It appeared all week that 49ers quarterback Alex Smith would be good to go on Monday night against the Bears, despite suffering a concussion in week 10 against the Rams. Smith practiced all week (albeit in limited fashion), and was expected to get medical clearance from a neurologist on Monday morning that would allow him to start in this primetime showdown featuring two of the NFC's top teams.
However, the neurologist did not clear Smith, and he'll be inactive for the game. So, both Smith and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will be out for Monday night's game due to concussions, and it will be a battle of backup quarterbacks (heads slam into the wall repeatedly at ESPN headquarters).
Jason Campbell starts for the Bears, and Colin Kaepernick (a second-round pick in 2011) starts for the 49ers.
I've already written why Campbell starting instead of Cutler may even be a good thing for the Bears in this matchup, and that's even if Cutler were 100% healthy.
As for Kaepernick, this will be his first career start, although he got a lot of playing time in the 49ers' tie (yes, tie) against the Rams in week 10 after Smith left the game with a concussion. Kaepernick was 11 of 17 for 117 yards in the passing department, and ran for 66 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. On the season, he's 16 of 26 for 206 yards as a passer, and has 21 carries for 177 yards and three touchdowns. That's an average of 8.4 yards per carry, a tremendous average for a quarterback.
Kaepernick's exactly how you picture a "dual-threat" quarterback, and he runs the read option very well. The former Nevada Wolf Pack star can do plenty of damage with his legs, and he has a much better arm than most people realize. Rotoworld calls him "A mix between Randall Cunningham and Tim Tebow."
Here's more on Kaepernick, from former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah:
My Kaepernick report--positives- work ethic, smarts, size, velocity and athletic ability. negatives-touch underneath and deep ball accuracyThe Bears under Lovie Smith have usually been outstanding against quarterbacks in their first or second year. This year, for example, they've defeated rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, and second-year quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton.
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) November 19, 2012
Additionally, the Bears under Lovie Smith tend to play well against the dual-threat quarterbacks.
So, while Kaepernick is very talented, this is going to be a very difficult test for him. He tried to force some throws against the Rams, and if he does that against the Bears, they'll make him pay for it.
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