SAN FRANCISCO – Strong-armed fill-in Colin Kaepernick made all the right throws, looking every bit a capable NFL No. 1 quarterback.
Kaepernick passed for 243 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start in place of the injured Alex Smith, and the San Francisco 49ers whipped the Chicago Bears 32-7 on Monday night in a highly touted NFC showdown that hardly lived up to the hype.
“It’s everything I could’ve ever wished for,” Kaepernick said. “It feels great just to be out there.”
Kaepernick threw touchdown passes to Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree, and Kendall Hunter ran for a 14-yard score as San Francisco (7-2-1) jumped out to a big lead by scoring on each of its first four possessions – with Aldon Smith wreaking havoc with 5 1/2 sacks.
Jason Campbell, the other quarterback in this matchup of backups for division leaders, threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall in the third quarter but was sacked six times and threw two interceptions in his first start since October 2011 for the Oakland Raiders.
He faced fierce pressure all night for the Bears (7-3) as starter Jay Cutler sat with a concussion suffered eight days earlier – just like Alex Smith.
Aldon Smith took over the NFL sacks lead with 15, passing Denver’s Von Miller with 13. Tarell Brown and Dashon Goldson each had an interception for San Francisco’s stingy defense, which shut down Campbell, Matt Forte and Co. three years after the teams last met in a 10-6 49ers home victory.
“We were playing our defense, stopping the run and then stopping the pass,” Aldon Smith said. “I was just playing my game and getting after it.”
The 49ers added a safety in the fourth quarter after a replay review.
With 9:24 left, former San Francisco offensive lineman Chilo Rachal was called for intentional grounding out of the end zone, but 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh challenged and the review showed Rachal’s knee was down in the end zone before the ball left.
The soft-spoken, stone-faced Kaepernick went 16 of 23 with a 133.1 passer rating. He completed 12 of his first 14 passes with a 57-yard strike to Kyle Williams that set up Davis’ 3-yard TD on the next play. He amassed 126 yards passing by the end of the first quarter.
“I think after the first drive I felt really comfortable with what they were doing and what we had in our game plan,” Kaepernick said. “I really wasn’t too nervous. I’ve had a lot of time in this offense. My teammates were really supportive.”
The 49ers led 17-0 on Hunter’s early TD run in the second, quickly topping the 14.8 points the Bears were allowing per game.
Frank Gore ran for 78 yards and David Akers kicked field goals of 32, 37 and 32 yards for the 49ers.
They outgained Chicago 249-35 in a lopsided first half.
Davis, eager to get more involved in the offense down the stretch this season, had a team-best six catches for 83 yards.
Chicago dropped into a first-place tie in the NFC North with Green Bay.