Too many timeouts for Kaepernick-led offense

December 10, 2012, 3:00 pm
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SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers burned four timeouts on Sunday on offense to prevent delay-of-game penalties.

It's an area in which coach Jim Harbaugh said quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and the entire 49ers' offense, must improve. Harbaugh said the play calls and personnel groupings were getting to the huddle in plenty of time, but the calls in the huddle and the tempo to the line of scrimmage were lacking.

"It's his responsibility," Harbaugh said Monday. "It's everybody's responsbility. The tempo of how you operation has to be better. We need to get better at that."

Harbaugh stood near the closest official on the 49ers' sideline and called timeouts on each occasion as the play clock ticked down. Kaepernick, making his fourth NFL start, is expected to make those decisions himself.

"He needs to be aware of that and operate it and run it," Harbaugh said.

However, Harbaugh was pleased at how Kaepernick performed his other duties. Kaepernick completed 18 of 23 passes for 185 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions in the 49ers' 27-13 victory over the Miami Dolphins.

"He's operating the offense, getting us in the right plays, executing," Harbaugh said. "For a guy who's only started four games now, he's doing it at a very high level."

Kaepernick said afterward that the one throw he wishes he had back was a corner route to Michael Crabtree in the second quarter. A well-thrown pass could have resulted in a touchdown. The 49ers settled for a field goal.

Kaepernick's best pass of the game might have been his throw to wide receiver Randy Moss on a flea-flicker. Dolphins cornerback RJ Stanford had ahold of Moss' right arm, preventing Moss from using both hands to catch what could've been a 47-yard touchdown.

Harbaugh was careful not to complain about the officiating when asked whether Moss should have made the catch.

"Uh, yeah, that would've been a . . . it was a great throw," Harbaugh said. "He (Moss) had some adversity trying to make that catch. There was some adversity involved there."

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Receiver A.J. Jenkins and running back LaMichael James, the 49ers' top two draft picks, made their season debuts. Jenkins played eight snaps and did not have any passes thrown his way. James was in on 15 offensive plays. He gained 30 yards on eight carries, and he caught a 15-yard pass.

Harbaugh said both executed their assignments very well.

"Both LaMichael (and) A.J. did good in that regard," Harbaugh said. "LaMichael got those touches, and thought he made a real good contribution both in the kickoff-return game and offensively.

"(Jenkins) had a real nice block on (Frank Gore's) draw play that nearly scored. Ran a route and didn't get the ball, but ran right past his man, which was positive. Assignment-wise, pretty well."