Colin Kaepernick seems to turn it on when it matters most. He burst on to the scene last season, as his athleticism and intelligent passing led the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl run. After a mostly average 2013 regular season, Kaepernick tore apart the Green Bay Packers in frigid conditions on Sunday night, and he now seems ready to make a similar run as last season.
Early in this game, Kaepernick and running back Frank Gore were marching the 49ers down the field, but the team could not punch the ball into the end zone, settling for two early Phil Dawson field goals. The 49ers have one of the top defenses in the league, and they dominated the Green Bay offense and quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the first quarter. They held him without a pass completion and the offense without a first down.
Rodgers and the Packers came alive early in the second quarter, when they drove methodically down the field on a 14 play, 70 yard drive that resulted in a 5-yard touchdown reception by Jordy Nelson. The 49ers were able to answer with a 10-yard TD run by Gore. The Packers added a field goal by Mason Crosby and San Francisco went into halftime up 13-10.
The third quarter was dominated by the defenses, and both teams were held scoreless. Both teams traded touchdowns early in the fourth, before the Packers tied up the game 20-20 on a 24-yard field goal by Crosby with 5:06 remaining in the game.
Kaepernick then led San Francisco on a memorable fourth quarter drive, where he made many big plays with both his legs and his arm. There was a 3rd and 10, where he found Michael Crabtree over the middle for 17 yards, a great check-down pass where he found Gore in the flat and a 3rd and 8 where Kaepernick took off down the left sideline for 11 yards–the biggest first down in the game. After that Kaepernick scramble, the 49ers were able to run down the clock with Gore, before Dawson nailed a 33-yard field goal to win it as time expired.
Kaepernick finished the game with 227 passing yards on 16 completions, one touchdown pass and 98 rushing yards on seven carries. He made play after play for the 49ers when they needed it the most.
With Gore leading the charge on the ground, Crabtree, Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis leading the receiving core and their incredible defense, the 49ers are legitimate threats for the Super Bowl this season. Personally, I think it all comes down to Kaepernick. If he continues to play like this, I do not think there will be a team in the NFL that will knock them off.