GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Colin Kaepernick endured the worst start of his career. Period.
The San Francisco 49ers quarterback threw a career-high four interceptions, with the first two going back for touchdowns that put the Niners in an early hole. He's the first Niners QB to throw a pair of pick-sixes in a game since Steve DeBerg did it in Week 5 of the 1980 season against the Los Angeles Rams.
What it means: The Niners are 1-2 and sinking fast. That feel-good 20-3 season-opening victory over Minnesota seems so long ago. Then again, it did go down at Levi’s Stadium, which is where the Niners play next. So that should give them some good vibes heading forward. Right? RIGHT?!? Alas, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers await. In the NFC West, the Cardinals appear to be the class of the division through three games, while St. Louis and Seattle are both, like the Niners, 1-2. The Niners, though, have been outscored by a combined 90-25 the past two games.
What were they thinking? Sure, Kaepernick’s interceptions on the Niners’ first two series put them in an early 14-0 hole, but it was as if offensive coordinator Geep Chryst threw in the towel at that point. After Kaepernick’s second interception, the Niners went 14 plays before Kaepernick threw another pass. By that point, it was 28-0.
One reason to get excited: Jarryd Hayne returned a punt 37 yards in the second quarter, nearly taking it to the house down the right sideline. His big return set up the Niners’ lone score, a Kaepernick zone-read run to the left for a 12-yard touchdown to make it 28-7. And no, the Niners QB did not kiss the bicep in celebration.
One reason to panic: All that offseason work Kaepernick put in this offseason, here in Arizona, with Kurt Warner, what happened to that? Truly, though, the offensive line did Kaepernick no favors, either.
Fantasy watch: Say this for Carlos Hyde, he ran hard, even when the game became a farce. He finished with 51 yards on 15 carries.
Ouch: Tight end Vernon Davis, who has again been an invisible man in the Niners offense, left the game in the third quarter with what was described as a knee injury.
Making his mark: The record book will show that Niners first-round draft pick Arik Armstead got his first career sack in the third quarter, taking down Carson Palmer for the Cardinals quarterback’s first sack of the season.