Anyone who saw Colin Kaepernick's performance against the Chicago Bears on Monday night knows that his success wasn't just a byproduct of great coaching or a subpar showing from one of the league's best defenses.
The second-year quarterback, who took over for Alex Smith, was magnificent.
We all knew he had a big arm, but his accuracy against the Bears on Monday night was staggering (especially given the lowly expectations in his first career NFL start). Not only that, he actually made correct audibles on the line.
That is almost unheard of, for a second-year quarterback to come in and do what Kaepernick did against a defense that had allowed 14.8 points per game coming into the contest. The Bears were allowing 6.1 yards per pass attempt (fourth in the NFL) and had notched 19 interceptions (best in the league), but Kaepernick simply went off, going 16-of-23 for 243 yards and two touchdowns.
The 49ers won, 32-7.
Now, consistency is key in the NFL, so we can't all of a sudden start calling for Kaepernick over Smith at this juncture (nor do I believe Jim Harbaugh will even think about making a change at quarterback), but there is no question after Monday night's performance that Kaepernick has the tools to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.
Not only that, he has the poise. He stared down what was supposed to be an intimidating defensive front for the Bears and made it look like he'd been in the league for years. The fact that he was changing plays up to slant patterns like a West Coast offense guru was frankly hard to fathom at times.
I'll admit, I wrote that the primary reason the 49ers would lose on Monday night was because the Bears had an experienced veteran in Jason Campbell under center and the 49ers had an untested young quarterback.
Boy, was I wrong.
This is a defining moment for Kaepernick. If anything, it shows that he can rise to the occasion (against a tough defense, at that) when he is needed for San Francisco. It also shows that he will not be bullied at the pro level and that despite playing against generally subpar competition in college at Nevada, he is ready to step up to the challenge of the big and bad National Football League.
49ers fans should not only be ecstatic about the work the coaching staff has obviously done with Kaepernick, they should be ecstatic about Kaepernick himself.