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Lowell Cohn: Jim Harbaugh unleashes the full Colin Kaepernick effect

  • 49ers' Colin Kaepernick on the run leaves Titans linebacker Akeem Ayers grasping at the ground during Sunday's win over the Titans. (Mark Humphrey / Associated Press)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- There's been plenty of hand wringing about Colin Kaepernick lately. And worrying. There's also been a misperception.

Like this. After the 49ers beat the Titans 31-17 and Kaepernick played brilliantly, some writer from Nashville asked Jim Harbaugh about Kaepernick's “recent problems.” Harbaugh didn't even let the guy finish. “I'm not aware of those,” Harbaugh shot back, a look of moral indignation on his face. Have you ever noticed Harbaugh looks like the comic book Superman, minus the blue hair.

Well, unless Harbaugh has been residing under a rock, he must have heard the buzz. Two weeks ago, people were saying Terrelle Pryor is better than Kaepernick. Laughable now. People said the league had figured out Kaepernick. People said he can't throw well from under center, needs to throw on the run. (I wrote that. Sue me.)

San Francisco 49ers vs. Tennessee Titans


People said Harbaugh was afraid to let Kaepernick run, afraid to use the read-option thingamajig for fear of getting his quarterback slaughtered. Observers point out Kaepernick still does not see the entire field, does not go through his progressions like Joe Montana. And it is a plain, indisputable fact that, a while back in St. Louis, general manager Trent Baalke, who thought Kaepernick should have thrown to an open Vernon Davis instead of running levitated in the press box and shouted, “Throw the damn ball.”

It is important to point out that Harbaugh called the read-option against Tennessee, let Kaepernick run, invited him to run. Kaepernick ran for 68 yards on 11 carries. He averaged a ton more yards per carry than Frank Gore. He saved the 49ers.

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