Joe Montana made a living off moments like these, especially leading the 49ers to a game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl XXIII. In his 10th NFL start, Kaepernick was getting his shot at a major Montana moment.
Kaepernick got the 49ers in position to win, but he didn't have a John Taylor touchdown-type highlight to end it, throwing incompletions on his last three attempts from the 5-yard line to turn the ball over on downs with 1:46 left, even though a non-call on fourth down will be debated for a long time.
Kaepernick was cool for most of the drive, moving the 49ers in position to win. He picked up a first down right away. He tucked it and ran for eight yards on third and 3.
On the next play Kaepernick delivered a long pass to tight end Vernon Davis, which hit him in the hands and was dropped. It was a beautiful pass and would have been a nice catch by Davis. Kaepernick showed the poise of a veteran, shrugged it right off and made another great throw over the middle to Michael Crabtree that went for 24 yards into Ravens territory. A great, powerful 33-yard run by Frank Gore got the 49ers into the red zone. Even Montana had help from teammates.
On second and goal, Kaepernick had a lot of time, rolled right, and couldn't complete a tight pass to Crabtree. Then the 49ers made a heads up play to save a penalty, calling a timeout just before a delay of game.
On third and goal from the 5-yard line, the 49ers tried a quick flare route to Crabtree, but he was hit and it fell incomplete. Then the 49ers tried a fade route to Crabtree on fourth down, and Kaepernick overthrew him. There was a lot of contact by Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith on Crabtree but no flag was called despite 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh's protests.
For Kaepernick to get the 49ers in position to win showed incredible poise for a young quarterback. He just couldn't finish the drive in a storybook way, like Montana did in the Super Bowl so many years ago.
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