Wow. I didn’t see RGII’s debut game or Cam Newton’s last year, but given the national stage, the playoff implications, and the quality of the opponent, I don’t see how either of those guys could have been better than Colin Kaepernick was Monday night.
The 49ers have had a bit of a Jeckyll and Hyde personality this year, and Monday Jeckyll showed up dressed to the hilt. Aldon Smith made a mockery of Bears right tackle Gabe Carimi, racking up a ridiculous 5.5 sacks. He also tied for second on the team in tackles, 4 of which were behind the line of scrimmage.
The two best defenses in the league were supposed to square off Monday night, but only one showed up. Most observers saw this as a tense 13-10 type of game with lots of ground and pound and Kaepernick merely trying not to fumble or throw interceptions. But Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman decided to come out throwing, the offensive line was outstanding, and Kaepernick was brilliant, showing us every aspect of his skill set that has caused people to drool since he was drafted in 2011. Reading defenses and making good decisions is what ultimately separates good QBs from throwers, however, and CK looked completely in control the entire game.
I admit I did not like our chances in this game at kickoff, but ten quick points in the first quarter kind of soothed my anxiety in a hurry. Ten more in the second quarter and I was in full loving it mode. What a shocking drubbing.
The rest of the league, and especially the northwest corner territory of it, must have felt the earth shudder watching this game. If the Niners play like this in the playoffs, nobody can beat them. Whatever momentum Pete Carroll thought he was gaining in Seattle may have just hit a brick wall.
The Bears obviously had no clue what was happening to them. They came out prepared to stop Frank Gore and clearly assumed CK would make rookie mistakes they could capitalize on. Their pass rush was non-existent and they were more concerned about CK’s running than his passing. We did not get to see how CK would function when under duress. Upcoming opponents will not make the same mistake and we may yet see the error-prone rookie we would not have been surprised to see Monday night.
Still, it’s not possible to play QB any better than CK did. The entire 49er locker room was just as amazed as were we fans. Long time Alex Smith supporter Vernon Davis was openly gushing. Harbaugh made no effort to dilute the idea that CK had seized control from Smith and it was now his job to lose.
Normally, this kind of situation involving two top notch QBs would spark a controversy. That would only be the case now if Smith remains the starter. The long running animosity and doubt toward Smith would make the 49er fan world rush to accept CK as the new 49er QB. Whether Harbaugh views it that way, or not, remains to be seen. And discussed.
Simply put, though, CK brings more skill and dangerousness to the position than Smith can ever offer. CK would have to puke away some winnable games for anyone to doubt he’s ready to take the reins for good. The long running saga of Alex Smith versus the Werewolves may have quite suddenly and spectacularly gone out of business.
It’s an exciting time for 49er fans. If CK is for real, this offense can go toe to toe with any high-powered machine in the league. And it just so happens, this scenario will be occurring next Sunday when the 49ers travel to New Orleans.