San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) celebrates with tackles Joe Staley (74) and Anthony Davis (76) after a 49ers touchdown against the Chicago Bears at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defeated the Bears 32-7. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
As if Alex Smith wasn't already wishing he had been cleared to start Monday night, now he's got to deal with shaky job status as the starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers thanks to Colin Kaepernick.
Filling in for Smith, who suffered a concussion last week, Kaepernick sent a clear message during the 49ers' 32-7 trouncing of the Bears that he's capable of leading the team.
In just his first career start, Kaepernick was 16 of 23 for 246 yards and two touchdowns, looking comfortable throughout the night while making some serious throws.
All of which caught the attention of 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.
"Thought Colin did an outstanding job," Harbaugh said during his postgame news conference. "Thought he did a great job. Poise in the pocket, throwing with accuracy, did a nice job running the game plan. Everything he did was just exemplary."
The question on the mind of every 49ers fan afterward: Is Kaepernick the new starting quarterback?
"We'll see," Harbaugh said. "Usually tend to go with the guy who's got the hot hand, and we've got two quarterbacks that have got a hot hand."
And with that, ladies and gentlemen, we've got a QB controversy in San Francisco.
Harbaugh clearly has been the biggest believer in Smith, so for him not to get an immediate seal of approval from Harbaugh is a bit stunning. At the same time, though, how could Harbaugh ignore what happened Monday night? And it's not like Kaepernick picked apart a lowly defense. It was the Bears -- ranked fifth overall and the most opportunistic unit in the NFL.
Speaking bigger picture, let's not forget Harbaugh and Co. traded up in the second round last year to draft Kaepernick because they felt good about his potential.
Yeah, this won't be easy to figure out. Or maybe it will. Hey, look, the fog is rolling in on the Golden Gate Bridge!
By Simon Samano