The NFC Championship game pitting the San Francisco 49ers against the Atlanta Falcons was a record-setting contest. Never in the history of Conference championship games has any team overcome a 17-point deficit to win.
Down 17-zero in the first half, second-year QB Colin Kaepernick led San Francisco back to eventually win the game 28-24, advancing to the Super Bowl. Considering that such a large deficit had never been overcome before in a Conference championship, many felt the game was over before halftime.
But to those familiar with Kaepernick's college career, erasing large deficits is nothing new. In fact, Kaepernick had four very memorable college games in which he erased deficits. His ability to do so against the Falcons was not surprising to fans from his days at Nevada. In four incredible games against Boise State, Kaepernick erased first half deficits every time.
In 2007, in his first start as a freshman, Kaepernick and the Nevada Wolf Pack took on the formidable Boise State Broncos team in Boise on the infamous blue turf. Down by seven at the half, Kaepernick led Nevada back in the second half, outscoring the Broncos 23-16 to tie the game at the end of regulation at 44. Four overtimes later, BSU won the game by a final score of 69-67.
In 2008, Nevada was down by 21 points at the half. Once again, Kaepernick engineered an impressive second half, outscoring the Broncos 31-17 only to lose the game by a final score of 41-34.
In 2009, Nevada fell behind early and was down by 20 points at the end of the first quarter. Once again, Kaepernick led the Wolf Pack back, outscoring the Broncos from the second quarter on 33-24 only to lose by a final score of 44-33.
Finally, in 2010, a Kaepernick comeback against Boise State was successful. Trailing 21-7 at halftime, he racked up 350 yards of offense in the second half outscoring the Broncos 24-7 to tie the game at the end of regulation at 31. Two missed Boise State field goals gave the Wolf Pack the opportunity to win the game in overtime by a final score of 34-31.
In four unforgettable games (I was at each), Kaepernick brought Nevada back by a combined 69 points to twice tie the Broncos in regulation and finally defeat them in 2010, their only loss in a season in which they came into the game ranked third in the nation with a shot at the BCS Championship.
So then, Kaepernick's record-breaking come from behind win in the NFC Championship was not so surprising after all. He has a history of doing this. The lesson here is not to count him out prematurely. He has demonstrated an uncanny ability to lead his team back and come from behind. He did it in college and now also in the NFL.
I doubt the NFC Championship was the last time we will see this extraordinary ability on display. Colin Kaepernick, the "come-from-behind" kid will do this again, maybe even on Super Bowl Sunday.
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