The San Francisco 49ers season has been the tale of two quarterbacks. For the first half of the regular season schedule, San Francisco 49ers tickets were a chance to see the same kind of ball control offense that took the football team to the NFL playoffs last season. The second half of the season, Coach Jim Harbaugh had inserted Colin Kaepernick into the starting lineup and the team had the potential to put up 30 points or more simply because of the offense and not because the defense had scored a few touchdowns on its own. The team is sticking with Kaepernick as they begin the postseason.
One has to wonder if the reason Harbaugh chose to go with the more mistake prone quarterback is that he is a playmaker and the offense desperately needed that sort of a catalyst. Running back Frank Gore struggled against the familiar eight-man fronts when Smith was taking the snaps. Kaepernick is the kind of player who takes tremendous pressure off the veteran running back, being equally adept at running with the football as making big throws. Suddenly Michael Crabtree is an even more relevant receiver and the tight end Vernon Davis’s skills are not going to waste until third and long. The 49ers are, arguably a better football team with this kind of a player leading the charge.
Kaepernick’s inexperience does create a few issues. S.F. is going to turn the football over more with him jettisoning the pocket so quickly and rushing to the side, oftentimes forcing throws to receivers improvising as the routes have broken down. The Niners defense is not one that forces a great deal of turnovers. Instead, it specializes in simply stopping the forward momentum. Ranking fourth in the league in pass and rush defense, this means Kaepernick’s errors could be salvaged as just field goals. Giving up points is giving up points though, and it gives Aldon Smith and the rest of the linebackers a bad name despite their collective excellence.
San Francisco has to hope the Kaepernick who takes the field during the divisional round, conference championship, and Super Bowl is the player who left defensive players at every level bewildered. Then San Francisco49ers playoff tickets will be a chance to see the Super Bowl XLVII champions at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.