49ers TE Davis happy to have 'Kappy' feeding him

October 14, 2013 

  • ABOUT THE REPORTER
    alternate textRon Agostini
    Title: Staff writer
    Coverage areas: Sports
    Bio: Ron Agostini has served as a sports reporter and columnist for The Bee for more than 35 years. His stories and columns have won state-wide, regional and national awards and he's a board director and past president of the California Golf Writers and Broadcasters Association. He's a graduate of Fresno State.
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— We’ll just assume Colin Kaepernick and Vernon Davis are getting along quite nicely, thank you.

They’re clicking on the field, they’re smiling off the field, and — as one of the NFL’s newest group entries — they’re tag-teaming opposing defenses senseless.

Another thing: Davis has assigned Kaepernick a nickname. You don’t reach that far with mere acquaintances.

“I call him Kappy. I call him that everyday,” Davis said. “I don’t know if he likes it, but he’s going to have to accept it.”

Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback by way of Turlock, surely doesn’t mind. Knowing him, he’ll tolerate any moniker if it means his team is successful. As he said Sunday after the 49ers’ 32-20 win over Arizona, “As long as it comes down to a win, that’s a good script to me.”

Right now, the quarterback and the tight end have established something special. Kaepernick targeted Davis 11 times and connected with him on eight for 120 yards and two touchdowns. The TD connections of 61 and 35 yards displayed QB and receiver at their best — Kaepernick with his precision arm downfield and Davis with his speed and hands.

What Davis is, of course, is a mismatch, a 250-pound target who can step off a 4.3. He’s evolved from under-achieving talent — remember former coach Mike Singletary running him off the field? — to bona fide NFL weapon.

More important, Kaepernick needs everything that Davis offers until receivers Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree return. On this day with Anquan Boldin shadowed by first-class corner Patrick Peterson, Kaepernick sought different options.

He found a huge one in Davis — again.

Last week, they hooked up for a game-breaking 64-yard touchdown to beat Houston. More of the same followed against the Cardinals, who packed an extra defender in the box and dared the 49ers to beat them overhead.

Davis became the first NFL tight end since 1969 to gather touchdown passes of at least 60 yards in back-to-back weeks. A qualifier: Davis is more hybrid than tight end, given his unique skill-set.

But when you feel invincible on the field, as Davis did against the Cardinals, all things are possible.

“When you’re in the zone, it’s like you’re on a high and you can’t come down. It’s a beautiful thing,” he said. “It’s about being on the same page and having that chemistry with your quarterback.”

Better still, Kaepernick maximized Davis. On the 61-yarder, Kaepernick noticed the Arizona offside penalty and cashed in on the free play with his bullet over the deep-middle to Davis.

The receiver doesn’t lose many races to the goal line, and corner Jerraud Powers had no chance.

The 35-yarder even elicited a few oohs and ahhs from the press box, such was the perfection of the throw and the reception. Kaepernick put some touch on the ball that seemingly dropped down a chimney before it nestled into Davis’ outstretched fingertips. The pylon was nearby. So was safety Yeremiah Bell. The play was just too good. Even Davis labeled the leaping catch as difficult.

“Vernon is open most of the time. So, the more we get the ball in his hands, the more we let him use his speed, the better,” Kaepernick said. “When he plays like this, he doesn’t have to say anything. Everybody on the team feels it. I know it, the coaches know it. We’ve got to put the ball in his hands.”

Kaepernick followed two games without a turnover to two of them against Arizona — a sack-fumble and a tipped pass for a interception on the goal line. “I think it was a touchdown if it didn’t get tipped,” he said. “That’s my fault. I have to find a throwing lane.”

His day, spectacular though uneven, was stocked with one 17-yard scramble and 16 completions in 29 attempts for 252 yards. Those are soothing numbers for a QB and an offense ranked 31st in the league in passing.

The 49er Faithful exited with two memories — those gorgeous passes to Davis and the 18-play 9:32-minute grinder of a drive that sealed the game. The 49ers’ lead was a precarious 22-20 when they decided to get nasty.

Harbaugh likened it to “grinding meat.” Kaepernick broke it down to simply winning, in this case, three straight (4-2). “Yeah, that was what was said in the huddle (about seeking a time-consuming drive),” he said. “We have to go down and score right now.”

Kaepernick will do anything legal to win the day. Whatever vaults him toward that goal is in play. Even calling him Kappy.

Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at ragostini@modbee.com or (209) 578-2302. Follow Ron via Twitter, @modbeesports

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