Heading into Super Bowl XLVII, we've decided to take a look back at the San Francisco 49ers 2012 team by position. We've got different writers looking at the different positions, and rather than go with a template, we're going with what suits each writer.
The quarterback position in the Bay Area was an appealing story line this year, not just for 49ers fans, but also for the NFL.
After an awe-inspiring turnaround in 2011, the Niners began the 2012 season with Alex Smith behind center. His performance under the tutelage of Jim Harbaugh and his new staff of position coaches and coordinators was night and day from pre-2011 Alex Smith.
Last 2 years starting for Alex Smith:64% completion,30 TDs, 10 INTs, QB Rating 95.— Jason Anderson (@J680Anderson) January 20, 2013
This season, Smith went 6-2-1 as a starter with non-wins coming against the Vikings, Giants and Rams. Smith then sustained a concussion in Week 10 at Candlestick Park when Rams linebacker Jo Lon Dunbar hit him awkwardly.
This was the play that would alter the 49ers' season.
After finishing the drive with a touchdown, Smith had to sit for the rest of the game, diagnosed with a concussion. This opened a window for Colin Kaepernick to finish the game and eventually get the start the following week against the Chicago Bears.
In Week 11, the 49ers were scheduled for prime time against a then 7-2 Bears team. There was concern the week leading up to that game. Smith didn't appear ready to go and Chicago was touting a red-hot defense.
Even though he received more reps during the week, Kaepernick was a last-minute start. He would get his first career start on national television against a very polished defensive unit. It is fair to assume that most quarterbacks in this situation would not fare too well.
Kaepernick stepped in from minute-one and executed this offense flawlessly against Chicago. The Bears were utterly stunned by this two-dimensional super freak athlete that they had no prior game film on. He lit this defense up with his arm, throwing strikes all over the field and connecting with all his receivers.
It was a brilliant statement performance by Kaepernick and it officially ignited the QB controversy.
After weeks of deliberating and shunning the media, Jim Harbaugh announced that Colin Kaepernick would be the starter heading into the second game against the Rams. "This is one of those decisions that you make as the head coach," said Harbaugh. He said they had confidence in both Alex and Colin, but the team would proceed with "the hot hand," which was Kaepernick.
Kaepernick went on to amass a 7-2 record in nine starts, including the postseason. His most notable wins came against the Bears, Saints, Patriots and Packers. In his nine starts, the second-year man had a 90-plus passer rating in 7 games. He has also accounted for 17 total touchdowns and four interceptions in that time.
Depending on how Super Bowl Sunday goes, fans might really start comparing Jo Lon Dunbar to Mo Lewis.
Want to join the Niners Nation discussion? Register for free (no spam!). Make sure and follow us on Twitter @ninersnation and Like us on Facebook to get the full experience in what hopefully leads to Lombardi No. 6 in New Orleans!