Monday, January 14, 2013

KAEPERNICK GOES WILD: Packers v. 49ers

The following is part of our continuing coverage of the 2012 NFL PLAYOFFS.

Johnny J

Colin Kaepernick grew up a Packers' fan; so when the date was set for the Green Bay Packers to come into Candlestick Park, Kaepernick wanted to make his presence known. He wanted to prove that he could carry his team to a playoff victory. The second year quarterback showed up Aaron Rodgers by carrying the San Francisco 49ers to a  45-31 win over Rodgers and the high-powered offense of the Packers.

"It feels good. We're one step closer to where we want to be," Kaepernick said. "I feel like I had a lot to prove. A lot of people doubted my ability to lead this team."

And lead he did; Kaepernick out-rushed the Packers team 181 yards to 104, Breaking Michael Vick's previous record of 173 set back in 2002.  Kaepernick played his first playoff game and accounted for 4 touchdowns: throwing for two and running for two, including a 57 yard touchdown scramble that left the Packers defense unsure of who actually had the ball.

Kaepernick, who took over for Alex Smith after Smith sustained a concussion  never handed back the starting role to the veteran. Instead, he was the one who continued to run the ball and hand it off to Frank Gore.
"The execution for the 49ers on the read option was excellent, but our issues were bigger than that," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "We did not do a very good job of keeping him in the pocket. He was able to get out of the pocket for a number of big conversions."

That is the reason why Kaepernick took over the starting job for the 49ers. When you have a quarterback that can out-run defenses, the threat becomes more of a guessing game. The defense might be leading one-way toward the running back and when the quarterback reads it, he keeps it, and just takes off running. Pro bowl linebacker Clay Matthews was caught looking confused on the field, unsure of who had the ball, and when he finally saw the ball, it was half-way down the field.

Credit head coach Jim Harbaugh for bringing his Offensive Coordinator, Greg Roman with him from Stanford. The coaching duo brought some of the college plays to the big stage. Harbaugh may lose Roman as it is rumored that he may get a head coaching job elsewhere (Roman and Alex Smith to Jacksonville?  What?--Ed).

Back in 2005, Rodgers was asked about how disappointing it was for the 49ers to pass him with the first pick. He replied, "not as disappointed as the 49ers will be that they didn't draft me."

The 49ers did not feel any remorse or regret on Saturday night. Rodgers returned to his home state
just to get out-dueled by Kaepernick. Rodgers had a good game throwing for 257 yards and two touchdowns to go along with a pick, but he couldn't do it alone. He needed help from his defense whom seemed like they couldn't stop the run or the pass. In fact the Packers gave up a total of 579 yards.

 "We expected them to try to get him out on the perimeter. But we didn't expect to let him do what he did. Give him a lot of credit. He played a great game. He made a lot of great plays out there today. It was hard to swallow," said safety Charles Woodson.

When Kaepernick was in 4th grade, he wrote himself a letter stating that he would go to the pros to either play for the 49ers or the Packers. "I remember growing up watching Brett Favre every Sunday," said Kaepernick. He dind't get a chance to play against Favre, but Kaepernick beat Araon Rodgers who I believe will be a better quarterback than Brett Favre. He beat the reigning MVP at his own game: with his arm and his legs. The 49ers have beaten the Packers in the playoffs for only the second time in 6 meetings dating back to 1996.

2012 Dick Butkus Division Champ


I would like to take a moment to reflect on yesterday when I received my trophy for winning my division in my Fantasy Football League. I lost in the first round of the playoffs because my first three picks were all hurt, (LeSean McCoy, Rob Gronkowski, Jordy Nelson), but I was happy to go home with something. 

It looked like a promising season, especially after our draft in August when Yahoo left a message on the league's homepage that my team, Black Sunday, was projected to win the whole thing based on my picks. It didn't happen, but I'm eager to finish off what I start next season. 

2012 Dick Butkus Division Champ!

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