OK, maybe the Niners had a quarterback controversy on their hands at some point on Monday night, perhaps in the first quarter. But after the team's opening drive of the second half, punctuated by this 10-yard touchdown strike to Michael Crabtree, I think they simply had a new quarterback.
Colin Kaepernick is the man — and don't just take my word for it. Check the postgame comments from tight end Vernon Davis, from the Mercury News:
"Colin is the man," Davis said. "I think Colin did a great job. I'm very proud of him. I take my hat off to him because he did some great things today."
These were a few of Crabtree's thoughts, via Yahoo!'s Michael Silver:
"It's no secret, bro — that dude can play ball," Crabtree said. "It was too much for them. Colin's a baller. That's one dude I know I don't have to worry about."
If we're even pretending there's a controversy here, that's just a nod of respect to Alex Smith, who was sidelined by a concussion.
Kaepernick faced one of the league's elite defenses on Monday, under the prime time lights, and he was absolutely dominant. It was almost unfair. He feasted, finishing with 243 yards and two scores, going 16-for-23 through the air. And the numbers would have been better had the game been at all competitive. San Francisco delivered an all-phases beat-down against the Bears, and Kaepernick was exceptional.
We already knew the second-year QB could run a little — he's carried 25 times this season for 189 yards and three scores — but he put on a passing clinic versus Chicago, while running a non-gimmicky offense. He completed 12 of his first 14 throws, and it was tough to fault the zip or the ball-placement or the decision-making.
Following the game, Coach Harbaugh sidestepped an opportunity to back Smith as his Week 12 starter:
"We'll see. I usually tend to go with the guy who's got the hot hand, and we've got two quarterbacks that have got a hot hand."
Smith has actually completed 25 of his last 27 throws for 305 yards and four touchdowns, so, well, yeah ... his hand is, indeed, hot. Perhaps he's even played his way into unbenchable status. If he's cleared by doctors to face the Saints on Sunday, then Harbaugh can definitely make a stats-based case to start him.
But the case for Kaepernick seems clearer. Let's recall that the kid was targeted, drafted and developed by the current Niners' staff, and not necessarily for a supporting role. It's awfully tough to sit a player who just delivered in such a massive way, on the biggest stage, against the toughest opponent.
I'll be adding Kaepernick in a league or two (or more) this week, just on the possibility that he'll draw the start at New Orleans. There's a wide range of potential outcomes here, but the match-ups don't get much friendlier. The Saints rank 31st in the league against the pass (305.0 YPG allowed) and dead-last against the run (157.8).
I'm prepared to endorse the official Evans forecast, which is not exactly a common occurrence.
So here's hoping the CK era is upon us. He's no doubt already rostered in two-QB formats (and leagues without a waivers process), but he remains unowned in 94 percent of the Yahoo! universe. If you've been using a platoon approach at quarterback this year — or you drafted Rivers, Cam, Big Ben or Vick — place a bid. Now. Do it. This sort of dual-threat ability doesn't hit the fantasy radar every week.