With the concussion suffered by Alex Smith in Sunday’s tie – thanks to Jo-Lonn Dunbar’s vicious hit in the 2nd quarter - an opportunity for Colin Kaepernick to prove his worth just might have presented itself. Assuming Alex Smith isn’t ready to go for Monday nights bout with the Chicago Bears, it’s Kaepernick’s number that will be called, and what better test than this Bears defense.
The second year quarterback from Nevada was thrown into game action last week following a concussion suffered by Smith and played well, all things considered. He got off to a rough start, and was making mistakes that were typical of an inexperienced quarterback. He was missing reads at the line, escaping the pocket before a pass rush had even developed, and had a hard time finding open receivers. He’s got one thing though that most quarterbacks can’t count on to save them from their young mistakes: Getaway speed.
The good news for the 49ers was Kaepernick was able to shake off the cobwebs from riding pine, and seemingly age four years during half time. He was a changed man in the 3rd quarter, and those mistakes that dogged him in the first half disappeared for the most part, and in combination with his speed he became a force to be reckoned with. His numbers weren’t dazzling, but he made the plays he had to, including a spectacular 7 yard run to get Niners within a field goal of tying the upstart Rams. On the 49ers last drive in regulation, he led them downfield and got that field goal. As if that weren’t enough. He also led them downfield in overtime, for what should have been a victory sealing drive. Alas, Akers missed the field goal.
All I can say is, using this very small sample size of Kaepernick’s play, the 49ers might really have something in this kid. He’s fast, mobile, intelligent, and he can certainly throw a football. When he starts to put a little more trust in his offensive line, and let plays develop in front of him before escaping the pocket, he’ll really start doing some damage. Until then, those runs can make up the difference and make things a little more exciting.
Maybe I’m getting a little ahead of myself here, seeing as he didn’t even play a full game - he came close what, with overtime and all. Then again, he was selected only one spot lower than Dalton, which has to say something. I don’t know if he can be as good as Alex Smith, or nearly as reliable, but maybe one day he can give him a run for his money for the starting gig in San Francisco, and it certainly wouldn’t catch me off guard.