Colin Kaepernick Shines in Battle of the Backup QBs as 49ers Destroy Bears, 32-7
The game was never close. San Francisco's defense swarmed Jason Campbell from the get-go, forcing the backup quarterback to lean on a fruitless run game. And the Bears defense couldn't get stops on their end either.
David Akers converted a 32-yard field goal to start the game's scoring less than five minutes into it. That was followed by Colin Kaepernick's first touchdown toss of the night less than five minutes later, this one going to Vernon Davis from three yards out.
And it didn't get any better for Lovie Smith's team either. Running back Kendall Hunter scampered for a 14-yard score to start the second-quarter scoring for the Niners, followed by another Akers field goal to give the 49ers a decisive 20-0 lead at halftime.
Allow ESPN Stats & Info to show you how ugly the Bears offense was in the first half:
Bears drives in the 1st half: punt, punt, interception, punt, punt. That wont score you many points.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 20, 2012
Yeah, it was that bad. Campbell couldn't get anything going, and Matt Forte couldn't give him much help. San Francisco's defense, led by Aldon Smith, was swarming the backfield at will.
The Niners offense slowed down the scoring in the second half, though none the worse for wear. Kaepernick's second passing touchdown of the night, a 10-yard toss to Michael Crabtree, put the team up 27-0 with 11:12 remaining in the third quarter.
Kaepernick may not be considered the 49ers' starter, but he certainly played like one. He finished the night 16-of-23 passing for 243 yards and two touchdowns, showing poise well beyond his experience level.
He was so good that, according to Sacramento Bee reporter Matt Barrows, Vernon Davis showed some respect:
Vernon Davis just walked up to Colin Kaepernick, put his hands together and bowed before the quarterback.— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) November 20, 2012
The Bears looked scared.
Campbell took a beating, finishing an ugly 14-of-22 for 107 yards, one TD and two interceptions on the night.
Brandon Marshall was finally able to haul in a touchdown for Chicago with less than four minutes remaining in the third to make it 27-7, but that was met with another Akers field goal to start the fourth quarter.
The safety afterwards from Ray McDonald, to get the score to 32-7, was just gravy.
The Bears didn't stand a chance, and it was obvious from the beginning, as Bears fans are probably missing Jay Cutler right about now. David Axelrod, a senior adviser to President Obama, made a good point:
Why is it that you never quite appreciate Jay Cutler until he's not playing?— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) November 20, 2012
Even though Cutler would have helped, he wouldn't have shut down Aldon Smith's pass rush. On his fourth sack of the night, Smith took the NFL lead, and finished with an astonishing 5.5 in the category. He led an excellent team effort, but he was the straw that stirred the drink.
Jon Gruden had this to say about Smith. Per SportsCenter's Twitter:
"I've never seen acts of dominance like this in the National Football League in some time" - Jon Gruden on Aldon Smith & @49ers— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 20, 2012
It would be interesting to see these two teams square off with their starting quarterbacks under center, but the 49ers made a statement here. Kaepernick proved his mettle, the defense stepped up and every one played their part in the victory.
For the Bears, it's tough to judge, as Cutler means so much to the offense and team overall.
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