49ers top Panthers 23-10, heading for NFC Championship game

kaep11111Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers avenged their earlier defeat in beating the Carolina Panthers 23-10 when it counted in Sunday’s Divisional playoff game in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers had beaten the Niners 10-9 in Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California last November, and that loss didn’t sit right with Kaepernick and the rest of the Niners squad.

They knew they were better than they had played in that game, and they couldn’t wait until they got a second chance at the Panthers. Well, today they got their shot and they did a great job of stopping the Panthers in front of their own fans. The 49ers defense rose up to the occasion big time in halting two Panthers drives on the Niners 1-yard line, and holding them to just 3 points.

Kaepernick completed 15 of 28 passes for 196 yards with 1 touchdown. He ran for another TD in the 3rd quarter. After scoring the touchdown, Kaepernick went into a Superman pose where he acted as if he was ripping open his shirt the way that Superman does. It was a copy of what Panthers quarterback Cam Newton likes to do when he score a touchdown. Kaepernick decided to rib Newton a little, who he shared a room with when the two quarterbacks were in the rookie combine.

Newton said to AP “That’s not the first, nor will it be the last time somebody does that.”

While the Panthers did a good job of shutting down most of the 49ers receivers in the game, they were helpless to shut down receiver Anquan Boldin, who caught 8 passes for 136 yards. Boldin was too strong for the cornerbacks to shut down, as he pushed right through their attempts at holding him at the line of scrimmage. 49ers running back Frank Gore rushed for 84 yards on 17 carries.

49ers receiver Michael Crabtree had some nice catches in the game and caught 3 passes for 26 yards. One of the reasons why he didn’t get a lot of receptions in the game was because the Panthers were paying a great deal of attention to him in using double coverage on him. The Panthers dared the 49ers to beat them with Boldin and Vernon Davis.

Cam Newton had problems with finding his receivers and getting enough time to throw the football. He was intercepted twice, and sacked 5 times. He threw for 267 yards in the game, but the interceptions really hurt the Panthers in a big way. He had 1 touchdown pass of 31 yards to Steve Smith.

The Panthers gambled on 4th and 1 in the 2nd quarter, but were stopped when Newton’s forward progress was interrupted by Niners linebacker Ahmad Brooks short of the goal line.

The Niners led 13-10 at halftime after Kaepernick threw a 1-yard TD to Vernon Davis right before halftime. Kaepernick found Davis in the corner of the end zone, and he was just barely able to keep both feet in bounds. Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh ran out onto the field to protest after the play was initially ruled out of bounds. This led to the Niners receiving a 15-yard penalty. However, it didn’t matter because there was only 5 seconds left in the quarter. The officials checked the play on instant replay and ruled that Davis had been in bounds on the touchdown play. However, the Niners dodged a bullet in that they had 12 men in the huddle on the play. For some reason the officials failed to notice.