It was a rough day at the office for Colin Kaepernick Sunday night when San Francisco hosted Chicago in the 49ers’ first regular season game at Levi’s Stadium.
A blown first half lead, penalties galore, and four turnovers. It wasn’t the start to a new chapter at a new home that the 49er faithful had hoped for, and it was a far cry from Kaepernick’s debut as San Francisco’s starting quarterback in 2012 where he torched the Bears for 243 passing yards and two touchdowns on Monday Night Football.
Sure, he threw for slightly more yards on Sunday with 248 passing yards, but he was responsible for all four of San Francisco’s turnovers with three interceptions and one lost fumble. And in the end, the only numbers that matter is the 28-20 final score.
Kaepernick’s supporting cast came to his defense after the game. The blame was shared among the team with head coach Jim Harbaugh insisting they all had finger prints on the loss, but it was easy to see, both on and off the field, that Kaepernick felt culpable.
“Terrible,” Kaepernick said as he rated his performance after the game.
It wasn’t Kaepernick’s worst performance as San Francisco’s quarterback, but it was close. Still, to place the loss squarely on the Turlock native’s shoulders would be a mistake. After all, Kaepernick wasn’t on the defensive unit that allowed 21 points in the fourth quarter, nor was he responsible for covering Bears receiver Brandon Marshall who practically won the game single handedly with three touchdown receptions.
In the end, the Bears should be given credit for the win rather than San Francisco taking blame for the loss.
“He threw some pretty darn good balls that got intercepted,” Harbaugh said of Kaepernick.
“I made the throws I wanted to and they made plays on the ball,” Kaepernick said. “I’m not going to say I felt good about the game or what I did, but as far as my decision, I mean I saw the coverages and I went where I wanted to with the ball. We just didn’t make the plays; I didn’t make the throws.”
Losses, upsets, and poor performances happen in the NFL; they’re to be expected. There’s no doubt Kaepernick lost some of his composure during the course of Sunday’s game—highlighted by his shove of Bears defensive end Lamarr Houston and the subsequent flag for inappropriate language, a first in league history—but the true test, for both Kaepernick and the team as a whole, will come next week against the Arizona Cardinals.
How will the 49ers respond to what many have called an implosion against the Bears? Can Kaepernick redeem himself with a solid performance and make Sunday a distant memory? Only after San Francisco travels to Arizona to face their talented, and undefeated, division rival can Sunday’s letdown to Chicago be put into perspective.