NFL Commentary: Could There Now Be A Quarterback Controversy with the San Francisco 49ers?
San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback, Colin Kaepernick made the most of his opportunity against the Chicago Bears.
The National Football League is never short of headlines following each week. Week 11 has turned out to be no different, as this week ended with more intriguing story lines. From the Ed Reed suspension ruling, to Rob Gronkowski's forearm injury on an extra point attempt, there is so much to talk about in regards to the NFL. One of the ongoing story lines this season has been the quarterback controversy within the New York Jets organization regarding Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. After week 11, there may be another QB controversy happening in the NFL. However, this controversy may be taking place across the country in San Francisco.
Last night on ESPN'S "Monday Night Football", the Chicago Bears came into Candlestick Park to take on the San Francisco 49ers. The game was being dubbed the "Backup Bowl". The game was given this title because both teams had backup quarterbacks starting. Chicago Bears starting quarterback, Jay Cutler was ruled out after suffering a concussion the previous Sunday night against the Houston Texans, which left veteran quarterback Jason Campbell to lead the Bears offense. On the flip side of the coin, 49ers starting quarterback Alex Smith was held out of Monday nights game for the same reason as Cutler; a concussion. Smith suffered a concussion during the first half of week 10's game against the St. Louis Rams. 49ers backup Colin Kaepernick relieved Smith, and would lead the team into overtime in a game that ended in 24-24 tie. With Smith out in week 11, Kaepernick was left to lead the 49ers against a tough Bears defense.
Both the Bears and 49ers came into Monday night's game ahead in their respective divisions. With both teams having great defenses, along with two backup quarterbacks playing, many people expected a low scoring game. I'll admit myself that I was one of those people. This assertion turned out to be far from wrong, as the 49ers defeated the Bears 32-7 in a blowout victory. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started in his first NFL game, carved up arguably the best defense in the NFL in the Bears. Kaepernick completed 16 of 23 pass attempts for 243 yards, and two touchdowns. Kaepernick protected the football, and was effective at utilizing tight end Vernon Davis, who has been fairly out of the offensive picture in recent weeks due to teams scheming against him. Before Monday night's game, Kaepernick occasionally would come in and run the wildcat option for the 49ers. Kaepernick, who is in his second year out of Nevada was little known and seldom talked about among NFL fans before this game. However, that has all changed following his impressive performance against the Bears on national television.
Following the dominating win over the Bears, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh stated post game: "I usually goes with the hot hand, and we've got two quarterbacks with hot hands." This statement was viewed by many as having the potential to create a rift within the 49ers locker room. Coach Harbaugh is undoubtedly right though; he indeed does have two capable quarterbacks right now. Regular starter Alex Smith has never been viewed as being an elite quarterback. However, Smith nearly took the 49ers to the Super Bowl last season, and almost set a record for highest completion percentage in a game just two weeks earlier this season. Smith has proven that he can win as a quarterback in the NFL. Colin Kaepernick played well in his first start against a great defense, however, it's exactly what it is -- a first start. Despite his obvious talent and athleticism, Kaepernick is still unproven in big games where a playoff birth, or even the season may be on the line. If Harbaugh decides to stick with Kaepernick, and he produces a couple more games like the one against the Bears, then I'll be sold on Kaepernick running the show down the stretch. However, at this point I think that Alex Smith should be at the helm; that is if he is completely healthy. Jim Harbaugh has yet to decide on who will start next, but I'm certain that it's something NFL fans will wonder about in the coming days. I'm sure the Jets organization appreciates all of the attention being deflected from their quarterbacks at the moment. Don't worry New York, I'm sure Sanchez and Tebow will be at the top of the headlines again in no time.