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Colin Kaepernick Has Superman-Like Second Half

Posted Jan 12, 2014

The 49ers quarterback, who was the No. 36 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, out-dueled the No. 1 pick that year, Cam Newton.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Colin Kaepernick provided fierce and funny moments against the Carolina Panthers.

The 49ers quarterback, who was the No. 36 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, out-dueled the No. 1 pick that year, Cam Newton, in a 23-10 victory in the NFC Divisional playoffs.

For a third consecutive year, San Francisco will advance to the NFC title game.

GALLERY: 49ers-Panthers in Pictures

Furthermore, Kaepernick became the fourth NFL quarterback to win each of his first three road playoff starts.

Kaepernick competed valiantly in Carolina, completing 15-of-26 passes for 196 yards and one touchdown, plus adding 15 rushing yards and a four-yard rushing touchdown in the second half.

Kaepernick finished the quarterback-designed run with a hybrid celebration. First, he imitated Newton’s “Superman” maneuver, then he accentuated it with the “Kaepernicking” biceps-kissing gesture the football world has seen after everyone one of his rushing scores.

“Just a little shoutout,” Kaepernick said of his memorable moment.

Kaepernick led a pair of key second-half scoring drives in the second half while Newton and the Panthers offense were held out of the end zone.

To start the third quarter, San Francisco’s offense drove down the heart of Carolina’s defense following a three-and-out from the Panthers. Kaepernick completed a 45-yard deep ball to Anquan Boldin and after a fumbled exchange on a hand-off with Frank Gore, Kaepernick kept the ball and darted around the left edge for his four-yard touchdown run.

The slant-and-go throw to Boldin was a key play in the game. Carolina double-teamed Michael Crabtree for most of the game and played aggressively on shorter routes. It bit them badly when Boldin streaked open down the field to set up the only touchdown of the second half.

The first half mirrored the 49ers-Panthers matchup from Week 10. The 49ers led 13-10 after a physical 30 minutes of play.

In fact, it was an absolute slugfest for the first 26-plus minutes of action.

But Kaepernick provided some finesse in the final four minutes of the first half. The 49ers quarterback led a 12-play, 80-yard scoring drive capped by San Francisco’s first touchdown of the year against Carolina – a one-yard toe-dragging touchdown catch by Vernon Davis.

It was initially ruled as an incompletion, sending Jim Harbaugh out on the field to converse with officials about the clocking running down for no reason after the play was ruled as an incompletion.

Harbaugh was flagged for his intrusion, but it didn’t matter. The 49ers scored a touchdown after the ruling on the field was reversed and took a 13-10 halftime lead.

Davis' second score of the postseason was the seventh of his career, tying him among all tight ends in playoff history.

Kaepernick was 5-of-10 passing on the scoring drive for 62 yards, including a key 20-yard ball to Crabtree, who leaped high to catch the high pass down to Carolina’s 29-yard line.

Kaepernick concluded his busy day by posing as a reporter during Boldin’s press conference.

“Anquan,” the 49ers quarterback began, “what was your mentality going into this game?”

The 11-year veteran receiver told his quarterback he’d already answered that one.

“I wasn’t here,” Kaepernick fired back.

Boldin politely responded to his quarterback and then followed it by sticking around for Kaepernick’s media obligation and then said, “I got first question.”

There wasn’t much more to ask after Kaepernick’s performance.

He improved to 4-1 in the playoffs and left the powerful Panthers defense powerless in the process.

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