Jim Harbaugh’s hot hand didn’t play so hot in Sunday’s disappointing loss to the Rams.
Yes, Colin Kaepernick actually looked human. He didn’t throw or run for a touchdown, and the energy he brought to the 49ers in their last two wins didn’t seem to be there against the Rams.
But that’s not a reason for Alex Smith supporters to start banging down the doors at the 49ers facility demanding that Alex Smith be reinstated as the starter. Nor is it a reason for Harbaugh to cave in to public pressure or media pressure to go back to Smith.
Kaepernick’s struggles on Sunday had to be expected. No one seriously expected him not to have a bad game, right? I firmly believe Kaepernick is a better quarterback than Alex Smith and gives the 49ers a better shot at winning the Super Bowl, but I knew a clunker was inevitable. Heck, he might have another dud before the end of the season.
But I’m not going to panic and call for Kaepernick to head back to the bench. He needs to know that Harbaugh has confidence in him. He doesn’t need to look over his shoulder if he plays an uninspiring game like he did on Sunday.
After his costly option fumble, Kaepernick rebounded and drove the 49ers down the field for a go-ahead field goal. It would have been a touchdown if Delanie Walker had some stick’em on his hands.
The Rams had faced Kaepernick already and had two weeks of game film to review. Teams have started to design an effective game plan to stop Kaepernick. Now it’s his job to work with his coaches to make adjustments to counter how defenses are scheming against him.
After the game, Harbaugh had to answer as to whether he’d yank the 2nd-year quarterback and go back to Smith:
“Right now, I feel it will be the same as it was this week. I am proud of Kap. I am proud of the way he played. I thought he did some really good things under heat and duress, and I think he handled himself well. He gave our team a chance to win.”
Monday, Harbaugh reiterated what he made clear on Sunday:
“…Specifically with Colin, thought especially after the fumble touchdown, the way he responded, the way our team responded, again putting ourselves in a position to win after that.”
“Thought he responded with some big throws and some big plays.”
Sorry Alex Smith fans, but Harbaugh isn’t going back to your boy unless he has no option. The only way Smith gets his job back is if Kaepernick gets hurt. As long as Kaepernick is healthy, he’s starting. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the reality of the situation. Kaepernick is Harbaugh’s guy and now that he’s in the game, he’s not coming out.