Here are five points that sum up last night’s NFC playoff game.
- We found out what Colin Kaepernick is made of.
I’m not even talking about the record-setting 181 rushing yard performance. Starting in your first playoff game has to be nerve-wracking enough, and when it begins with a pick-six, that definitely has to do a number on your confidence. The second-year quarterback wasn’t fazed, though, and he rebounded to outplay Aaron Rodgers.
- The 49ers can still get to the QB.
A banged-up Justin Smith didn’t slow the 49ers down, as they were able to disrupt Rodgers all night long. The first half was tight, but in the second the 49ers defense stepped up and made plays. Harbaugh and the coaching staff adjusted to the Green Bay offense and amassed turnovers, sacks, and other mistakes from the Packers’ O.
- The Packers could use an electric running back.
DuJuan Harris was commended for his fill-in play, and rightly so. The 11-53 stat line isn’t overly impressive, but he managed to play better than the other runners who have filled in for the injured Cedric Benson. Benson appears to still have some gas left in the tank, so I am not suggesting an outright replacement. That being said, with all their firepower at the receiver position, Green Bay would greatly benefit from a quick Darren Sproles-like running back lining up in the backfield.
- Michael Crabtree is Emerging
In his fourth season, Michael Crabtree is finally coming into his own. He has been a solid receiver for the past two years, but Colin Kaepernick found instant chemistry with him and has elevated the receiver’s game. Crabtree isn’t just benefitting from a QB who happens to like him; he’s been making great plays with his hands and feet for weeks. Last offseason San Francisco was evidently disappointed with their receiver production and signed Randy Moss and Mario Manningham as a result. Crabtree has been producing at the level that earned him a top-ten draft pick, and his emergence is taking the San Francisco offense to the next level.
- Colin Kaepernick is on his way to becoming a superstar
Not trying to slurp the Kaepernick Kool-Aid like everyone else, but this guy is the real deal. Sure, defenses will learn to prepare for him, but his skillset is lethal. When he needs to squeeze it in there, Kaepernick’s fastball rivals that of top-tier NFL QBs. His touch passes down the field, such as the one to Vernon Davis, are a thing of beauty. When you combine that with breakaway speed that is all part of a kid who has an unquestionable work ethic and doesn’t seem to have a huge ego, we are looking at a star.