One of the most important plays of the 49ers' 34-31 Super Bowl XLVII loss to the Ravens never actually happened. With San Francisco facing third-and-goal from the five-yard line with less than two minutes to play, head coach Jim Harbaugh called a timeout from the sidelines as the play clock approached zero.
It's a play that will continue to haunt the young quarterback, based on his recent comments to Sports Illustrated:
"I constantly think about it. I replay it. I rehash it. What could I have done better? If I got everybody up and got them set quicker, we wouldn’t have had to worry about the play clock. The way the play looked to me, I don’t feel there was anybody that was going to stop us from getting in the end zone . . . It looked like it could have been a walk into the end zone.
"There was a linebacker coming over the top -- Ray (Lewis) -- but I just don’t feel that was something that was going to matter."
Rehash it all you want, but it wasn't the final plays that doomed the 49ers, it was the first half that left them trailing 21-6.
[REWIND: First half, not final plays, were Super Bowl problem]
With Kaepernick set to report to 49ers training camp in the next few days, it's time for his focus to fall solely on pursuing Super Bowl XLVIII.
“Still not really over it," Kaepernick told Sports Illustrated of last year's loss. "It feels like something was stolen.”
The Green Bay Packers must have felt like they had something stolen when Kaepernick set both the NFL single-game record for rushing yards by a quarterback as well as the 49ers postseason record for rushing, regardless of position in his first career playoff game. From Kaepernick's SI interview comes a revealing look at the frustration he caused for defensive coordinator Dom Capers' squad.
"It got to a point where we could hear (the Packers’ defenders) arguing while we were in our huddle," Kaepernick was quoted. "‘You’re supposed to do this,’ or ‘You have to do this, then the other.’ At that point, our offense was like, 'It’s over.' As soon as you start turning on your teammates, you’re not going to be productive. You know you have them in the palm of your hands.”
Kaepernick's busy offseason would lead you to believe he has the world in the palm of his hand, and the coming months will reveal if he's been able to move on from last season's gut-wrenching Super Bowl defeat.