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Colin Kaepernick Heats up for 49ers in Green Bay

Posted Jan 5, 2014

The third-year pro demonstrated his toughness, dual talents and emerging play in a 23-20 win over the Green Bay Packers.

GREEN BAY, Wis. – It was cold and then some on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

Colin Kaepernick, however, didn't seem to mind the 5-degree temperature at kickoff of Sunday's NFC Wild Card game at Lambeau Field.

The third-year pro demonstrated his toughness, dual talents and emerging play in a 23-20 win over the Green Bay Packers.

A sleeveless-Kaepernick led the 49ers on a 14-play, 65-yard fourth-quarter scoring drive to set up a 33-yard, game-winning field goal from Phil Dawson. The veteran kicker made three attempts on the day, his first career appearance in the postseason.

“Clutch, tough, great,” Jim Harbaugh said of his quarterback.

PHOTO GALLERY:  49ers vs. Packers

Kaepernick was more than clutch in San Francisco’s playoff win. He was 16 of 30 for 227 yards with one touchdown to go along with a game-high 98 rushing yards on seven carries.

The runs of the 49ers quarterback helped put the visiting team in position to win. He produced the game's longest play from scrimmages, 42-yard run in the first half, setting up his only touchdown pass. Later, Kaepernick used his legs once more to put his team into the next round of the playoffs.

On a 3rd-and-8 from Green Bay’s 38-yard line and the game tied at 20, Kaepernick saw a blitz, evaded the free rusher and dashed around the left edge for a gain of 11.

“The unique part is how much ground he covers with the strides,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve never seen that before. He made some great throws today, some clutch throws.”

Four Frank Gore runs after the 11-yard keeper, San Francisco was in position to attempt the game-winning kick.

“Every yard was valuable,” the 49ers coach said. “We were able to knock it down to the 15-(yard line).”

Kaepernick accounted for 325 of San Francisco’s 381 total yards of net offense.

He did it all with no sleeves on.

Kaepernick’s coach tried to plead with him during the week to practice with sleeves on so he would be warmer in Wisconsin, but the young quarterback felt comfortable in his own skin.

“I’ve played in cold weather games,” Kaepernick said after improving to 3-1 in the postseason as a starter. “It’s more mental than anything.”

Kaepernick joked that the biggest difference from his cold-weather college games at Nevada to a return to his home state, was the sideline gear utilized by the 49ers.

“In Nevada, we didn’t have jackets, beanies or heaters,” Kaepernick said with a grin.

In the first half, Kaepernick warmed up by throwing four times to Michael Crabtree for 70 yards on the opening drive. Although it led to the first of three Dawson field goals, Kaepernick stayed in tune with his fifth-year target for most of the game.

Crabtree led all receivers with eight catches for 125 yards.

In the second quarter, Kaepernick put too much air under a deep corner route for Vernon Davis. The ball was picked off by Packers cornerback Tramon Williams, who lowered shoulder and plowed into Kaepernick for good measure on 17-yard return. 

It was Kaepernick’s first interception since a Dec. 8 game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Kaepernick shrugged it off.

The 49ers led 13-10 at the half and later trailed 17-13 in the third quarter, but the 49ers quartebrack didn’t sweat then either. Instead, he came back at the start of the fourth quarter to fire a perfect 28-yard touchdown pass to Davis on a seam route down the right hashmarks.

It was Davis’ sixth career touchdown in six postseason appearances.

After the Packers tied the game at 20, Kaepernick calmly led the offense down the field on the 14-play scoring drive.

Kaepernick also converted two of the team’s three, third-downs on the drive. First, Kaepernick completed a 17-yard pass to Crabtree and he later secured another set of downs with an 11-yard scamper.

It was as clutch as could be, even cold as ice.


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