EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.
What the 49ers did on Sunday — shutting out the Jets, scoring 34 points of their own — was beautiful and it was brilliant. Yes, professional football can be beautiful and brilliant.
Take the beautiful for a moment. The 49ers don't have a powerful, high-scoring offense. Sorry, but it's true. They have to mix brains with brawn, and the brains in this game involved reserve quarterback Colin Kaepernick and what the 49ers did with him.
They brought him in more than usual, introduced him to the league and introduced the league to what he does. The Niners scored their first touchdown on a Kaepernick run to the left, scored on third down even though third down has been Alex Smith's down — not that Smith is great on third down. Kaepernick took a direct snap, ran behind some blocks and blasted into the end zone.
Was Smith threatened by Kaepernick taking that third down?
"That's not an issue," Smith said. "I don't care. We scored. He ran it in."
I put that in just in case you were wondering.
Kaepernick ran the ball five times for 50 yards, and even threw one pass deep to Randy Moss — incomplete. The 49ers, being highly clever, out-Tim-Tebowed the Jets in going to the "other guy." They had Kaepernick running option plays like Tebow; and on his TD, Kaepernick ran a sweep play that Tebow ran under Urban Meyer.
Afterward, Kaepernick was one big smile, a charming, innocent smile.
Does he know why he was involved in Sunday's game?
"It was part of the game plan they put together," he said. "We just go out there and execute what they tell us to."
Did his TD run catch the Jets by surprise?
"Maybe a little bit because we didn't show it before. You still have to play defense."
Does he like being compared to Tim Tebow?
"I want to be me. That's all I'm worried about. I want to go out there and play like myself. I'm hoping they'll use me more and more as the season goes on."
"They haven't told me. I just wait and go week-to-week."
With Kaepernick, the 49ers created an imaginative running game. Brains meet beauty. They get big credit for that.
Let's throw out another well-deserved compliment while we're at it. The Niners' defense simply nullified the Jets' offense, as in null and void, as in canceled at the point of delivery. The Jets couldn't run and the Jets couldn't throw. When you get down to it, the Jets couldn't do squat, to use a technical term.
The 49ers' defense revealed Mark Sanchez for what he is — just about the worst starting quarterback in the league. The Niners get credit for making that revelation, and that leads to this blunt statement: The Jets' offense did not deserve to be on the same field as the 49ers' defense, one of the most ferocious units in any season on any team anywhere, any time.
When Jim Harbaugh came to the postgame interview room, he said he used Kaepernick, "just for creativity, a chance to make a play. I felt like it could be successful."
Then he changed topics. This led to an amusing misunderstanding between Harbaugh and me. Sometimes, I think I speak English and he speaks Esperanto, or the other way around.