Don't believe any of the so-called experts and analysts who are insisting that Colin Kaepernick was nervous, unsure of himself, frightened by the moment and looked like a deer in headlights at the beginning of Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday night.
The reality of the matter is that the former Nevada Wolf Pack quarterback played brilliantly right from the start in the San Francisco 49ers' 34-31 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at the New Orleans Superdome. A close look at all 40 plays in which Kaepernick either threw or ran the ball, reveals that Kaepernick did all he could to bring the 49ers their sixth Super Bowl victory.
His 40 plays consisted of 28 passes, seven runs, three sacks, a pass that resulted in a penalty and a two-point conversion pass.
Kaepernick's 364 total yards (302 passing, 62 rushing) are the eighth most by a quarterback in Super Bowl history. Only four other quarterbacks have ever accounted for more yards in a Super Bowl than Kaepernick and all four - Kurt Warner, Joe Montana, Steve Young and Tom Brady - are either in the Hall of Fame or headed there.
The only seven games in Super Bowl history when the quarterback passed and ran for more yards combined than Kaepernick's 364 yards are:
- Kurt Warner (415 in Super Bowl XXXIV vs. Tennessee, 377 vs. Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLIII, 371 vs. New England in Super Bowl XXXVI).
- Joe Montana (390 vs. Miami in Super Bowl XIX and 370 vs. Cincinnati in Super Bowl XXIII).
- Steve Young (374 vs. San Diego in Super Bowl XXIX).
- Tom Brady (366 vs. Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII).
Only one quarterback (Tennessee's Steve McNair in Super Bowl XXXIV with 64 yards) has run for more yards than Kaepernick (62) in a Super Bowl. And no quarterback ever ran for a touchdown longer than six yards (Joe Montana in Super Bowl XIX) before Kaepernick went for a 15-yard score on Sunday.
Kaepernick also nearly engineered the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history (22 points). No quarterback has ever come back from more than 10 points down.
Kaepernick clearly played and performed brighter than the officials and the outdated Superdome itself.
A close look at all 40 Kaepernick plays . . .
- FIRST HALF
- FIRST DRIVE
- Kap Play 1: On the very first play of the game Kaepernick seizes the moment and completes a 20-yard pass to tight end Vernon Davis. Davis, though, is lined up incorrectly (somewhere Mike Singletary was smiling) and the play is negated.
- Kap Play 2: On 2nd-and-15, Kaepernick's first pass is caught out of bounds by Delaney Walker.
- SECOND DRIVE
- Kap Play 3: Trailing 7-0, on 2nd-and-11 from his own 19, Kaepernick completes a 19-yard pass to Michael Crabtree.
- Kap Play 4: On 3rd-and-1 from the 47, Kaepernick takes off on the run for the first time and gains nine yards.
- Kap Play 5: On the very next play after his 9-yard run, Kaepernick runs for seven yards to the Ravens 37-yard line.
- Kap Play 6: Two plays later, Kaepernick finds Davis on a 24-yard gain to the Ravens 8-yard line. After his first six plays when he either ran the ball or threw it, all four of his passes are caught (albeit one on a penalty and one out of bounds) and his two runs go for 16 yards. Does this resemble a wide-eyed quarterback nervous to be in a Super Bowl?
- Kap Play 7: Incomplete pass to Crabtree on 2nd-and-8 from the 8.
- Kap Play 8: Kaepernick is sacked for a 10-yard loss and the 49ers have to settle for a field goal to cut the Ravens lead to 7-3.
- THIRD DRIVE
- Kap Play 9: Kaepernick completes a 29-yard pass to Davis on first down.
- Kap Play 10: On the very next lay, Kaepernick completes 11-yard pass to Davis for a first down at the Ravens 40. For some reason, the 49ers now stop letting Kaepernick handle the ball himself. They run on three consecutive plays and the third run results in a lost fumble by LaMichael James.
- FOURTH DRIVE
- Kap Play 11: Now trailing 14-3, Kaepernick sails a pass high and over the head of Randy Moss down the middle (images of the Wolf Pack's loss at Hawaii in 2010 come flooding back) and Ed Reed intercepts it. It was an obvious Kaepernick blunder but it should be noted that Moss made no effort to catch the ball, something that wasn't rare for Moss on Sunday.
- FIFTH DRIVE
- Kap Play 12: Still trailing 14-3, Kaepernick gets lucky on 2nd-and-6 from his own 6-yard line as his pass intended for Moss should have been picked off again. Once again, though, Moss doesn't put up much of a fight for the ball.
- SIXTH DRIVE
- Kap Play 13: Now trailing 21-3, Kaepernick completes a 6-yard pass to Crabtree on first down.
