SAN FRANCISCO — Strong-armed fill-in Colin Kaepernick made all the right throws, looking every bit a capable NFL No. 1 quarterback.
Kaepernick passed for 243 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start in place of the injured Alex Smith, and the San Francisco 49ers whipped the Chicago Bears 32-7 on Monday night in a highly touted NFC showdown that hardly lived up to the hype.
“It’s everything I could’ve ever wished for,” Kaepernick said. “It feels great just to be out there.”
Kaepernick threw touchdown passes to Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree, and Kendall Hunter ran for a 14-yard score as San Francisco (7-2-1) jumped out to a big lead by scoring on each of its first four possessions — with Aldon Smith wreaking havoc on the other side of the ball with 5 sacks.
Jason Campbell, the other quarterback in this matchup of backups for division leaders, threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall in the third quarter but was sacked five times and threw two interceptions in his first start since October 2011 for Oakland.
He faced fierce pressure all night, on the field for the Bears (7-3) as starter Jay Cutler recovers from a concussion suffered eight days earlier — just like Smith.
After Kaepernick’s stellar night on the big stage, there’s certain to be chatter of a quarterback controversy for the NFC West-leading Niners.
Aldon Smith took over the NFL sacks lead with 15, passing Denver’s Von Miller with 13, with the second-best total in franchise history behind Fred Dean’s six-sack day on Nov. 13, 1983, against New Orleans. Tarell Brown and Dashon Goldson each had an interception for San Francisco’s stingy defense, which shut down Campbell, Matt Forte and Co. three years after the teams last met in a 10-6 49ers home win.
“We were playing our defense, stopping the run and then stopping the pass,” Aldon Smith said. “I was just playing my game and getting after it.”
Kaepernick, Aldon Smith and Hunter sure made general manager Trent Baalke look good for his selections from the 2011 draft class.
The 49ers added a safety in the fourth quarter after a replay review. With 9:24 left, former San Francisco offensive lineman Chilo Rachal was called for intentional grounding out of the end zone, but coach Jim Harbaugh challenged and the review showed Rachal’s knee was down in the end zone before the ball left.
49ers 32, Bears 7
Chicago 0 0 7 0 — 7
San Francisco 10 10 7 5 — 32
SF—FG Akers 32, 10:32.
SF—V.Davis 3 pass from Kaepernick (Akers kick), 6:14.
SF—Hunter 14 run (Akers kick), 12:40.
SF—FG Akers 37, 6:32.
SF—Crabtree 10 pass from Kaepernick (Akers kick), 11:05.
Chi—Marshall 13 pass from Campbell (Gould kick), 3:43.
SF—FG Akers 32, 11:46.
SF—McDonald safety, 9:32.
First downs 12 18
Total Net Yards 143 355
Rushes-yards 28-85 29-123
Passing 58 232
Punt Returns 3-(-1) 4-19
Kickoff Returns 5-126 3-63
Interceptions Ret. 0-0 2-5
Comp-Att-Int 14-22-2 16-23-0
Sacked-Yards Lost 6-49 2-11
Punts 5-46.8 4-47.0
Fumbles-Lost 3-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 6-55 5-50
Time of Possession 30:17 29:43
RUSHING—Chicago, Forte 21-63, Campbell 1-13, Bush 5-9, Allen 1-0. San Francisco, Gore 17-78, Hunter 5-27, Kaepernick 4-12, Dixon 3-6.
PASSING—Chicago, Campbell 14-22-2-107. San Francisco, Kaepernick 16-23-0-243.
RECEIVING—Chicago, Hester 3-23, Forte 3-4, Marshall 2-21, Davis 2-20, Jeffery 2-15, Bush 1-18, Bennett 1-6. San Francisco, V.Davis 6-83, Crabtree 3-31, K.Williams 2-60, Manningham 2-45, Moss 1-12, Walker 1-9, Hunter 1-3.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—None.