We can safely lay to rest any lingering chatter about California teams playing in freezing conditions after the 49ers and the Fighting Bolos both won this weekend. For the Niners, the stage is now set for a re-match of the Week 10 knucklebuster with Carolina in temps that will be downright tropical.
When asked about seeing the Panthers again, Colin Kaepernick said it succinctly, “We owe them.” Yes, you do Colin and how. Kaepernick had one of his worst performances of the season. Just 91 yards and a pick in a 10-9 loss at The Stick. Give the Panthers stout defense credit, but this time around, Kaepernick will be brimming with confidence.
When he was standing in the pocket against the Packers, you saw his playmaking instincts shine as he galloped for almost 100 yards against Green Bay, escaping the pressure, extending plays on key drives, especially the last one that led to the Phil Dawson chippy. This is a much different team than the one that lost to Carolina the first time around.
`Kaepernick didn’t have Michael Crabtree back then, but he does now. Crabtree is becoming Kaepernick’s favorite target again, going off for 125 yards on Sunday and hauling in the clutch 17 yard grab on that critical 3rd and 10 on the final drive. The 49ers will also have a healthy Vernon Davis who suffered a concussion in that game against the Panthers. Expect a steady diet of Frank Gore as well. Sure he chewed up 82 yards versus the Panthers, but remember, he was invisible in the second half.