- Kap Play 14: On the very next play Kaepernick completes a 14-yard pass to Walker and the Raven's Haloti Ngata is called for roughing the passer.
- Kap Play 15: Kaepernick's pass for Moss falls incomplete. Moss is looking like the guy who quit on the Oakland Raiders a few years back.
- Kap Play 16: On 2nd-and-10 from the Ravens 45, Kaepernick finds Walker again for 28 yards down to the Ravens' 17-yard line with 57 seconds to go before halftime.
- Kap Play 17: Kaepernick connects with Davis for eight yards on first down to the Ravens' 9-yard line.
- Kap Play 18: Kaepernick scrambles for no gain on 3rd-and-2 and the 49ers have to settle for a field goal. Failure to score a touchdown three times when inside the 10-yard line is what killed the 49ers in this game. The Niners trail 21-6 at halftime.
- SECOND HALF
- SEVENTH DRIVE
- Kap Play 19: Now trailing 28-6 after the Ravens' Jacoby Jones returns the second half kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown, Kaepernick completes a 29-yard pass to Crabtree for a first down at the 43-yard line.
- Kap Play 20: Kaepernick is sacked for a 6-yard loss and the Superdome's lights go out for 34 minutes.
- Kap Play 21: Kaepernick completes a 6-yard pass to Walker on the first play after the lights go back on. The 49ers, though, have to punt the ball away on fourth down.
- EIGHTH DRIVE
- Kap Play 22: The 49ers come out in a spread formation and the game immediately changes. Kaepernick now takes over the Super Bowl as he runs for five yards on first down.
- Kap Play 23: On the next play Kaepernick runs for 15 yards to the 40-yard line.
- Kap Play 24: Kaepernick's pass on 2nd-and-8 from the 42 is incomplete to Crabtree.
- Kap Play 25: On 3rd-and-8, Kaepernick finds Moss for a 9-yard pass and a first down with just under eight minutes to play in the third quarter.
- Kap Play 26: On first down from the Ravens' 49-yard line, Kaepernick tosses an 18-yard pass to Davis. The 49ers are moving the ball at will now.
- Kap Play 27: Kaepernick completes 31-yard touchdown pass to Crabtree. Crabtree breaks tackles and scores, cutting the Ravens' lead to 28-13.
- NINTH DRIVE
- Kap Play 28: On first down at the Baltimore 20 after a sensational punt return by Ted Ginn, Kaepernick completes a 14-yard pass to Davis down to the Ravens' 6-yard line. Frank Gore would score on the very next play to cut the Ravens' lead to just 28-20 with five minutes still to play in the third quarter. All of the momentum is now on the 49ers' sideline as the Ravens are playing as if the lights are still out in the Superdome.
- TENTH DRIVE
- Kap Play 29: Everything is now going the 49ers' way. After a Ray Rice fumble gives the 49ers the ball at the Ravens' 24-yard line, Kaepernick's pass to Davis falls incomplete on first down.
- Kap Play 30: On 3rd-and-7 from the Ravens' 21-yard line, a Kaepernick pass falls incomplete, intended for Ginn. The 49ers' David Akers would kick a field goal to cut the Ravens' lead to just 28-23 with 3:14 to go.
- ELEVENTH DRIVE
- Kap Play 31: Now trailing 31-23, Kaepernick finds Moss for a 32-yard pass on second down all the way to the Ravens' 39-yard line.
- Kap Play 32: On first down from the 18-yard line Kaepernick runs for three yards.
- Kap Play 33: Kaepernick makes Super Bowl history, running for the longest touchdown ever by a quarterback (15 yards) to cut the Ravens' lead to just 31-29.
- Kap Play 34: Kaepernick's two-point conversion pass intended for Moss is no good.
- TWELFTH DRIVE
- Kap Play 35: Trailing 34-29, Kaepernick runs for eight yards to the Ravens' 36-yard line.
- Kap Play 36: Kaepernick's pass to Davis is incomplete on first down. Davis lets ball glance off his fingertips on what would have been a long gain.
- Kap Play 37: Kaepernick completes 24-yard pass to Crabtree over middle for first down at Ravens' 40-yard line with 2:47 left to play. Shades of Montana vs. Bengals in 1989 Super Bowl are coming back.
- Kap Play 38: On second down at the Ravens' 5-yard line, Kaepernick's pass to Crabtree on the right side is incomplete.
- Kap Play 39: On third-and-goal from the 5, Kaepernick's pass again to Crabtree on the right side is incomplete.
- Kap Play 40: On fourth down from the 5, Kaepernick's pass sails over the head of Crabtree on right side. Again. 49ers' coach Jim Harbaugh's animated claims that Crabtree was held on the play are ignored by the officials.