Colin Kaepernick has provided critics with plenty of ammunition this season, despite leading the San Francisco 49ers to a 4-2 record heading into their Week 7 matchup against the Tennessee Titans. After his dominant performance in Tennessee, those critics will have a much harder time finding fault with his play.
Kaepernick has always been known for his ability to get out of the pocket and make plays running the ball. He is an adequate pocket passer, but if that’s what head coach John Harbaugh was looking for, then Alex Smith would still be under center in San Francisco. No, Harbaugh and the rest of the 49ers’ brain trust want Kaepernick on the field because he gives defenses fits with his ability to make plays with his legs.
So far this year, he had mostly been held in check by teams that were scheming for him to run the ball. In the first six weeks, he averaged only 28 yards a game on the ground and hadn’t scored a single rushing touchdown. That ended this week, when he rushed for 68 yards and a touchdown against Tennessee.
If the 49ers are going to live up to their considerable preseason hype and battle for a repeat trip to the Super Bowl, Kaepernick is going to need to rekindle his love for the game-breaking run. It’s good for the team that he spent his offseason working on his drop-back passing game, but he needs to remember how devastating he can be as a runner.
Kaepernick and the 49ers have much more difficult tests to face this year then they got at Tennessee, and if they want to pass them, he’ll need to keep running the ball.