When the San Francisco 49ers faced the Green Bay Packers, their biggest x-factor was Colin Kaepernick. In his first postseason start of his career, he faced a tough test at home. While impressive during the regular season, no one could predict how he would play against the NFC North champs.
Needless to say, Kaepernick had a historic showing on Saturday night at Candlestick Park with a record-breaking performance.
In a game that was closely-contested until the middle of the third quarter, it was Kaepernick’s 56-yard touchdown run that prompted the 49ers’ 21 unanswered points. At the end of the day, his efficiency with the read-option helped him record 181 rushing yards on 16 carries and gave him the highest yardage total by a quarterback in NFL playoff history. His rushing total also helped him break the franchise’s playoff record by 46 yards over Roger Craig’s previous record.
His monumental performance in the playoffs really showcased what he can provide for the San Francisco offense. Despite the inexperience and early miscue in which a pass was picked off and returned for a touchdown by Sam Shields, Kaepernick remain composed and motivated for success. His dual-threat capabilities are what also allowed a big game by Frank Gore, who had a fine day himself with 119 yards.
While the defense, special teams and the offensive line all contributed in their own ways, Kaepernick’s contributions were truly the most important for the team’s success. When watching the quarterback play of other teams this weekend, no teams, aside from possibly the New England Patriots, looked more dangerous on offense.
Looking forward to the NFC Championship Game against the Atlanta Falcons, the 49ers will certainly rely on the shoulders of Kaepernick once again. Seeing how dominant he was against a respectable Packers defense, the team will likely need another big game from him if they want to find themselves in the Super Bowl this season.
Austin Chang is a Writer for Sports Out West and a San Francisco Bay Area-based sports journalist. His work can also be found on Yahoo! Sports and Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @_austinchang.