Kaepernick returns, continues to fight on and off the field

Kaepernick returns, continues to fight on and off the field

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Whether it was on or off the field, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick experienced some good with a lot of bad on Sunday in his return to the starting lineup.

The 49ers and Kaepernick had some success in the first half before crumbling as the game wore on in a 45-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills. It was the 49ers’ fifth consecutive loss.

“I thought it was OK,” 49ers coach Chip Kelly said in evaluating Kaepernick’s performance. “There were some positives that you can really build on that I thought he did.

“We got to be better overall on offense. It’s not just the quarterback. It’s everybody on the offensive side of the ball. I thought he really made some plays with his legs today.”

Kaepernick’s stat line was pedestrian. He completed just 13 of 29 pass attempts for 187 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. He was sacked three times. He also gained a team-high 66 yards rushing on eight attempts.

Kaepernick appears certain to remain as the starting quarterback for at least a while after Blaine Gabbert started five games. But when asked if Kaepernick would start next week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kelly answered, “Yeah, we’ll see.”

Just like Gabbert who regularly misfired on big-play chances to open receivers, Kaepernick missed an opportunity for a big play on the 49ers’ first possession when he overshot wide receiver Torrey Smith on a deep post pattern. Instead of a touchdown, the 49ers were forced to punt.

“That would’ve been big to come out that way and give us that lead and being able to play from there,” Kaepernick said. “(It) might’ve been a little juice being out there and having that opportunity. Saw the coverage and knew we had it and let it fly a little too long.”

Kaepernick later found Smith on a 53-yard touchdown pass – a throw that appeared to get held up in the 22-mph wind. The underthrown pass forced Smith to stop to make the catch. Smith had to restart his engine and cut across the field to make it into the end zone.

Kaepernick generated a lot of pregame attention for his demonstration to bring attention to racial inequalities in the United States. Kaepernick, Eric Reid and Eli Harold took a knee on the sideline during the playing of the national anthem to continue to the protest.

“I had some Bills fans come up before the game and say they support me,” said Kaepernick, who wore a shirt that paid homage to the late Muhammad Ali. “I think it all depends on who the person is. At the end of the day, I’m going to continue to fight what I’m fighting for.”

Shortly before the national anthem, a loud chant of “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” broke out in the stadium – seemingly directed at Kaepernick, whom some believe is taking an anti-American position. But Kaepernick said he believes there is nothing more American than his peaceful protest designed to help those who are less fortunate than him.

“I don’t understand what’s un-American about fighting for liberty and justice for everybody, for the equality that this country says it stands for,” Kaepernick said. “To me, I see it as very patriotic and American to uphold the United States to the standards it says it lives by. It’s something that needs to be addressed.”

The anti-Kaepernick expressions continued while he was on the sideline, his teammate Quinton Patton said.

“It’s a lot of negative and a lot of harsh stuff coming toward Kap on the sideline and everybody doesn’t know that,” Patton said. “He’s getting all the heat from everybody and anybody. You got to be a strong individual.

“I’ve heard A to Z out there.”

Although no members of the Buffalo Bills have joined in the protest during the national anthem, Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin approached Kaepernick after the game to request a jersey swap. Goodwin represented the U.S. as a long-jumper in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

NFL Draft 2019: 49ers pick Nick Bosa at No. 2 to bolster pass rush

NFL Draft 2019: 49ers pick Nick Bosa at No. 2 to bolster pass rush

The 49ers got their guy.

With the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, San Francisco selected Ohio State edge rusher Nick Bosa.

"It's a new journey," Bosa told ESPN's Suzy Kolber shortly after the 49ers selected him. "I'm so excited to finally be back on a team. Can't wait to get to work. But this is all the work I've put in since I was seven years old and it's finally here."

Bosa will join his new teammates on the field for the 49ers' rookie minicamp May 3 through May 5, and he can't wait to get started.

"I want to get with my team, and I want to kick some butt on the field," Bosa told Kolber. "I'm so excited to go to work."

Here's the full breakdown on Bosa.

Nick Bosa

Position: Defensive end
College: Ohio State
Height: 6-4
Weight: 266
Selection: First round (No. 2 overall)

Scouting report

Bosa has a unique blend of lower-body strength, agility, balance and tenacity. He is a technician who has been studying the game, and, specifically, the art of pass-rushing, from an early age. His dad, John Bosa, and uncle, Eric Kumerow, were first-round draft picks of the Miami Dolphins in back-to-back years. His older brother, Joey, was the No. 3 overall pick of the Chargers in 2016. His measurables compare favorably to his brother. Nick Bosa ran a 4.79 in the 40 and had 29 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press.

