Smith applauds Kaepernick's contributions in 34-0 win

Smith applauds Kaepernick's contributions in 34-0 win
September 30, 2012, 9:58 pm

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- There is no quarterback controversy, but the backup made it clear he wants more playing time.And he likely earned that right on Sunday.Colin Kaepernick got his first extensive playing time of his NFL career on Sunday, as the 49ers sprinkled him into the game against the New York Jets. And Kaepernick delivered with the first touchdown in the 49ers' 34-0 victory over the New York Jets."He's doing a great job in the understudy role," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "There was an opportunity to get him in and contribute, and he handled it well."And it's no surprise Kaepernick hopes he gets a chance to handle it more often."I'm hoping they'll use me more and more as the season goes along," Kaepernick said.Kaepernick finished the game with 50 yards rushing, including a 7-yard touchdown, on five rushing attempts. He also attempted a deep pass to Randy Moss, but the throw into triple-coverage was incomplete.He could've had a second touchdown, but he went down at the Jets' 3-yard line with 1:12 remaining at the end of a 30-yard run because he said he didn't want to put his teammates under any more risks than necessary."That's one less kickoff we have to cover," Kaepernick said. "That's one less time we have to go out on defense. We can end the game with no more collisions and no more chances for injury."RELATED: Maiocco's Instant Replay: 49ers 34, Jets 0
He was the first player in NCAA history to throw for at least 2,000 yards passing and rush for at least 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. The 49ers traded up to select him in the second round of the 2011 draft.Kaepernick gave the 49ers a 7-0 lead when he dashed around the left side for a touchdown early in the second quarter. Kaepernick replaced starting quarterback Alex Smith for the third-and-6 play."It was fun," Smith said of watching Kaepernick play. "It was great. Effective, for sure. That would be an understatement. He's a good player. I'm happy for him. He works extremely hard. He can help this team, so it's fun to see him get out there and have success."When asked about his emotions to be removed from the game for an important early-game play, Smith said, "That's not an issue. I don't care. We scored. We ran it in."The 49ers managed to spread the ball around in the run game like a lot of teams distribute the ball in the passing game.Nine different runners combined for 245 rushing yards for the 49ers. Leading rusher Frank Gore had a rough time finding room to run, though. He had 62 yards and a touchdown on 21 rushing attempts. Backup Kendall Hunter had a good day with 56 yards and a touchdown on eight rushing attempts. Gore also enjoyed seeing all the backups have a substantial hand in the 49ers' success."It was good to see," Gore said. "Kaepernick practices hard and works hard every day. He prepares like a starter, just like Kendall."The 49ers took some shots deep early in the game. Smith's first attempt of the game, targeted toward Michael Crabtree, drew a 14-yard penalty for pass interference on Jets cornerback Kyle Wilson, who got the start in place of injured starter Darrelle Revis.But the 49ers did not have a lot of success throwing the ball. Smith completed just 12 of 21 passes for 143 yards.Where the 49ers' offense was perfect was in holding onto the ball. Kicker David Akers missed field-goal attempts of 55 and 40 yards, but the 49ers made the Jets offense work for everything.And the defense rebounded with a dominating performance, limiting the overmatched Jets (2-2) to just 145 yards of total offense. The 49ers (3-1) also forced four turnovers.Cornerback Carlos Rogers had two fumble recoveries, including an odd play that he turned into a 51-yard touchdown return in the fourth quarter.Jets receiver Santonio Holmes caught a short pass and went down with a non-contact knee injury. When he was down -- and before Rogers touched him -- Holmes tossed the ball into the air. Rogers caught it and took it into the end zone."I was surprised," Rogers said. "I didn't know what was going on. I thought he just fell or slipped. Next thing I know, the ball came out and I tried to score with it."The 49ers held the Jets to a rushing average of 2.6 yards. And New York quarterback Mark Sanchez struggled immensely, completing just 13 of 29 passes for 103 yards. Outside linebacker Aldon Smith recorded two of the 49ers' three sacks."After the last game, some people questioned us," Aldon Smith said. "We know what we are capable of. We are a good defense that plays well together."A year ago, the 49ers practiced in Youngstown, and they rallied for a season-changing victory at the Philadelphia Eagles. A week ago, the 49ers were admittedly flat in losing at the Minnesota Vikings. But they came back strong against the Jets."This week we knew it was going to be a better showing," Rogers said. "After we left Youngstown for the week, we knew what we did last year when we left there. We just wanted to keep it going.""It was a job well-done by the offensive line and, overall, just a great game by our players," Harbaugh said. "'That's more like it!' As they were saying in the locker room. Really, they're the ones who did it. It was a tremendous effort by our players."
Said Alex Smith, "This team was pretty upset after last week with ourselves. Really felt we all had a hand in what went on last Sunday. Had a great week in Youngstown, and obviously the guys came out ready to play. Any time the defense plays like that. It makes it easy on all of us."