As the San Francisco 49ers beat the Seattle Seawhawks in a bug NFC West battle in Week 14, not many discussed or made mention of how well Colin Kaepernick played, as he did not have numbers which stood out or were that eye catching. Anyone who watched the game would be able to tell you when Kaepernick needed to make a play, he did so either by making a big completion or running for a crucial first down. As the 49ers took care of business today beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 33-14 in what could have been a trap game, Kaepernick was clutch in every sense of the word.
Once again, Kaepernick’s final stat line does not stand out or immediately catch your attention, as he was 19-of-29 passing for 203 yards and two passing touchdowns to go along with seven carries for 39 yards. Again, to solely focus on that stat line would be to neglect and overlook the fact that Kaepernick came up clutch on several plays, including on several critical third down conversions.
It all began on the 49ers’ first scoring drive, as Kaepernick had a 17 yard run on 3rd-and-8 to extend the drive for the 49ers, and then would covert on a 3rd-and-3 with a pass to fullback Bruce Miller inside the five yard line as Kaepernick showed great patience on the completion. Kaepernick would cap off a successful drive by once again showing great patience in completing a four yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree, who did a marvelous job of staying in bounds.
After seemingly being in control of the game, the 49ers found themselves only winning 20-14 a few seconds into the start of the fourth quarter. On this drive, Kaepernick would come up and execute one clutch play after another. On a 3rd-and-12 from their own 29, Kapernick somehow, someway escaped from a near sack and completed a dart to Crabtree for 14 yards, and more importantly, a crucial first down. Later on in the drive, with the 49ers in field goal range and facing a 3rd-and-6 from the Buccaneers’ 29, Kaepernick once again showed his Houdini-like escape skills, as he would run for 10 yards and another 49ers first down.
That crucial 17 play, 77 yard drive that lasted 10 minutes and 27 seconds killed any momentum the Buccaneers had by making it a two score game, but it would not have been possible if not for Kaepernick coming up clutch on several key third down plays. After having received so much criticism the last few weeks, Kaepernick is showing that those who questioned him were wrong to do so, as he is stepping up and playing clutch.