"75 for 75" is an article series from the 49ers Museum highlighting legendary moments in 49ers history as part of the team's 75th Anniversary celebrations in 2021.
January 12, 2013
Colin Kaepernick burst into the national spotlight when he ravaged the Green Bay Packers with one of the greatest quarterback playoff performances in NFL history. Appearing in his first NFL postseason game, Kaepernick upstaged Packers Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers by recording over 440 yards of total offense in the 49ers 45-31 victory.
"That was a special performance," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said after the game. "Colin didn't blink. He handled the pressure extremely well. He made some great reads at the line of scrimmage. You saw those runs. Very special."
Kaepernick shredded Green Bay's defense in every conceivable way. He posted 263 yards through the air and 181 yards on the ground, the most rushing yards ever accumulated by a quarterback in a single NFL game. Kaepernick averaged 11.3 yards per run and over 15 yards per pass completion.
Those gaudy final statistics were accumulated despite a rocky start. Kaepernick's second pass of the game was intercepted and returned 52 yards for a touchdown by Green Bay cornerback Sam Shields. Kaepernick shrugged it off.
On the 49ers next possession, he went to work and guided the club 80 yards in eight plays. After connecting with running back Frank Gore on a 45-yard completion, Kaepernick finished the drive with his own 20-yard scoring sprint.
Early in the second half, Kaepernick earned a spot on the NFL's all-time highlight reel and caused defensive coordinators around the league to watch in wide-eyed amazement when he ran a read option and found a seam down the right sideline. Kaepernick shifted into fifth gear and blew past Packers defenders as if they were stuck in quicksand, sprinting 56 yards untouched to the end zone. The score provided the 49ers with a 31-24 advantage and they never looked back.
"We've seen what Kap can do in practice," 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis said in a postgame interview. "But to see that in a playoff game is amazing. You don't see a quarterback run the way he runs, man. His burst of speed is remarkable."
"He was running all over the field that night," Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers recalled. "He throws the ball well and runs the ball extremely well. We didn't really have a whole lot of answers for him."