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Colin Kaepernick Leads 49ers to the Playoffs

Posted Dec 23, 2013

Colin Kaepernick has led the 49ers to the postseason in his first year as a starting quarterback.

In his first season as a starting quarterback, Colin Kaepernick has led the 49ers back to the postseason.

A 34-24 win over the Atlanta Falcons guaranteed the 49ers will return to the playoffs for a third-straight year.

The Kaepernick-led 49ers came up short in the Super Bowl last season, but the team is now poised to get back to there and get the job done in 2013.

Although Monday night’s win was the final regular season game at Candlestick Park, the 49ers could still host a playoff game as the NFC’s No. 1 seed if they beat Arizona in Week 17 and have help in the form of St. Louis beating Seattle on the road and Atlanta beating Carolina at home.

Kaepernick, however, won’t be scoreboard watching or paying too much attention to other games next week.

“We’re taking it one game at a time,” San Francisco’s young signal-caller said. “We’re trying to string wins together.”

The 49ers put together an impressive comeback win in Candlestick’s regular season finale.

 49ers vs. Falcons

Kaepernick finished the game 13 of 21 for 197 passing yards with one touchdown and a quarterback rating of 108.6. The 49ers are now 12-0 when Kaepernick posts a 100.0 passer rating or better.

San Francisco’s quarterback added 51 rushing yards on six carries and scored on a 4-yard run in the fourth quarter.

However, what turned out to be a productive night didn’t start so fast for the 49ers offense.

It was a slow start to say the least. The 49ers trailed 10-3 at the half and only produced five first downs and 113 yards of offense.

In the third quarter alone, Kaepernick and the 49ers made adjustments. He engineered two scoring drives and San Francisco produced 169 yards of offense. The 49ers finished the game with 379 yards of total offense.

“We just weren’t executing in the first half the way we should have,” Kaepernick, the offensive co-captain said. “We came out in the second half, and we executed.”

On his first drive of the third quarter, Kaepernick connected with Michael Crabtree on a 47-yard passing play. Kaepernick later hit Crabtree for a 19-yard reception to set up a 10-yard Anquan Boldin touchdown catch. Kaepernick had 69 passing yards in the first half and went on to put up 76 yards on the 83-yard scoring drive capped by Boldin’s score.

The 49ers tied the game at 10 on the Boldin touchdown and then marched again to take the lead with a 30-yard Phil Dawson field goal.

Kaepernick added to the lead with his own touchdown run and later audibled at the goal line to give Frank Gore a 2-yard touchdown plunge.

Gore recognized Atlanta’s defense was playing back on a second-and-goal play, so he urged Kaepernick in the huddle to change the play at the line of scrimmage.

The 49ers quarterback obliged.

“That’s one thing I love about ‘Kap,’” Gore said. “He listens to his players, his teammates.”

From there, San Francisco had a memorable finish to the game. The Falcons did not go down quietly.

Atlanta scored a late touchdown and recovered an onside kick while trailing by three points. But the game was quickly wrapped up by NaVorro Bowman’s epic, 89-yard interception return for a touchdown to help preserve the victory.

Now, the 49ers can look to continue Jim Harbaugh’s motto for the 2013 season with a Week 17 road game in Arizona and playoff games to follow.

“Win by any means necessary,” Harbaugh said when asked about the upcoming postseason games. “I think it was a great accomplishment (tonight). It gives you a chance. Being in the playoffs gives you a chance at the ultimate chance and our guys needed this one to do that.”

Gore backed up that thought.

“It took all of us to get the job done,” the franchise rushing leader said. “I think that’s what it’s going to take for us to move forward to get in this tournament.”

The 49ers have punched their cards into the dance. Now, it’s the seeding and opponent that will be determined.


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