SAN FRANCISCO 32 CHICAGO 7
Colin Kaepernick won his starting debut so convincingly Monday night that a San Francisco 49ers quarterback controversy could be afoot.
With Alex Smith sidelined by a week-old concussion, Kaepernick aggressively engineered a 20-0 lead and an eventual 32-7 home rout of the Chicago Bears.
The 49ers (7-2-1) now must weigh sitting the freshly minted Kaepernick in favour of Smith, assuming the eighth-year veteran eventually gets clearance from that Nov. 11 concussion.
Next up for the 49ers is a Sunday visit to the New Orleans Saints, who have won five of six since an 0-4 start. The Bears' second straight loss dropped them to 7-3.
Kaepernick, a 2011 second-round draft pick out of Nevada, was 16 of 22 for 243 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 133.1 passer rating. He completed 10 of 12 passes for 178 yards in his first four series, including his first career touchdown pass-a three-yard, play-action strike to Vernon Davis for a 10-0 lead.
Complementing Kaeper-nick's dynamic debut was the 49ers defense, which outshined its more-heralded Chicago counterparts. Aldon Smith produced a career-high 5 sacks to take the NFL lead with 15 this season.
While the Bears entered with a league-high 30 takeaways, they got none against the 49ers. Instead, the 49ers forced two turnovers, on interceptions by Tarell Brown and Dashon Goldson.
Known more for his "WildKap" rushing cameos this season, Kaepernick attacked the Bears with an array of on-target passes.
His progress as a passer showed in the third quarter, when he calmly surveyed the end zone before finding Michael Crabtree for a 10-yard touchdown pass and 27-0 lead.
Kaepernick's halftime line: 12 of 15 for 184 yards, with one touchdown, one sack and a 140.0 passer rating.
It was a precision performance that rivaled Smith's past two outings, when he completed 18 of 19 passes in a 24-3 win at Arizona and 7 of 8 before exiting a 24-24 tie with the St. Louis Rams.
Bears quarterback Jason Campbell, who started in place of a concussed Jay Cutler, made his night more tolerable by ending the shutout bid. Campbell shook off an injury to throw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall with 3: 43 left in the third quarter.
Any outside shot at a Bears comeback ended early in the fourth quarter, when Aldon Smith and Justin Smith shared back-to-back sacks, the final of which yielded a safety.
Former 49ers guard Chilo Rachal recovered a Campbell fumble in the end zone and was downed there by Ray McDonald for the safety.
Kaepernick's first drive as a starting quarterback produced points - a 32-yard field goal from David Akers for a 3-0 lead to cap a nine-play, 68-yard drive. Kaeper-nick completed his first four attempts before overthrowing Davis in the end zone on third-and-oen from the Bears' 14 yard line.
Kaepernick's second series was a quick one, and it produced that initial touchdown pass to Davis, who caught five passes for 72 yards in the first half.
One play before that scoring strike, Kaepernick hit Kyle Williams in stride for a 57-yard completion on third down.
Bolstered by a 32-yard completion to Davis, the 49ers' third drive finished with a 14-yard touchdown run by Kendall Hunter for a 17-0 cushion.
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