Colin Kaepernick became the first 49ers quarterback to ever lose a Super Bowl. But, in a dazzling and daring second half, he showed that he has everything it takes to win one.
So world, be warned.
What initially looked like a Super Bowl embarrassment for the 49ers instead ended up being a heartbreaking last-minute loss. After rallying, the 49ers were in position to take the lead, but three passes to Michael Crabtree fell incomplete.
And the world wondered: why didn't Kaepernick run the ball in from the 5-yard line? Why was the 49ers' most dangerous weapon taken out of the equation with the Super Bowl on the line?
After the two-minute warning, the 25-year-old from Turlock walked calmly back to the huddle. He appeared to be cool Colin, looking every bit like a man ready to join Joe Montana and Steve Young as 49ers Super Bowl legends.
But the 49ers had called both the third- and fourth-down plays coming out of a timeout with 1:55 left. And both were passes to the right to Crabtree. Crabtree appeared to be held on the 49ers' final offensive play, but there was no call. Head coach Jim Harbaugh complained bitterly, but the officiating crew, which had a shaky day overall, didn't throw a flag.
The Ravens took over and held on for a 34-31 victory. The loss was the first in 49ers Super Bowl history.
Just five yards separated Kaepernick and legend status, a distance he could cover in one long stride.
The fact that the Super Bowl ended with a Kaepernick question mark was fitting for a mysterious and intriguing game.
On the 49ers' first drive of the second half, trailing 28-6, Kaepernick looked awkward, out of sorts. Rolling out of the pocket he stumbled, tripped up by big defensive lineman Arthur Jones for a six-yard loss.
And then the lights went out.
For 34 minutes of confusing, irritating darkness, Kaepernick sat on the bench. And waited for his second chance to make things right.
When the power came back on and the third quarter resumed, a light clicked on within Kaepernick as well. He was a different quarterback.
His passes were crisper. He moved with more confidence. He launched a beautiful pass for Crabtree, who couldn't hang on, then connected with Randy Moss. And then Kaepernick found Crabtree, who ran 15 yards after the catch and into the end zone.
Kaepernick shows he has the right stuff
San Francisco Chronicle | Feb 4