by Pat Imig
Cold Hard Football Facts Tattoo Remover (@patrickimig)
In his second season as starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick joined Ben Roethlisberger and Mark Sanchez (rare company, not elite) as the only quarterbacks in history to reach the conference championship game in each of their first two seasons.
Unfortunately for Kaepernick and the 49ers, that's where the history ends, at least for now. Kaepernick was good early and bad-ugly horrible late.
On Sunday, he completed 14/24 passes for 153 yards, with one touchdown, two interceptions and one lost fumble. He also rushed 11 times for 130 yards
When it mattered most in the fourth quarter, Kaepernick played his worst.
The 49ers three fourth quarter possessions ended with a Kaepernick fumble, Kaepernick interception and a game-clinching Kaepernick interception in the corner of the end zone.
Three possessions, three turnovers, one sour defeat.
The terrible fourth quarter for Kaepernick also included a sack and a delay-of-game penalty.
Including this postseason, Kaepernick threw five interceptions against the Seahawks compared to five interceptions against the rest of the league.
This isn't an isolated incident, either.
In four career games against Seattle, Kaepernick has struggled horribly. He's completed 61/117 passes (52 percent) for 699 yards, 3 TD and 7 INT. Do the math and you'll find that Kaepernick averages less than six yards per pass attempt (5.9).
The bright spot for Kaepernick on Sunday was the ground game. While he had previously been bottled up on the ground against Seattle (25 rushes for 149 yards, zero TD), he peeled off 11 carries for 130 yards.
COLIN KAEPERNICK: NFL PLAYOFF RUSHING MONSTER
For the 49ers to go into Seattle and win, quarterback Colin Kaepernick had to make plays with his arm … and his legs. Kaepernick did the latter, with a 58-yard run in the second quarter that set up Anthony Dixon and the 49ers first touchdown.
All told, Kaepernick finished with 11 carries for 130 yards. In so doing, he surpassed Donovan McNabb, Roger Staubach and John Elway on the list for most rushing yards by a quarterback in postseason history, trailing only Steve Young.
Steve Young: 22 Postseason Games, 594 Rushing Yards (27.0 Yards Per Game)
Colin Kaepernick: 6 Postseason Games, 507 Rushing Yards (84.5 Yards Per Game)
John Elway: 22 Postseason Games, 461 Rushing Yards (21.0 Yards Per Game)
Roger Staubach: 20 Postseason Games, 432 Rushing Yards (21.6 Yards Per Game)
Donovan McNabb: 16 Postseason Games, 422 Rushing Yards (26.4 Yards Per Game)
As you can see, Kaepernick, at his current pace, will shatter the postseason rushing record for quarterbacks if he can make it back to the postseason. With good health, there is little reason to believe he won't.
It won't matter for the 49ers, however, if he fails to grow and mature out of the turnover phase.
PLAYOFF RECEPTIONS MONSTER ANQUAN BOLDIN No. 11 ALL TIME
Boldin caught five passes for 53 yards and a touchdown. His 66 career postseason receptions rank No. 11 all time, one behind Hall of Famer Art Monk for No. 10 on the list.
Five receptions against Seattle's No. 1 pass defense is no small accomplishment, especially when you consider Seattle's defense only allowed nine completions to the rest of the team.
That created problems for the 49ers on third down. The team converted just three-of-11 third down attempts.
Also creating problems: the 49ers run game sans Kaepernick. Frank Gore carried 11 times for 14 yards and San Francisco's four running backs combined for 31 yards on 17 carries.
49ERS DEFENSE THROTTLES RUSSELL WILSON; STILL LOSE
San Francisco sacked Russell Wilson four times but couldn't rattle him. The 49ers recovered a Wilson fumble on the opening play of the game and netted three points.
But it didn't phase Wilson, now 17-1 at home in his career, including the postseason. Wilson finished with a 104.3 Passer Rating thanks to 16/25 passing for 216 yards and one touchdown.
SUPER BOWL XLVIII
Time to open up the cliche bank. The No. 1 offense in history vs. the No. 1 defense in the league this season is truly a battle between the irresistable force and immovable object.
Hopefully the lights will stay on for the whole game this time.