Colin Kaepernick & 49ers Super Bowl Bound?
The most talked about quarterback heading into the divisional round of the 2013 playoffs wasn’t Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan or even Aaron Rodgers by NFL pundits, it was 49ers Colin Kaepernick. The second-year quarterback received an opportunity to start after Alex Smith suffered a concussion, and because of his play against the Bears and Saints the youngster was awarded the starting job, mainly because of the upside his skill-set presented.
While Kaepernick has the physical tools to be an elite quarterback in the NFL in the future, the 49ers have an elite defense and running game. With this in mind it only seemed to make sense that San Francisco should stick with Smith, a game managing quarterback who will keep this team on schedule to place your Super Bowl Betting on the team that plays in the city by the Bay.
Packers Come To Town
With the Packers coming to town for the 49ers first playoff game, many in the media pegged Green Bay to win the game because they had last years MVP and former Super Bowl winner Aaron Rodgers at quarterback.
Anyone who watched the game knows how things started out; Kaepernick throwing an interception to Sam Shields and traveled into the end zone. From that point on, the 49ers offense went on to post 45-points as Kaepernick threw for 263-yards and two touchdowns, also running for a playoff record 181-yards on the ground with two more rushing scores.
This was the kind of performance that validated Head Coach Jim Harbaugh’s decision to start his talented yet inexperience quarterback in the middle of the season.
It was the kind of performance that has many fantasy owners drooling about his potential coming into next year and the case has to be made that Kaepernick is worthy of drafting as your starting quarterback in 10-team leagues.
What we do have to keep in mind is his performance against the Packers should be viewed as the top end of his production, especially on the ground. Through his eight starts during the regular-season Kaepernick posted only three games over 50-yards on the ground and his game high on the season was an 84-yard performance against the Rams.
Clearly the Packers were thrown off by the 49ers reinserting the pistol offense ( quarterback lines up in shot gun but lines up in front of the running back, not by his side) for 50 percent of their snaps after practically abandoning this formation in the final two games of the regular season.
This was the offense Kaepernick helped put on the map in his college days in Nevada and should continue to be a formation that gives the Falcons problems this week.
As for the passing game, look no further than No.1 receiver Michael Crabtree as a big reason why Kaepernick is lighting-up teams in the red zone. Over the past two weeks Crabtree has scored 4 touchdowns with 17 receptions and a whooping 291-yards.
If the 49ers are going to make the Super Bowl, we need to see Kaepernick play mistake free football and that can happen (only three interceptions during the regular season), but keep in mind the Falcons have been an opportunistic defense when playing at home. We’ve seen this group shutout the Giants offense, and force five interceptions on Drew Brees during the second half of the season.
Then again, this is the same unit that gave up 385-yards passing and 60-yards on the ground to rookie Russell Wilson last week, so perhaps they tend to struggle against mobile quarterbacks. Just look to the success of Cam Newton against Atlanta this year as another reason to believe in Kaepernick’s ability to excel once again in his second playoff game.
No matter what happens in Atlanta, what we do know is the future appears to be bright for Kaepernick and if he fails to lead his team to the Super Bowl this season, they will remain a contender in future years.