Former Wolf Pack quarterback Colin Kaepernick captured the nation's imagination with his 2012 season, taking over the starting job for the San Francisco 49ers, and then leading them to the Super Bowl.
During the off-season, Kaepernick's No. 7 jersey for the 49ers became the NFL's largest seller. He graced the cover of Sports Illustrated's NFL Preview issue. NFL analysts such as Ron Jaworski began to gush about Kaepernick's ability to revolutionize his position.
Sunday, during the 49ers' 2013 season opener against the Green Bay Packers, Kaepernick showed why NFL analysts can't find enough superlatives to describe him, or why NFL fans can't seem to get enough of him, or his story.
In a 34-28 victory over the Packers, Kaepernick became the first 49ers quarterback since 2004 to throw for more than 400 yards. Kaepernick threw for 412 yards and tossed three touchdowns and, as he did in the rain in New England last December against the legendary Tom Brady, out-dueled another of the NFL's finest signal callers in Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers.
Kaepernick's aerial performance was in contrast to his more grounded record-setting effort in January's NFC playoffs against Green Bay. In that game, it was Kaepernick's feet that beat the Packers. He rushed for an NFL quarterback rushing record of 181 yards and ran for two touchdowns (he also threw for 263 yards and two more touchdowns).
Gwen Knapp, the longtime Bay Area sports columnist, writing for "Sports on Earth," put Kaepernick's game on Sunday into perspective.
Wrote Knapp: "Whichever body part he chooses as a weapon, his arm or legs, Colin Kaepernick will make a lot of teams look slow and overmatched. The 49ers' next opponents need to expect that, deal with it and not allow the quarterback to fluster them the way he baited the Packers into emotional quicksand during Sunday's season opener."