Kaepernick Dazzles in 45-31 Win Over Green Bay
By Hujatullah Bayat
When Colin Kaepernick’s opening drive pass was intercepted by Sam Shields and returned for a touchdown, the stadium was silenced. So early into the game, and everyone watching felt every bit of excitement disappear. We had seen this so many times before playing Green Bay, but for many years, it was Brett Favre who tortured us in the playoffs.
Critics and analysts could have said “I told you so” right there, but the game didn’t really go in that direction. In fact, in the 60 minutes of playing time, the 49ers maintained possession of the ball for 38 minutes. The 49ers produced 579 yards of total offense.
The game statistics was a long list of 49er numbers towering over Packer numbers, but none were as impressive as Kaepernick’s 181 yards on 16 attempts. He set a postseason record for quarterback rushing yards, all the while running for two touchdowns and throwing for another two.
If a (almost) rookie quarterback could wish for a perfect postseason debut, he would want a game like Kaepernick’s on Saturday night. With the whole country watching, Kaepernick dazzled everyone with his strong arm and breathtaking speed.
When he ran for his second touchdown, you could see how fast he really was, as he gained so much separation running past each and every Packer defender. And while his running was magnificent, he passed for 263 yards as well.
It was as if he was virtually unscathed by the interception he had thrown, never letting it affect his performance throughout the rest of the game.
It is hard to imagine that there were other top performers that night. Frank Gore ran for 119 yards on 23 attempts, averaging 5.2 yards a carry. Michael Crabtree seemed close to unstoppable, as he caught 9 receptions for 119 yards, and showed us why there has been so much hype behind him.
In this divisional playoff game, the 49ers showed us how they too are a force to be reckoned with in this league, as they put 45 points up on the board against what many analysts considered a “hot” team, despite their sub-par defense.
More importantly, it set a precedent for our quarterback, something that Alex Smith didn’t have until last season. The confidence that Kaepernick has built for himself continued Saturday night, as he shone on a national stage and showed everyone watching why he was picked as the starter.
In his postgame interview, Kaepernick seemed happy to heap praise on the performance of the rest of his team. “It’s a lot easier on me when other people are making plays,” said Kaepernick, when pressed by a reporter on his own performance. “Our offensive line came out, and they dominated up front, so that makes it easy on a quarterback.”
Sunday’s game will be different, since it will be played in Atlanta against an entirely different team, but fans should be happy that their team has yet again made a National Football Conference championship game appearance for the second year in a row.
Hujatullah Bayat is a third-year dental student.