yet the 49ers like what they have been seeing from Kaepernick the past two games, especially in Sunday’s 25-20 victory against Baltimore that snapped a four-game losing streak. He has gone two games without an interception after throwing five in the previous two contests.
Kaepernick threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns against the Ravens with a 76-yard touchdown throw to Torrey Smith as San Francisco opened up the field and found a rare offensive rhythm. Smith had three catches for 96 yards and Anquan Boldin made five for 102.
“His game has spoken for itself,” running back and return man Jarryd Hayne said of Kaepernick. “Probably the biggest thing, like any signal caller, they put a lot of pressure on themselves with worries into making great plays. Everyone around us, the first couple weeks wasn’t too great. Everyone just dug in deep. We’ve been training solid all year. It’s great seeing Kap playing well and making those big plays. It gets us pumped on the sideline.”
Working regularly from under center rather than in the shotgun formation, Kaepernick has seemed to thrive and return to his old playmaking self while making better decisions. An improving offensive line helps to give him more time.
“We don’t have a pitch count,” offensive coordinator Geep Chryst said of when the QB is under center. “He’s such a good athlete with his feet. He’s improved so much. When we came here in 2011, he had nothing but being in the pistol. ... It puts any quarterback under rhythm and has a chance to look at the defense for the entire time.”
Kaepernick will be under pressure regularly against Seattle’s smothering defense, even if that unit has been scrutinized for not playing up to snuff so far.
“I see a lot of maturity. The offense is changing, he has a lot more put on his shoulders and has had to pass the ball a little more,” Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett said. “He’s still good at throwing the deep balls, he’s still active on the third down rushing. He’s still good at all those little things he always does.”
Bennett hopes to add a couple more sacks to Kaepernick’s total in this rivalry.
“I don’t think any quarterback likes to get sacked,” Bennett said. “They usually hate it.”