New Orleans, LA - Colin Kaepernick got the starting nod and once again proved that he belongs in the ranks of NFL starters. Alex Smith was cleared to play but Niners coach Jim Harbaugh stuck with his gut feeling and played the hot hand. Kaepernick's second start may not have been as brilliant as his first, but was still very good and in my opinion earned him the right to continue being the 49ers number one signal caller.
Kaepernick finished the day 16 of 25 for 231 yards passing, a touchdown toss to Frank Gore and one Interception. He also added a 7 yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
"We got a win, so that's all that really matters," Kaepernick said.
Coach Harbaugh said he started Colin over Smith because he wanted to preserve Smith's long term health. Harbaugh has yet to make a decision on next weeks starter.
"The fact he had symptoms seven to eight days later, I'm not going to put a guy back out there," Harbaugh said of Smith. "He eventually got cleared. The plan was to rotate him back into the action (in practice), but not all the way to the front line. ... That would give him a chance to get cleared up completely."
The Niners defense was the real star of this game, shutting down (as much as can expected) a Saints offense that had been on fire the last 4 or 5 games.
Ahmad Brooks and Donte Whitner each returned interceptions for touchdowns, the Niners also sacked sacked Saint's QB Drew Brees five times, as San Francisco ended New Orleans' three-game winning streak, 31-21 on Sunday.
"They're a good defense," Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt said of San Francisco. "When you lose your right tackle and you've got to play with a young man who's been here four days, that's a tough challenge."
"We always want to be the best defense on the field, especially on the road," Whitner said. "When you play us, you are going to get hit. That's our identity: smart, hard-nose, physical football."
The 49 ers will travel to St. Louis to face the Rams next Sunday. Since losing to the New York Giants on October 14th they have gone 5-0-1 and now lead the NFC West by 2.5 games.
It will be very intriguing to see what coach Harbaugh decides on over the next few days and how he handles his "QB Controversy". Will he go back to the solid and sturdy Smith or ride the Kaepernick wave of excitement into the playoffs. Christmas is upon us we may just need to dub Colin "Saint 'Nick" at some point this magical NFL season.
San Francisco - The Giants have agreed to a contract with center fielder Angel Pagan. The contract is for 4 years and worth an estimated $40 million dollars.
The 31-year-old Pagan batted .288 with eight home runs, 56 RBIs and a San Francisco-best 15 triples in his first season with the Giants. Pagan said late in the season and again after the World Series parade that he hoped to return, but wanted to test free agency and sought some job security in the form of a multi-year deal.
The Giants have now signed Pagan and Jeremy Affeldt two of their big free agents. Next up on the list for General Manager Brian Sabean will be NLCS Marco Scutaro.
Auburn Hills, Mich - Golden State (11-7) started their 7 game road trip with a rather easy victory against the Detroit Pistons. The Dubs back court of Steph Curry (22 points) and Klay Thompson (27 points) outscored Detroit's duo of Brandon Knight and Kyle Singler 49-7.
"The Numbers tell a big part of the story. Your guards get outscored 49-7, it is going to be tough to win," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. "That's just a bad night."
Curry is starting to play like an All Star as he chipped in 10 assists, this was his fourth straight game with at least 20 points and 10 assists. David Lee added 20 points and 11 rebounds. The Warriors are starting to look like a playoff type team and have their own version of "the big three" in Curry, Thompson, and Lee. Coach Jackson is loving Steph's court play and thinks his young point guard is starting to really understand his vision for the team.
"What I love right now is that Steph is in total control out there on the floor," Jackson said. "When things get crazy, I don't feel like I need to call a timeout, because I'm so comfortable with his ability to run this basketball team."
The Warriors big question mark is holding on to leads, with their uptempo play, leads seem to come quickly and often, but they need to be able to close out teams and shut them down come the fourth quarter.
"We didn't do our best job of closing out that game -- we have to put the final nail in the coffin," the Warriors' Jarrett Jack said. "There are teams that are going to be able to come back when we let them linger around."
