When San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick scampered 56 yards for a touchdown on Saturday night against the Green Bay Packers, it not only put his team ahead for good, but cemented one of the best all-round displays by a first time playoff quarterback.
Nothing seems to faze Kaepernick. He plays with tremendous confidence. So much so that the early setback of an interception ran back for a score, on only the second play of the game, failed to take the wind out of his sails.
Instead what we witnessed after was something that we have become more used to seeing from more accomplished players in his position. The fact that outdueled Tom Brady earlier in the season is testament to his play, and on this wild night in the Bay Area he again rose to the occasion and beat another established playcaller, Aaron Rodgers.
This game was always going to be test of the young QB. His first playoff start. The pressure of carrying the Niners legacy on his shoulders. Having to again justify his coaches’ decision to put him in the game, over the more experienced Alex Smith.
It was with measured play that he outfoxed the Packers defense into submission. The long touchdown run in the third quarter was simple in its design and yet lethal in its execution. Sucking the life out of the Green Bay team. When Kaepernick sprinted to the end zone it broke the back of the Packers gutsy resilience, they truly had no answer to his play.
To finish with 263 yards passing is a good day by any playoff game standards, add 181 yards rushing on the ground and the second year player has not only set a new level of play at his position, but almost redefined it. Sure there have been many other quarterbacks that have used their rushing talents to help aid them, each of them would have looked on in awe at the way Kaepernick took apart the Packers.
The only problem now for Kaepernick?
Having to prove this performance wasn't’t a fluke, and do it all over again. Starting this coming Sunday in Atlanta, against the Falcons in the NFC Championship game. Then maybe if he navigates his team past that obstacle, once more in New Orleans on February 3rd in the Super Bowl.
After this weekend no one would be surprised if he ended that night with a Lombardi Trophy tucked under his arm.