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TBT: Kaepernick’s record-setting day against the Packers

Jan 2, 2014, 5:39 PM PDT

Colin Kaepernick became a household name after a record-setting performance against the Packers. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

Colin Kaepernick led the San Francisco 49ers to a 5-2 record after taking the starting quarterback job from Alex Smith, but he didn’t emerge as a star in the National Football League until Jan. 12, 2013. On that day, he shredded the Green Bay Packers defense for 444 yards and four touchdowns.

Kaepernick was born in Wisconsin and grew up a fan of the Packers. He ended up dismantling his boyhood team with ruthless aggression. Prior to kickoff, many wondered if a mid-season quarterback switch was the right call. They wondered if Kaepernick was ready to handle the pressures of the postseason. It didn’t take too long to find the answer.

The end results were spectacular, but the game didn’t start well for Kaepernick. His second pass of the day was picked off and returned 52 yards for a touchdown. Instead of coming unhinged, he settled in and helped orchestrate a 45-31 victory to advance the 49ers to a second consecutive NFC Championship game.

[RELATED: Packers have seen best of Kaepernick in past two meetings]

Most of the damage was inflicted on the ground. Kaepernick ran for 181 yards, which is a single-game postseason record for a quarterback. The fleet-footed signal caller broke a 56-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and opened the 49ers’ scoring with a 20-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

“I didn’t know how fast he was,” former Packers defensive back Charles Woodson told the Associated Press. “Coming in I really never paid attention to it. But he is fast.”

The Packers defense couldn’t stop the 49ers on the ground, and if they tried, they’d get burned through the air. Kaepernick hit Michael Crabtree for two touchdowns and finished the day with 263 passing yards. Like Kaepernick, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers grew up rooting for the team he opposed on that day. The 2011 MVP and Super Bowl-winning quarterback garnered most of the attention before the game, but it quickly became Kap’s show.

Relive the moment: 

Ratto: Kaepernick runs wild with limelight

Maiocco: Instant Replay: 49ers 45, Packers 31

Maiocco: Roman at forefront of 49ers’ offensive stars

The Photo Gallery

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Candlestick Park lit up for the second round of the playoffs, where Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers hosted Bay Area-product Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
(USA TODAY IMAGES)

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The Packers got out to a fast start, as Sam Shields intercepted Colin Kaepernick’s second pass attempt and took it to the house to give Green Bay a 7-0 lead.
(USA TODAY IMAGES)

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Colin Kaepernick made up for his early mistake by taking it himself for a 20-yard TD run to tie the game, 7-7.
(USA TODAY IMAGES)

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One of his two first-half touchdowns, Michael Crabtree caught a 12-yard bullet from Kaepernick for a score in the second quarter.
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Michael Crabtree hauled in his second TD of the first half, earning some yards after the catch in the process. (AP)

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James Jones hauled in this unreal grab to continue the drive that eventually led to a TD catch and a 21-21 tie game in the second quarter.
(USA TODAY IMAGES)

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After the Packers tied the game at 24 in the third quarter, Kaepernick did it himself, taking a 56-yard run to the end zone and giving the 49ers a 31-24 lead. (AP)

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The Kaepernick-to-Crabtree connection was alive and well Saturday night. (AP)

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Frank Gore was called upon to control the game on the ground in the final quarter, and he tacked on a TD for good measure.
(AP)

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The 49ers defeated the Packers 45-31 to advance to the NFC Championship for the second year in a row. (AP)

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Jim Harbaugh took a risk when he started Kaepernick over Smith midway through the season, but he was rewarded on Saturday with another trip to the NFC Championship. (AP)

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