When the Green Bay Packers traveled to Candlestick Park for an NFC divisional-round matchup, many expected it to be one of the closest, most exciting games of the postseason.
It was supposed to be a battle between Rodgers’ high-powered offense and the vaunted Niners defense, but it soon went in a wildly different direction.
San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick became the signal-caller to watch, as he vastly outplayed Rodgers and helped guide the 49ers to the NFC Championship with a 45-31 victory.
Rodgers was just 26-of-39 for 257 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, plus three rushes for 28 yards—with many of these stats coming in garbage time with the game out of reach.
By comparison, the Niners' first-year starter finished 17-of-31 for 263 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, but changed the game with his legs.
Kaepernick carried 16 times for 181 yards and two touchdowns, one of the best individual rushing performances by any player—let alone a QB—in postseason history.
Many believed that Rodgers would bring more to the table, especially against a team he carries an open grudge against for not drafting him back in 2005 (they instead elected to go with Alex Smith—now riding the pine for the Niners).
The Chico native was playing in front of a hometown Northern California crowd, but only managed to disappoint those rooting for him.
It wasn’t the Rodgers that anyone was used to seeing and not many would have predicted such a mediocre outing for the 29-year-old—not with so much on the line against his most hated enemy.
Which NFC signal-caller is the best remaining?
Kaepernick is now arguably the best remaining QB in the NFC playoffs—not a huge feat considering the only two others are Atlanta’s playoff win-averse Matt Ryan and Seattle rookie Russell Wilson, who are set to do battle on Sunday—a title he has earned by outplaying Rodgers and the Packers.
It’s certainly not the scenario that Packers fans envisioned going into that game, but Rodgers is a good enough QB to bounce back from this performance and use it as motivation in 2013.