Colin Kaepernick Named NFC Offensive Player of the Week and More NFC West News

Tyson Langland@TysonNFLNFC West Lead WriterDecember 19, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 16:  Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers throws in the first quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 16, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

It took former San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Alex Smith eight years to capture his first NFC NFC Offensive Player of the Week Award on October 31st. Yet it only took second-year pro Colin Kaepernick five career starts before he collected the same hardware for the very first time:

#49ers QB @kaepernick7 has been named NFC Offensive Player of Week 15.

San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) December 19, 2012

In only his fifth start, Kaepernick managed to take down Tom Brady and the New England Patriots at home, in December. Something that hasn't happened since 2002 when the New York Jets beat the Pats 30-17.

In terms of Kap's development, last Sunday's game may prove to be one the biggest games he will quarterback in all year.

Not to mention his four-touchdown-pass performance was also the first of his career. To put the significance into perspective—Smith had never thrown more than three touchdown passes in a single game, ever. 

While I realize it's not fair to always compare No. 7 to his predecessor, it's going to happen, especially during the 2012 season. Whenever a younger player takes over for a vested veteran, the comparisons are bound to happen until the younger player distances himself from the veteran.

In addition to Kap's four touchdown passes, he also threw for 216 yards and only turned the ball over once on a night in which both teams combined for six turnovers.

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Heading into Week 16, the 49ers will have to bring their same high-powered offensive attack into Century Link Field if they want to capture the NFC West crown. Slowing down the Seahawks may prove to be a tough task right now, but if anyone can do it, San Francisco can with Vic Fangio's hard-hitting defensive attack.

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Adam Green of ArizonaSports.com reports on the Cardinals making a trio of practice-squad moves.

Zachary Krueger of Bleacher Report says the Arizona Cardinals owe it to Larry Fitzgerald to trade him to a contender.

San Francisco 49ers

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle examines Michael Crabtree and the fact that he is Kaepernick's go to guy.

Dylan DeSimone of Bleacher Report breaks down how the 49ers will end Seattle's hot streak.

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John Clayton of ESPN.com gives us his insight on why the Seahawks released Evan Moore.

Matt Schreiber of Bleacher Report takes a look at what the future holds for backup quarterback Matt Flynn.

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Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams offense has been stuck in neutral early on in games.

David Daniels of Bleacher Report gives us his guide to St. Louis' road game against the Bucs this week.