Controversial quarterback Colin Kaepernick makes his first start in nearly a year as the San Francisco 49ers attempt to halt their string of four consecutive losses when they visit the streaking Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Kaepernick, who has become more notable for his protest of the national anthem than his ability on the field, will start for the first time since a setback against the then-St. Louis Rams on Nov. 1 as he replaces Blaine Gabbert under center.
The 28-year-old Kaepernick, who helped guide San Francisco to Super Bowl XLVII, was unable to compete for the starting job during training camp due to offseason surgeries on his knee, shoulder and thumb. The 49ers, who have allowed at least 33 points three times during their slide after opening the season with a shutout victory over Los Angeles, are running into a Buffalo team that is riding a three-game winning streak during which it has yielded fewer than 20 points in each contest. The Bills have scored 30 or more points twice on their run, which began after the firing of offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Buffalo is seeking its first string of four straight victories since opening the 2008 season at 4-0.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Bills -9. O/U: 44
ABOUT THE 49ERS (1-4): The change at quarterback is a necessary one, as Gabbert ranks near the bottom of the league in both yards per attempt (5.9) and quarterback rating (69.6). Kaepernick likely will look often in the direction of Jeremy Kerley, who has hauled in a touchdown pass in each of the last two games. Despite its record, San Francisco has a potent threat on the ground in Carlos Hyde, who entered Week 6 tied with San Diego's Melvin Gordon for the NFL lead with six rushing touchdowns.
ABOUT THE BILLS (3-2): New offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn appears to have rejuvenated Buffalo's ground game, as the team have averaged 178.3 rushing yards during its winning streak after gaining 75.5 per contest in back-to-back losses to open the campaign. LeSean McCoy was a big factor in last week's triumph over the Rams, rushing for 150 yards to raise his season average to 5.3 per carry. Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander leads the league with seven sacks and needs three against the 49ers to match Denver's Elvis Dumervil (2009) for the most through the first six weeks of a season since 2001.
1. Bills DT Marcell Dareus' season debut may not take place Sunday as the former Pro Bowler is questionable with a hamstring injury.
2. San Francisco ranks 31st in rushing defense after allowing 146.8 yards per game.
3. Buffalo CB Nickell Robey-Coleman was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week after making a pair of interceptions against Los Angeles - including one for a touchdown to snap a third-quarter tie.
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- IllnessI-R | I-R
O'Leary is on the Injured Reserve/Non-Football Illness list due to an illness. He is likely to miss the entire 2020 season.