The Warriors head to Brooklyn on Friday to face the Nets, and then to Washington on Saturday to play the Wizards. This East coast swing could be a great chance for the league and fans of the game to recognize this Warriors team and realize that they are for real and better be ready to play when the Dubs come to town.
Dallas, TX - Steph Curry dominated the fourth quarter and overtime and led the Warriors (6-5) to a 105-101 victory Monday night over the Dallas Mavericks (6-6). Curry scored 20 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter and overtime period. He also added 9 assists, 6 rebounds and 2 steals.
"It's really whatever the defense gives you," said Curry, who finished with nine assists. "When (Lee) is finishing that bucket at the end, we're celebrating. It doesn't matter who's finishing, as long as we get it done."
Rookie Harrison Barnes continues to impress as he posted 20 points and 12 rebounds, and power forward David Lee added 17 points and a season high 19 rebounds.
"It was a big-time win for a young basketball team," Coach Mark Jackson said.
The Warriors outrebounded the Mavericks 62-43 and had a 19-7 edge in second chance points.
The Warriors return from their 3 game road trip and await the Brooklyn Nets who visit Oakland on Wednesday night.
Santa Clara, Ca. - Coach Harbaugh has named Colin Kaepernick the starter for Sundays game against the St. Louis Ram's. It was an expected move given the great play by the 2nd year quarterback.
Kaepernick has led the Niners to two consecutive victories over a couple really good teams in the Bears and the Saints. Since the 1970 merger no 49ers QB has won his first 3 consecutive games.
"Colin we believe has the hot hand," Harbaugh said.
Kaepernick has completed 48 of 74 passes for 680 yards and three touchdowns with one interception in his 2 games as a starter and some spot play in a third. He has a 102.3 passer rating.
The NFC West-leading Niners (8-2-1) own the second-best record in the NFC behind Atlanta as they head to face the Rams.
Kings center DeMarcus Cousins returned after he was suspended the previous two games for a verbal spat with San Antonio TV analyst and former player Sean Elliott. Cousins, had 9 points, 16 rebounds and 7 assists, finishing just 4 of 15 from the field.
Atlanta shooting guard Kyle Korver led the way for the Hawk's posting 22 points and 7 rebounds and center Al Horford chipped in 20 points and 10 rebounds.
The Kings were outscored by 14 points in both the first and third quarters. They held a players-only meeting after their fourth consecutive loss in which they have struggled mightily.
"We just put it all on the table. We talked about what we needed to do and what it's going to take to help this team get better," Cousins said. "We were all in a bad mood."
The Kings "bad mood" will need to change in a snap as they travel to Brooklyn to face a 5-2 Nets team that courts the likes of PG Daron Williams and SG Joe Johnson on Sunday.
Minneapolis, MN - Once again Golden State rookie Harrison Barnes played a big part in the Warriors (5-4) 106-98 victory in Minnesota (5-4). Barnes coming off a 19 point 13 rebound performance two nights earlier against the Atlanta Hawks, finished Friday night with 18 points and 9 rebounds. The Warriors rookie was one of five Dubs in double figures. David Lee chipped in 18 points and 13 rebounds while Steph Curry had 17 points and 6 assists.
The Warriors dominated in the paint outscoring the Wolves' 58-22 and out-rebounded Minnesota 50-34. the last two games the Warriors have stepped up both on the defensive end and also with their rebounding.
"So we made the adjustments and fortunately the last two games we've been doing a good job of securing the basketball, closing out defensive possessions.'' Coach Mark Jackson said.
The Warriors are in the beginning of a tough 3 game road trip in which they will travel to Oklahoma City to face Kevin Durant and the Thunder on Sunday, then turn around and play the Dallas Mavericks on Monday. This three game trip could tell Warrior fans not only what kind of team the Bay Area has this year but also the heart of these youngsters.