Jan 2, 2014, 5:39 PM PST
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.
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:
Maiocco: Instant Replay: 49ers 45, Packers 31
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