In leading the 49ers past Dallas in Week 1, quarterback Colin Kaepernick was dynamic.
In leading his team to a loss to the Bears Sunday night in Week 2 – committing four turnovers – he was, in his word, “terrible.”
Kaepernick threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter that led to two Chicago touchdowns in a 28-20 loss on the regular-season opening night of Levi’s Stadium.
In Kaepernick’s relatively short tenure as San Francisco’s starting quarterback, 49ers fans have seen both the good and the bad.
There are times, such as in the first half Sunday night, when he looks like the best in the NFL. His passes have zip and accuracy, he escapes pressure, he makes all the right reads and he’s the most dangerous running quarterback in the league.
And then there are other times – such as late in Sunday night’s defeat – when he suddenly loses his accuracy and those bullet passes bury themselves into defenders’ hands.
After Sunday night’s debacle, scores of memes flooded the Internet, laying blame on Kaepernick and poking fun at his distress, posted by frustrated 49ers fans and diehard 49ers haters. One showed a Bears fan choking with the phrase, “Kaepernicking.” Another had a smiling Kaepernick saying, “I accepted the INT Challenge. Thank you Tony Romo.” And a third showed former 49ers starter Alex Smith, now in Kansas City, with the slogan, “Oh man. Miss me yet?”
Kaepernick mostly has had highs in his career. He has an 18-7 regular-season record and has taken his team to two NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl and his career QB rating is 93.0.
But every now and then, Kaepernick has a stinker. Sunday night was one of his worst. After posting a QB rating of 125.5 vs. Dallas, he plummeted to 57.0 vs. the Bears. He completed 21-of-34 passes for 248 yards and a TD, and also rushed for 66 yards, but threw three interceptions and lost a fumble.
Wrote longtime Bay Area columnist Tim Kawakami: “Those three interceptions and lost fumble added up to a titanic crash and burn.”
Yet Kaepernick accepted the blame and told the media afterward that his performance was awful. And in the past, Kaepernick has shown he can bounce back.
In 2013, Kaepernick threw three picks in a loss at Seattle in Week 2, completed less than 50 percent of his passes in a loss to the Colts in Week 3 and then was terrific vs. the Rams in Week 4, en route to a strong second half of the season and playoffs.
His propensity for throwing interceptions in bunches can be troubling, but it’s offset by his ability to lead his team from behind, too.
Kaepernick led four game-winning drives in 2013, three in the fourth quarter, including one against the Packers in the playoffs.
Now, Kaepernick needs to get back on track quickly. The Arizona Cardinals – atop the NFC West at 2-0 – await this Sunday.
“You have to come back,” Kaepernick told reporters Sunday night. “That’s your only choice.”