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Throwback Thursday: Colin Kaepernick’s first start

It seems so long ago, but Kaepernick was once a plucky young backup quarterback who had to start in place of his concussed predecessor. The 49ers never looked back.

I’m not sure how much longer I’ll have to use this while Colin Kaepernick is a San Francisco 49er and since the Chicago Bears are this week’s opponent for draft supremacy, it’s a good time to bring up this game. Colin Kaepernick’s first start. Ever.

Bit of backstory here. In the previous week, the 49ers came off a bye and looked like they were still on vacation, struggling against a sluggish Sam Bradford-led Rams to finally give a crowd pleasing tie. Yes, the 49ers tied the Rams. During the game, Alex Smith took a nasty hit that blurred his vision and was promptly yanked for concussion protocol.

Enter: Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick showed some nice things, mostly his running ability, though the 49ers kept the passing game a bit on a leash. All I got were Facebook notifications from the Seattle guys telling me he was the most awkward looking quarterback they had ever seen—and they were kind of right.

Then the announcement came he was starting Monday Night Football. Uh-oh.

Kaepernick was unknown, unproven. He had a pretty impressive career at Nevada but it was in what some called a gimmick offense and the translation to the pros was uncertain. His preseason was decent, but he showed he still had room to grow.

On the Bear’s end, they had Jason Campbell backing them up. No problem, Kap can just hand the ball to Frank Gore and the 49ers’ defense can square things away. That’s not exactly how it happened. Instead, Kaepernick went absolutely bonkers and balled out of his mind. This game has sacks. It has touchdowns, it has Kyle Williams catching dimes?

Yes. Yes it does. The future was bright for Kap after this…or so we thought. A QB controversy began immediately after the game that would inevitably end with Alex Smith losing his job to the second year player (Smith, for what it’s worth, had the 3rd highest passer rating in the league and a 70 percent completion percentage up to that point). Kaepernick then went through some struggles due to experience, but took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in a fun playoff win over the Green Bay Packers and a somewhat hectic NFC Championship over the Atlanta Falcons.

This is where it all began.