From the way Colin Kaepernick played tonight in front a nationwide audience on Monday Night Football against a dominant Chicago Bears‘ team, you honestly could not tell that he was making his first career start in the NFL.
Starting in place of Alex Smith, who was sidelined with a concussion, Kaepernick finished 16/23 on pass attempts for 243 yards with a solid quarterback rating of 97.5, leading the 49ers to a 32-7 victory.
”It’s everything I could’ve ever wished for,” Kaepernick said. ”It feels great just to be out there.”
The other story in this game was the superb Niners’ defense, which create havoc in the Bears’ offensive line all day. Aldon Smith finished with a career high 5.5 sacks, and he also took over the NFL lead for sacks. Jason Campbell, who got the nod for Chicago as Jay Cutler was out with a concussion as well, took seven sacks and threw two interceptions. It was safe to say that even if Cutler had started, he would not have done much against this Niner defense, which absolutely came to play tonight.
The Niners were on the board early and often, scoring the first 20 points of the game, then putting it in cruise control for the duration of the second half.
Kaepernick’s first drive of the night stalled at the Bears’ 14-yard line, so the Niners had to settle for a field goal.
But he was more than ready on his second opportunity to lead the offense. On the third play, Kaepernick unleashed a 57-yard bomb right into the hands of Kyle Williams down the right sideline to set up a first and goal at the Bears’ 3-yard line. Then, Kaepernick threw his first career touchdown pass to Vernon Davis to put the Niners up 10-0.
”I think after the first drive I felt really comfortable with what they were doing and what we had in our game plan,” he said. ”I really wasn’t too nervous. I’ve had a lot of time in this offense. My teammates were really supportive.”
The Niners would score on their next two possessions, with Kendall Hunter’s 14-yard touchdown run followed by a David Akers’ field goal on the ensuing drive to take a 20-0 lead into halftime. At the break, the Niners had 249 total yards compared to just 35 for the Bears.
The defense continued to impose its will on poor Jason Campbell and the powerless Bears’ offensive line. Whether it was Aldon Smith, Justin Smith, Patrick Wilis, or Navorro Bowman, none of them were any match for the likes of Chilo Richal (hold the laughter, Niners’ fans).
“We were playing our defense, stopping the run and then stopping the pass,” Aldon Smith said. “I was just playing my game and getting after it.”
In the third quarter, Kaepernick would add to the blowout with his second career touchdown pass, rolling to the left and finding Michael Crabtree in the end zone for a 10-yard strike.
The Bears would mercifully score a touchdown late in third, but the game was already out of reach. However, the Niners wouldn’t let it end with another outstanding defensive play, safety mid-way through the fourth quarter when Rachal recovered a fumble but failed to get out of the end zone before he was tackled (again, hod your laughter, Niners’ fans).
All in all, it was a spectacular showing on all frontiers by the San Francisco 49ers, and they may have just found their quarterback of the future, who suffice it to say, will be in a Niner uniform for a long, long time.