“Nick will succeed in any defense he is placed into. He can win on the edge, he can likely win inside when set up to maximize one on one matchups,” said draft expert Josh Norris of Rotoworld and NBC Sports in his evaluation.

Bosa recorded 8.5 sacks as a sophomore and was primed for a big junior year. But he sustained a bilateral core muscle injury in the third game of the season – after recording four sacks up to that point -- and underwent season-ending surgery. He is completely recovered and took part in the full workout at the combine in February.

Projected role

The 49ers entered the offseason with a major need at edge rusher after a season in which Cassius Marsh and Ronald Blair managed just 5.5 sacks apiece. The club acquired Dee Ford in a trade with Kansas City, and Marsh was released.

Now, Bosa is added to provide an upgrade on the other side. Bosa will certainly be deployed as a nickel pass rusher from Day 1. He has the strength and leverage to be very good against the run. Bosa could help the 49ers accomplish GM John Lynch’s goal of putting together a “dominant” defensive line.

Bosa becomes the fourth defensive lineman the 49ers have chosen with a first-round pick since 2015, joining Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas.

What they’re saying

“I’m somebody that loves the game more than anybody. I’m going to come in and I’m going to work every day, every practice trying to find new things to better myself. If you do draft me, then you’ll have somebody who’s going to improve throughout my entire career” – Nick Bosa on what NFL teams should know about him.

“He has a very strong lower body. He’s got great balance, like a wrestler. He can stay on his feet. I think what makes him different” – Larry Johnson, Ohio State defensive line coach.

[RELATED: The Choice -- Football is in Nick Bosa's blood]

“He’s a great teammate. He’s always pushing the younger guys. He’s a very high competitor. Sometimes our coaches had to pull him back because of how hard he goes” – Ohio State wide receiver Terry McLaurin, a two-time team captain.

“I just love them, the culture. It seems like the kind of culture I’d like to be in. It was just a really good visit. It just seems like a family. Every coach that I talked to when they were away from coach (Kyle) Shanahan just talked up how player-friendly he is and how he’s just a regular guy, but when it’s time to go to work, he goes to work. Playing for somebody like that would be really cool” -- Bosa on the time he has spent with the 49ers during the draft process.

NFL draft tracker 2019: First-round pick, trade updates as they happen

NFL draft tracker 2019: First-round pick, trade updates as they happen

The 2019 NFL Draft is underway in Nashville, Tenn., and the Bay Area's two teams should be in the center of the action.

The 49ers selected Ohio State edge rusher Nick Bosa with the No. 2 pick. The Raiders took Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 pick.

Oakland also owns the Nos. 24 and 27 picks -- meaning they have many options that could decide where the top prospects fall.

[RELATED: Follow latest draft news, trade talk during Round 1]

It promises to be an interesting slate of 32 picks made in the Music City, and you can follow live as each selection is made in the 2019 NFL Draft tracker below:

1. Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

2. San Francisco 49ers
Nick Bosa, edge rusher, Ohio State

3. New York Jets
Quinnen Williams, defensive tackle, Alabama

4. Oakland Raiders
Clelin Ferrell, defensive end, Clemson

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Devin White, linebacker, LSU

6. New York Giants
Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

7. Jacksonville Jaguars
8. Detroit Lions
9. Buffalo Bills
10. Denver Broncos
11. Cincinnati Bengals
12. Green Bay Packers
13. Miami Dolphins
14. Atlanta Falcons
15. Washington Redskins
16. Carolina Panthers
17. New York Giants (from Cleveland Browns in Odell Beckham Jr. trade)
18. Minnesota Vikings
19. Tennessee Titans
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
21. Seattle Seahawks
22. Baltimore Ravens
23. Houston Texans
24. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago Bears in Khalil Mack trade)
25. Philadelphia Eagles
26. Indianapolis Colts
27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas Cowboys in Amari Cooper trade)
28. Los Angeles Chargers
29. Seattle Seahawks (from Kansas City Chiefs in Frank Clark trade)
30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans Saints in 2018 draft-day trade)
31. Los Angeles Rams
32. New England Patriots