SAN FRANCISCO — Excuse me, but I was laboring under a misapprehension. I thought Superman was make-believe, a character from comic books, TV shows and the movies.
That was before I saw Colin Kaepernick play Saturday night against the Green Bay Packers, who, I'm sure, never saw anything like him. It's true that Superman in the comics has blue hair and wears those funny pajamas, but aside from that small difference Kaepernick is a real-life Superman. He can leap tall buildings in a single bound and he sure can play quarterback.
He was the best athlete on the field Saturday night in the 49ers' 45-31 whipping of the Packers. He also was the most exciting athlete on the field, Aaron Rodgers included.
If you want to know the truth, Kaepernick took over the game single-handedly, although the word single-handedly is not quite correct. He certainly used his right hand, but he also used his feet. He broke the record for rushing by a quarterback in a single game, playoff or otherwise, ending up with 181, which is, well, superhuman. You certainly should call this game the Colin Kaepernick game just for sheer bulk. He accounted for 444 yards.
He may be the best athlete ever to play quarterback. He is unique in ways that Joe Montana and Steve Young weren't. Not better, just unique — although he may turn out to be better.
Here's an example of what he did. In the third quarter with the game tied at 24 and the Niners at their own 44-yard line, Kaepernick took the snap and faked a handoff. Then he ran right out of the crowd. Such running. He lifted his knees high, and his stride was long and he ran away from the defenders as if they were mortal and he was a superior species.
I could tell you more wonderful things he did — things with that golden right arm. But I'd like to introduce a wrinkle. Kaepernick is, after all, inexperienced and sometimes he makes mistakes. Bear with me while I list a few mistakes he made while murdering the Packers.
In the very first drive, he threw a pick-six crummy pass. And just like that the Niners were down 7-0 and you might have thought the moment was too big for Kaepernick — wait till next year, kid.
But the 49ers got the ball and he led an 80-yard TD drive which included, among other wonders, a 45-yard pass to Frank Gore, a little pop fly he lofted over a frantic Charles Woodson. Which means Kaepernick has touch. Of course, he ended the drive by running 20 yards for a TD.
In the second quarter, he made a horrible mistake. He gained 15 yards on a keeper, but after the play he taunted Green Bay players and lost the 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. So the net gain was zilch. Bad Colin. Two plays later, he hit Michael Crabtree for a touchdown. Good Colin.