Stats reveal importance of TE Davis

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – It’s become obvious that the San Francisco 49ers are a different offense and Colin Kaepernick a different quarterback without star tight end Vernon Davis.

Davis missed the Week 3 game against the Colts and the second half this past weekend against the Panthers. The 49ers lost both games. There is no doubt the 49ers need him back if they are to have a chance to win Sunday at New Orleans.

Davis left the Carolina game with a concussion. It is perhaps a good sign he attended two charity events Monday. Davis told reporters Tuesday he feels good and is hopeful to play Sunday. Still, he must pass a league test before being cleared to play.

His quarterback badly needs him. Kaepernick’s QBR this season with Davis on the field is 81.7. Without him it’s 13.1. Kaepernick has completed 61.1 percent of his passes while Davis is on the field. His rate dips to 43.1 percent when Davis is off the field.

This disparity has been consistent throughout Kaepernick’s brief NFL tenure. His career QBR with Davis is 77.7; without him it’s 16.1. His completion percentage with Davis is 62.4; without him it drops to 47.1. (Thanks to ESPN Stats & Information for the figures.)

Davis has caught 78 percent of Kaepernick’s touchdown passes this season. That is the highest percentage by one player in the NFL by a margin of 21 percent.

For those wondering about Kaepernick's and the offense's woes, this is a clear message – the 49ers are a much better offense when Vernon Davis is healthy.