The San Francisco 49ers suffered a demoralizing loss by the hands of the eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship.
It may have been an insufferable loss but the Niners aren’t (and shouldn’t be) focused on it. Rather, they’re going to come back strong and hopefully be the team to beat in the NFC West in the 2014 Season.
With that being said, officiating may have played a minor rule in the Niners’ loss, but QB Colin Kaepernick also had a hand with an under-thrown pass to WR Michael Crabtree that likely costed the Niners on the final possession. Sure, the Niners may have had the lead in that position if the game was officiated fairly, but Kaepernick was eventually the deciding factor.
He doesn’t hang his head in shame, however. On his first day of vacation, his car was seen outside of the stadium, getting some work done and preparing for the next season. This shows that he is committed to winning and committed to the 49ers Organization. This isn’t the first instance of Kaepernick’s devotion, however.
When QB Alex Smith suffered a concussion that sidelined him for a couple of games, Kaepernick, a guy that most NFL fans had never heard of, took over the starting quarterback position. Many critics and analysts doubted this move by Jim Harbaugh, but it proved to work out quite nicely for the Niners.
Despite all the hatred, the criticism, and the skepticism, Kaepernick managed to tune out all the noise, work on his game, and prove to everyone that he has what it takes to be the leader of a Super Bowl-caliber team. He may not get the job done conventionally, but finding his receivers in clutch situations, but he utilizes his strength: speed.
Kaepernick knows for a fact that he is one of the most slippery quarterbacks in the NFL today. What he also knows, however, is that his passing game is weak. Sometimes, he throws uncatchable bullet-passes, while other times, he under-throws, leading to turnovers such as the one in the NFC Championship Game.
If he makes a small adjustment, which I suspect he will, then the Niners will be virtually unstoppable. Maybe, just maybe, they could have won the game against the Seahawks if had thrown a better pass to Crabtree in the end zone.
Last year, when took over as a starter for the Niners, the playoffs were a huge test for him. He was practically a rookie set in one of the biggest stages an athlete could possible be on. A gaping hole in his game was his inability to jump-start the offense early, often staging comeback wins. The good thing is that the Niners won these games, but the bad thing is that not every deficit can be overcome.
For example, as we all know, the Niners trailed the Baltimore Ravens 21-6 at halftime, but eventually came back to make it a single possession ball game. Unfortunately, they ran out of time and failed to complete the comeback.
To fix this mistake, Kaepernick was able to improve his ability to perform in the pocket presence. Early on in the game, he would jump-start the offense with a 80-yard drive, setting up a much-needed score, or at least a field goal. I’m sure that this is one of the things that he worked on in the 2013 offseason, proving that he has what it takes.
With every season, Kaepernick is going to get better and better, fixing his problems. The next one that he needs to fix is his passing ability, but I’m sure he’s not going to have a problem with that.
Super Bowl appearance his first year as a starter, then losing on the final play in the NFC Championship Game? That only sounds like a Sophomore Slump to me.