With a brutal two-game road stretch for the San Francisco 49ers that starts in New England on Sunday night, Colin Kaepernick faces his biggest game of his young career. After the last two games in which the 49ers offense has looked less than stellar, Kaepernick will need to be at the top of his game for the 49ers to win on Sunday night.
For Kaepernick, the game against the Patriots is an opportunity to cement himself as the starting quarterback for the 49ers not only for the rest of the season, but for years to come. If he can beat the Patriots on the road, he is the undisputed man under center for San Francisco. If the 49ers lose and Kaepernick plays poorly, we can expect the talk of who should be the starter at QB to continue.
Kaepernick will only be making his fifth start of his career by heading into New England where the Patriots have won the last 20 home games in December. The Patriots recently demolished the AFC’s best team (Houston Texans) this past Monday night, so they will be ready for primetime. Heading into Tom Brady’s turf on National TV is a tall task for any quarterback, but for Kaep it will even be tougher because he has not been in a big game situation before like he will be against the Patriots.
This will be a huge test for Kaepernick to see if he has the mentality and the skills to go into New England and leave with a victory. Kaep’s first start of his career against the Bears on Monday Night Football was a big game. So was the following week on the road against the Saints. But neither team was anywhere close to being as good as Bill Belichick’s Patriots.
As well as Kaepernick has played, one concern is that fact that Harbaugh had to call four timeouts in Sunday’s 27-13 win over the Dolphins so the offense wouldn’t be hit with delay of game penalties. All of this happened at home with a friendly crowd and against a team with a 5-7 record. Somehow that did not come back to bite the 49ers and they were able to still pull out the win. But against the Patriots, Belichick will take advantage of those rookie mistakes. Kaepernick will need to do a better job of calling the plays in the huddle faster and making sure his players are lined up correctly. The Patriots defense will be looking to make life miserable for Kaep all game and to turn his frustrations into costly mistakes. In the end, the game will come down to not only the play of Kaepernick, but also how he handles himself mentally in the game.