Head coach Jim Harbaugh was questioned a bit when he chose Kaepernick over Alex Smith, who went down with a concussion earlier in the season. Even a return to full health hasn't seen the former No. 1 pick usurp Kaepernick for the starting job.
The second-round pick out of Nevada has been dependable, if unspectacular, over the last five games. The 49ers have also managed to go 3-1-1 since Smith went down. They hold a healthy enough lead over the Seahawks for the NFC West and retain the second-best record in the conference.
Some might have wondered if Kaepernick had the kind of confidence necessary to propel San Francisco to the Super Bowl. But NFL Network reporter Albert Breer brought up an interesting point when he tweeted this:
Not sure if Kaepernick was trying to make a point when he kissed his tatted up arms after that TD run. But I kinda hope he was.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 10, 2012
The celebration was almost certainly a response to an article by David Whitley in which the author argued that Kaepernick's tattoos somehow made him headed for prison or unworthy to start at quarterback, or something to that effect.
Of course, everyone knows that all the extra ink throws off the wind resistance when the quarterback is releasing the ball, thus making him inaccurate. Quite frankly, that would have been a better case than the one Whitley presented.
Honestly, it's hard to know what Whitley was getting at other than to troll 49ers fans and others who abhor racism.
It clearly played on Kaepernick's mind. Why else would somebody kiss their arms after a touchdown run? It's not as if he was doing back handsprings for 50 yards.
Some might have simply blown the article off and not let it affect them. Kaepernick, on the other hand, carried a chip on his shoulder and wanted to show Whitley and all those who doubted him that he is worthy of supplanting Smith.
This is a supremely talented 49ers team. It has a great defense, and a player in Frank Gore who demands a lot of attention from opposing defenses and can take the burden off the quarterback.
Kaepernick might be young, but he's ready to lead this team.
What San Francisco needs more than anything is a steady quarterback who can limit mistakes. Kaepernick has been exactly that, throwing just one interception in the five games in which he's been featured.
As the touchdown run also showed, Kaepernick brings an extra dimension compared to Smith. Smith was always a mobile quarterback, but his speed was never otherworldly for a QB. Kaepernick, on the other hand, is a serious threat outside the pocket.
If defenses think for even a split second that he could tuck the ball and run, they could leave a receiver open for enough of a window for Kaepernick to find him.
After Week 14, there's no doubt that San Francisco remains one of the best with Kaepernick at quarterback.