Kaepernick clearly still plays with a chip on his shoulder which originated when Newton was selected first overall in the 2011 draft while he was just a second round pick. But while he gets upset about the fact, the 49ers front office, coaching staff, players and fans all have rejoiced as this second round pick is now preparing to play in his second straight NFC title game.
Kaepernick’s stats in last week’s divisional game against the Panthers weren’t mind blowing. He completed 15 of 28 passes for 196 yards and touchdown. He also ran for another score as well but although he’s not putting up astronomical numbers, his team is still winning and Kaepernick is coming up huge when it counts.
In the Wildcard round at Green Bay, Kaepernick led the Niners on a game-winning drive in the final 5:06 after the Packers tied the game. Not only did he find his receivers with his throws but he also made plays with his feet as he picked a a crucial first down. In the Divisional round against the Panthers, who have one of the best defenses in all of football, Kaepernick showed the same type of play-making ability that makes a him a dual threat. After Carolina had taken the lead with ten unanswered points, Kaepernick again used the final 3:41 of the half to march his team down the field and score a touchdown just before halftime.
So far this has been the winning formula for San Francisco. The defense has played outstanding and Kaepernick has really made plays when the team has needed it the most. Kaepernick is now a perfect 3-0 on the road in his postseason career which is more than Joe Montana and Steve Young combined. Not only that, but Kaepernick already is the franchise leader in playoff road wins.
A year ago when Jim Harbaugh made the move to go with Kaepernick over Alex Smith (who at the time had the highest QB rating in the NFL), most thought that it wasn’t the right decision; it’s clear now that he made a good call. Smith is a fine quarterback but Kaepernick is beginning to show what Smith didn’t have. Aside from the sheer athleticism, Kaepernick has proven to be a leader, a winner and a clutch performer. All he needs now to bring it full circle is that championship ring.
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