On the 49ers’ final offensive play Sunday Night — the fourth-and-nine from the Bears’ 17-yard line, the incomplete pass intended for Michael Crabtree, the loud thud on the end zone grass — Colin Kaepernick claimed the Bears’ defense was in Cover 3. His exact words were, “They had Cover 3, we got the look we wanted, we just have to make that play.”
The Bears were not in Cover 3. The Bears were in Cover 1.
If it was Cover 3, Bears’ cornerback Tim Jennings would not have been on Michael Crabtree’s shoulder squeezing the In route. If it was Cover 3, Kaepernick’s pass to Crabtree would have traveled into a seam between Jennings and the free safety, Danny McCray.
Cover 1 initially can look like Cover 3 — the coverage Kaepernick thought he saw. An experienced quarterback can tell the difference when he sees the linebackers chasing the running backs out of the backfield and the strong safety chasing the tight end.
That’s Cover 1.