SAN FRANCISCO—All the concern was for what he would do to the Packers with his legs. His legs? How about his arm?
Colin Kaepernick didn’t rush for 181 yards against the Packers on Sunday, as he did last January. All of the angst for the read option was a waste of good worry. Kaepernick rushed for 22 yards. Only one of his runs, a 15-yard scramble that gained a first down at a critical time in the game, was of significance.
That trip to Texas A&M to learn more about the read option? Well, maybe the Packers can at least use the frequent-flier miles.
It was with his arm that Kaepernick beat the Packers.
“He played very well from the pocket today,” Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said of Kaepernick. “The emphasis was to stop the run. He made plays from the pocket today.”
Kaepernick threw for 412 yards, three touchdowns and a 129.4 passer rating. The new-age quarterback who many expect to revolutionize the game, beat the Packers the old-fashioned way: He stood tall in the pocket, he found the open receivers and he threw strikes.
Here’s the big part: He played his best football at crunch time, converting passes on third-and-four and fourth-and-two to effectively kill what remained of the clock.
The 49ers’ 34-28 win over the Packers was a classic shootout between two hot quarterbacks. Aaron Rodgers was victimized by a Jermichael Finley bobble that resulted in an interception, but in all other ways Rodgers was the MVP quarterback of two years ago, playing pitch and catch with Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.
“Jordy played excellent. Jordy probably didn’t get enough opportunities, especially the way they were playing us,” McCarthy said of Nelson, who caught seven passes for 130 yards and one touchdown. Cobb contributed seven catches for 108 yards and a touchdown.
Remember all that difficulty Rodgers and company were having in the preseason? Well, they left it there. They gained 385 yards of offense in Sunday’s season opener in Candlestick Park, and they did it in just 21 minutes and 25 seconds of possession time.
You want some positives to ease your pain? Here they are:
- The Packers defense stopped the run. The Packers defensive line outplayed the best offensive line in the league in holding Frank Gore to 44 yards rushing and his complementary back, Kendall Hunter, to 24. Most of that came in the final minutes of the game, when fatigue began to take its toll on both defenses on a warm day.
- “The protection was excellent,” Rodgers said of his offensive line’s pass blocking. “Everybody was worried about how David (Bakhtiari) would play. David played excellent.”
The big negative is that the Packers defense, which passed the physical test on Sunday, had no answer for Kaepernick’s pocket-passing ability. He shredded the Packers secondary, and it’s not as though the Packers didn’t present a pass rush. He was sacked a couple of times and was forced to flee the pocket on several occasions.
Kaepernick is the Packers’ big negative. He’s good. He’s real good, and he didn’t even have to use his legs.
Additional coverage - Sept. 8