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Colin Kaepernick opens 49ers QB controversy with strong performance

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Colin Kaepernick had an impressive performance against the Bears defense, and suddenly the Niners are stuck with another quagmire at quarterback.

Thearon W. Henderson

The San Francisco 49ers were expected to just grin and bear it with Colin Kaepernick taking the place of an injured Alex Smith on Monday night. But now they might have an unexpected quarterback controversy on their hands.

With Smith suffering from a concussion, Kaepernick made the most of his first career NFL start, completing 16-of-23 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns, good for a nifty 133.1 QB rating.

Afterward, coach Jim Harbaugh didn't decide on a starting quarterback yet for next week, saying only, "We'll see," and adding that he tends to go with the "hot hand."

Kaepernick hardly looked like a raw second-year quarterback -- he consistently stood tall in the pocket, went through his reads well, and delivered perfect passes for most of the night. Perhaps his best play came in the first quarter, when he took advantage of Chicago's aggressiveness to throw a beautiful rainbow touchdown to Vernon Davis.

The Niners now have an official quarterback controversy on their hands. Alex Smith has been effective, if limited, in their run-first offense, but Kaepernick offers a whole new dimension with his deep arm and running threat.

The 49ers go on the road to take on the New Orleans Saints in Week 12. We will continue to monitor the QB situation until then.