COHN: Superman suits up for 49ers
Published: Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 8:25 a.m.
SAN FRANCISCO — Excuse me, but I was laboring under a misapprehension. I thought Superman was make-believe, a character from comic books, TV shows and the movies.
That was before I saw Colin Kaepernick play Saturday night against the Green Bay Packers, who, I'm sure, never saw anything like him. It's true that Superman in the comics has blue hair and wears those funny pajamas, but aside from that small difference Kaepernick is a real-life Superman. He can leap tall buildings in a single bound and he sure can play quarterback.
He was the best athlete on the field Saturday night in the 49ers' 45-31 whipping of the Packers. He also was the most exciting athlete on the field, Aaron Rodgers included.
If you want to know the truth, Kaepernick took over the game single-handedly, although the word single-handedly is not quite correct. He certainly used his right hand, but he also used his feet. He broke the record for rushing by a quarterback in a single game, playoff or otherwise, ending up with 181, which is, well, superhuman. You certainly should call this game the Colin Kaepernick game just for sheer bulk. He accounted for 444 yards.
He may be the best athlete ever to play quarterback. He is unique in ways that Joe Montana and Steve Young weren't. Not better, just unique — although he may turn out to be better.
Here's an example of what he did. In the third quarter with the game tied at 24 and the Niners at their own 44-yard line, Kaepernick took the snap and faked a handoff. Then he ran right out of the crowd. Such running. He lifted his knees high, and his stride was long and he ran away from the defenders as if they were mortal and he was a superior species.
I could tell you more wonderful things he did — things with that golden right arm. But I'd like to introduce a wrinkle. Kaepernick is, after all, inexperienced and sometimes he makes mistakes. Bear with me while I list a few mistakes he made while murdering the Packers.
In the very first drive, he threw a pick-six crummy pass. And just like that the Niners were down 7-0 and you might have thought the moment was too big for Kaepernick — wait till next year, kid.
But the 49ers got the ball and he led an 80-yard TD drive which included, among other wonders, a 45-yard pass to Frank Gore, a little pop fly he lofted over a frantic Charles Woodson. Which means Kaepernick has touch. Of course, he ended the drive by running 20 yards for a TD.
In the second quarter, he made a horrible mistake. He gained 15 yards on a keeper, but after the play he taunted Green Bay players and lost the 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. So the net gain was zilch. Bad Colin. Two plays later, he hit Michael Crabtree for a touchdown. Good Colin.
And he had the usual trouble minding the clock and didn't get some plays in fast enough. We've seen that before, not that it mattered in the end.
So, we can draw the obvious conclusion that Good Colin played so well he was able to overcome Bad Colin. Only Superman could do that.
I'll tell you something else. Kaepernick took over the game like Alex Smith never could. I am not anti-Smith and, yes, Smith played great in last year's playoff against the Saints. It's just that Smith is not Superman. And Jim Harbaugh, whose mind works in mysterious ways, saw the extraterrestrial in Kaepernick and made the quarterback switch even though some common mortals bellyached about it.
Harbaugh saw how Kaepernick runs and throws and reads defenses. And he knew Kaepernick was something special and he'd be nuts not to grab onto Kaepernick and ride him right into the playoffs.
After the game, the 49ers players were happy to talk about Kaepernick. Patrick Willis had this to say: “You see a quarterback run the way he runs, it's unbelievable. You see it in a game, it amazes me.”
Call that your standard praise quote. Now we move over to Ricky Jean Francois, the poet laureate of the Niners. I asked Jean Francois how Kaepernick is like Superman. I knew Jean Francois would be all over that.
“He does it all,” Jean Francois said, warming to the subject. “He can run the ball. He can throw it. He can jump. He can fly. On one play, he did fly. Plus, he got the weapons around him. He got Batman. He got Robin. It's like the Avengers. He got everyone with him.”
Me: “Who's Batman and who's Robin?”
Jean Francois: “I don't know what to say. He's got so many weapons. Who you call Robin?”
Jean Francois: “Who's Batman?”
Jean Francois: “What about Vernon Davis? What about Randy Moss. What about Delanie Walker? Look, if you got Spiderman, he might be Randy or Vernon. It's hard to say. Colin's Superman, but the rest are just the Avengers.
Thanks to Ricky Jean Francois for putting the 49ers's superheroes into the proper perspective. An inside source on the 49ers told me Harbaugh sweeps the facility for Kryptonite every Monday. He can't afford to take chances where Superman is concerned.
(For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at email@example.com.)
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