Over the past five plus years, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith has been perhaps the most maligned athlete in the entire Bay Area. And now, because of injury, he may have lost his job for good.

Backup Colin Kaepernick got the start on Monday as Smith was out with a concussion. And last year’s second round pick did not disappoint. Kaepernick threw strikes all over the field, finishing the night 16-23 for 243 yards and two touchdowns in San Francisco’s 32-7 stomping of Chicago. What made the performance even more impressive is the fact that it came against the Bears, widely considered one of the Top 5 defenses in the NFL this season.

Kaepernick showed poise throughout the game, made throws that most analysts believe Alex Smith could not make and overall, seemed to have the backing of his coach and team.

“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,” said head coach Jim Harbaugh after Monday’s game.

Tight end Vernon Davis was a bit more blunt in his assessment after one of his better games of the season. “It felt like somebody took the handcuffs off,” he said.

This may be a moot point at least for this week’s game against the New Orleans Saints as Smith has still not been cleared by doctors. But the question everyone is asking – should Harbaugh make the switch permanently and does Kaepernick give them a better chance to reach their ultimate goal of a Super Bowl victory? A story to watch over the remainder of the NFL season for Bay Area fans.



Photo Credit: San Francisco 49ers