The San Francisco 49ers are off to the divisional round of the playoffs, and while there are tons of factors that went into their 23-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, quarterback Colin Kaepernick stands out. In fact, Kaepernick has stood out every time the 49ers have played the Packers in recent seasons.
San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh is 4-0 against the Packers and Kaepernick has been his quarterback for three of those games. On Sunday, Kaepernick had a so-so game throwing the football, with 16 completions on 30 attempts for 227 yards with one touchdown and an interception. But he made a difference on the ground.
Kaepernick kept the ball seven times and put up 98 yards on the ground. On three of San Francisco's final four drives, Kaepernick rushed for 16 yards on a first down, converted a 3rd-and-short with a 24-yard rush and converted a 3rd-and-long for 11 yards to extend the final drive, which ended with a game-winning field goal.
Sure, he underthrew some passes -- he missed a wide open Vernon Davis on more than one occasion -- but Kaepernick came through when the game was on the line, and that's what was important. On the aforementioned last drive of the game, Kaepernick also used his legs to escape the pressure and find Michael Crabtree for a 17-yard reception and a first down.
Extending that final drive to give that field goal more of a chance was a huge deal given the conditions that game was being played in.
Earlier this season, the 49ers bested the Packers in Week 1, though that time it was Kaepernick's arm that made the difference. Green Bay, having spent the offseason in a highly-publicized search for methods to beat the read option, was locked onto the run and Kaepernick only rushed for 22 yards in that game. But he found Anquan Boldin 13 times for 208 yards and completed 27 of 39 passes for 412 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
In fact, there was actually very little read option in that game. Maybe the Packers' tough talk worked, or perhaps Harbaugh and San Francisco offensive coordinator Greg Roman didn't want to take the chance. Whatever the case, Kaepernick shredded the Green Bay secondary and got the 49ers' regular season started with a win.
His biggest game against the Packers was in the divisional round of last year's playoffs, though. In that game, Kaepernick threw for just 263 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, but broke the single-game record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 16 carries for 181 yards and two touchdowns.
Searching for pictures of that game will bring up tons of snapshots of Kaepernick holding the ball and running, with three or four Packers players chasing him from behind. It certainly felt like that was all that game truly featured in the end.
In all, Kaepernick has accounted for 301 rushing yards against the Packers in three games. In total with rushing and passing, he's put up 1,203 yards and eight touchdowns. Do keep in mind that Kaepernick grew up a Packers fan.