NFC Championship: Colin Kaepernick catching fire after early struggles

Colin Kaepernick

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The first half of the 2013 NFC Championship Game is over, and it’s been quite a ride for the San Francisco 49ers as they trail 24-14 to the Atlanta Falcons.

One of the biggest reasons for the 49ers’ early deficit has been the overwhelming noise that fills the Georgia Dome whenever the ball is in San Francisco’s hands. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been unable to relay audibles to his offensive line, which has caused major problems in pass protection and led to a huge sack early on.

To start the game, the 49ers suffered from two straight three-and-outs and flailed on offense as they attempted to get something going. Through their first two drives, they failed to total positive yards on offense after a big nine-yard loss on Corey Peters’ sack of Kaepernick.

Their third drive, however, provided San Francisco with a big turnaround that gave them the necessary spark to get back into the game. Running back Frank Gore found some room on the ground and made the most of every hole that opened. Kaepernick completed a couple of significant passes and almost had a touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree before speedster LaMichael James exploded on a run and struck paydirt.

After such a slow start, Kaepernick appears to be shaking the cobwebs. He finished the half with 99 yards and a touchdown on 9-12 passing and also picked up 23 yards on the ground. His top target, tight end Vernon Davis, has amassed 75 yards and a touchdown on four receptions and is looking like he’s ready to make his first Super Bowl appearance.

The game didn’t start the way the 49ers wanted, but it didn’t take long for Kaepernick and Co. to turn it around. Still, they’re going to have to maintain a high tempo and avoid turnovers to keep up with the quick-strike Atlanta offense.

There’s no denying that Kaepernick has the ability to put defenses in check in a hurry. He’s going to need to flip that “dynamic” switch soon, though, before the Falcons capitalize on the 49ers’ slow start and put this one out of reach.

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