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Colin Kaepernick Returns to Running Ways

Posted Oct 20, 2013

Colin Kaepernick made big plays with his legs against the Titans, flashing the mobility that made him a household name.

NASHVILLE – It was a long time coming.

Colin Kaepernick dusted off his signature touchdown celebration in the second quarter of a 31-17 win over the Tennessee Titans. He also brought back some of the quarterback-driven run plays that made him a household name.

With San Francisco leading 3-0 in the first quarter, Kaepernick kept the ball on his fourth run out of the team’s pistol formation and found the end zone for the first time as a rusher in 2013.


San Francisco’s athletic signal-caller used his long strides to follow the blocks of Frank Gore and Anquan Boldin into the end zone from 20 yards out. After Kaepernick’s touchdown run, he paused in the end zone, looked up at the crowd at LP Field and held his right pointer finger up for dramatic effect, Kaepernick then proceeded to kiss his biceps.

The “Kaepernicking” celebration 49ers fans had been accustomed to seeing was right there for everyone to behold in the Music City.

Kaepernick said the zone-read running plays presented themselves more against Tennessee than other opponents in previous weeks.

“They were giving us the opportunity with the looks they were giving us,” Kaepernick said after he rushed 11 times for 68 yards.

Jim Harbaugh said the pistol running plays weren’t out of the team’s long-term plans either.

“It’s a great club in our bag,” the 49ers coach said, referring to the diversity of the quarterback-driven run plays.

Kaepernick also made plays in the passing game, finishing 13 of 21 for 199 yards and a quarterback rating of 93.2. San Francisco improved to 9-0 when Kaepernick posts a passer rating of 90.0 or better.

“He’s very talented from both a physical standpoint and a mental standpoint,” Harbaugh said of his quarterback, who helped the 49ers score 30-plus points for a fourth consecutive week, the first time the franchise accomplished the feat since 1998.

At times, the 49ers called two plays into the huddle and Kaepernick had the choice at the line of scrimmage. San Francisco’s quarterback continued to put the team in good situations before the snap. As a result, the offense did not commit any turnovers.


“The best thing we did was not turn the ball over,” Anquan Boldin said after posting a team-leading five catches and 74 receiving yards. “Those are the things that kill you.”

Sunday’s win over the Titans was the first time Kaepernick didn’t complete a touchdown pass in a 49ers win in 2013. It didn’t matter. Kaepernick continued to make clutch throws to Boldin and tight end Vernon Davis, who finished the game with four catches for 62 yards.

“They made my job easy,” Kaepernick said of his top targets. “It’s huge when your players make plays for you. You feel like you have to return the favor."

Many of those clutch catches came on third downs. San Francisco converted 8-of-16 third downs on the day. Kaepernick, too, moved the chains with his legs.

Perhaps Kaepernick was at his best in the second quarter of the win. The 49ers quarterback picked up 61 passing yards and 41 rushing yards in the second quarter alone. The 49ers built a 17-0 lead at the half and led by 14 or more throughout the remainder of the game.

Next up, Kaepernick and the 49ers will travel to London, England to face the Jacksonville Jaguars as part of the NFL’s International Series.

Kaepernick didn’t sound ready to sightsee one bit.

“We need another win before the bye week,” he said.