The finale of Week 11 was not the powerhouse matchup that the NFL world had anticipated. Chicago came to San Francisco with Jason Campbell under center, while Colin Kaepernick got the nod for Jim Harbaugh’s squad.
Kaepernick used his legs quite a bit against the Rams in that strange game against St. Louis in Week 10 that ended in a tie. He rarely needed to motor away from defenders, as the San Francisco offensive line did a fantastic job against the Chicago front seven. Kaepernick had ample time to operate in the pocket and picked apart the Bears. He completed 16-of-23 passes for 243 yards with two touchdowns … AND DID NOT TURN THE BALL OVER.
That’s the bottom line. Kaepernick put on a show against the heretofore impenetrable Chicago defense. Every story and anecdote about Kaepernick’s athletic background and schooling was brought to bear, as there was a ton of storytelling time once that game got out of reach. The final score was 32-7, and it was hardly that close.
Kaepernick brought tight end Vernon Davis back onto the fantasy radar, if only for a night. Davis caught six passes for 83 yards with a touchdown, his first since Week 3. He also read the defense beautifully and bought time for Michael Crabtree to break free on a short touchdown strike early in the third quarter. The early 57-yard pass to Kyle Williams was about as pretty a deep ball as you’ll see.
Jim Harbaugh was quoted as saying he “usually rides the hot hand. And right now, we have two guys with hot hands.” That was enough to light the old “Quarterback Controversy” lamp. The media and fans didn’t need to start that train rolling for this situation.
The guys in the broadcast booth wanted to put Aldon Smith in the Hall of Fame following his dominant performance against a putrid Chicago offensive line. Smith was credited with 5.5 of the six sacks recorded by the 49ers against Jason Campbell. The 49ers intercepted Campbell twice and even recorded a safety that capped the night’s scoring.
San Francisco limited the Bears to a single scoring play, a 13-yard touchdown reception by Brandon Marshall late in the third quarter. It was one of only two receptions that Marshall would record on Monday night, and he finished with a paltry total of 21 yards. Marshall was targeted just four times, tying him with Devin Hester for the team lead.
There was no time for Campbell to operate in the pocket and, just like in Week 10 when he relieved Jay Cutler, Campbell was hesitant to throw the ball. Granted, the offensive line operated as a turnstile.
Suddenly, a Chicago team that was starting to look like a juggernaut and ready to run roughshod over the NFC is floundering. The 49ers employed myriad sets and a ton of motion to keep the Bears off-balance. Next week, the Bears will have to deal with ROBO-back Adrian Peterson and the Vikings.
Oh, and the Packers (the team that defeated Chicago in Week 2) are now tied for the NFC North lead.