Packers vs. 49ers: Colin Kaepernick Sets a New Standard as San Francisco Rolls
When head coach Jim Harbaugh breaks the postgame huddle with, "Who's got it better than us?" The players are exactly right when they say "nobody," because right now, no team has had a better playoff game than the San Francisco 49ers had Saturday night.
Greg Roman's offense finished with 579 yards of total offense and six touchdowns. Second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick accounted for four touchdowns total en route to a record-setting performance. By game's end, Kaepernick had managed to pile up 181 yards on the ground and 263 yards through the air.
Without question, the 181 yards rushing are now an NFL record for both regular-season and postseason play. The previous record was held by Michael Vick when he rushed for 173 yards in one game against the Minnesota Vikings back in 2002:
Colin Kaepernick has 183 yards rushing. FROM ELIAS: Entering today, the most by a QB in ANY game was 173 by Michael Vick.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 13, 2013
The long-standing record was wiped out early on in the fourth quarter when Kap scampered for 16 yards on a designed quarterback run along the left sideline. That play marked his 13th carry of the night, which proved to be all he needed in an attempt to help propel the 49ers to their second straight NFC Championship Game.
By the final whistle, Kaepernick wasn't the only offensive player who helped San Francisco in its 45-31 victory over the Green Bay Packers. Wide receiver Michael Crabtree decided to have a career night of his own. During his two previous playoff appearances, he registered five catches for 28 yards and one touchdown.
Saturday night, Crabtree snagged 9-of-11 targets for 119 yards and two touchdowns. Both touchdown receptions came in the second quarter and both came on consecutive drives. It's safe to say Alex Smith may have been the root of Crabtree's problems all along.
Since Kaepernick took over as the starter, he has caught 50 passes, hauled in seven touchdown receptions and compiled 714 yards receiving. Just as Vernon Davis was Smith's favorite target, Crabtree has now become Kaepernick's favorite target.
However, it takes more than two players to equate for 579 yards of offense. Alongside Kap and Crabtree, running back Frank Gore set single-game playoff highs of his own. Gore rushed for 119 yards and one touchdown. That one touchdown signaled one more touchdown than he had in two previous playoff games last season.
All in all, the near-600 yards of total offense set a single-game playoff record for the most offensive yards gained in franchise history. The four other times San Francisco gained over 450 yards in a playoff game it went on to win the Super Bowl.
With one game standing in the way of the Super Bowl, the 49ers will be watching Sunday's game anxiously. If Atlanta defeats the Seahawks, Coach Harbaugh's club will have to travel to the dirty south, but if Pete Carroll and Co. take down the Falcons, the 49ers will host Seattle at Candlestick Park.
Regardless of the setting, the NFC Championship Game may end up being one for the ages.
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