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Harbaugh praises Kaepernick’s performance despite three straight turnovers

Colin Kaepernick AP

The San Francisco 49ers had three drives to retake the lead against the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship game Sunday night. Colin Kaepernick had three chances to lead the 49ers to points that would send San Francisco to their second straight Super Bowl appearance.

Instead, each of those drives resulted in turnovers by Kaepernick that ended the 49ers’ chances of a comeback. But 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh still praised the performance by Kaepernick in the game despite coming up short.

I thought he played fabulous, I really did,” Harbaugh said, via Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News. “There’s things that happen both sides of the ball, special teams. You can point to a lot of areas I really feel the players just really acquitted themselves as well as they could on both sides of the ball, both teams.”

After the Seahawks scored to take a 20-17 lead, Kaepernick fumbled on a sack by Seattle defensive end Cliff Avril. Kaepernick was then intercepted twice, once by Kam Chancellor and again by Malcolm Smith off a deflected pass by Richard Sherman in the end zone.

Despite the turnovers, Kaepernick was one the biggest reasons San Francisco had the lead in the first place. He ran for 130 yards on 11 carries and threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin to give the 49ers a 17-10 lead. He finished the game 14 of 24 for 153 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

Kapernick put the blame on his shoulders for the loss but Harbaugh disagrees.

“No, that’s not accurate. Colin played his (butt) off. All players in the game did,” Harbaugh said.

Maybe it’s just playing the Seahawks that gives Kaepernick problems. Kaepernick has just two multi-interception games in his career since taking over the 49ers starter in 2012. Both of those games came in Seattle this season against the Seahawks. In four games overall against Seattle, he’s thrown seven interceptions.

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58 Responses to “Harbaugh praises Kaepernick’s performance despite three straight turnovers”
  1. pacificnw7722 says: Jan 21, 2014 11:14 PM

    “I thought he played fabulous, I really did,” Harbaugh said.”

    What friggin’ game were you watching Jim??

  2. chinookfan says: Jan 21, 2014 11:15 PM

    But there was no malice intended

  3. geicocaveman says: Jan 21, 2014 11:23 PM

    I give credit to the 49er fans that are not crying about the bad calls the received in the NFC championship game. I live in Seattle and hear every day how the NFL is trying to keep them down, Seahawk fans believe that the won their other Superbowl and that all calls go against them. Keep it classy San Fran

  4. aceakking says: Jan 21, 2014 11:25 PM

    One turnover can be a fluke. Two, a bad luck. But three means you really suck. Kaepernick, you suck. You ruined our last chance to go to the SB. Our window is now closing because I am sure you will try to suck every dollar you can out of the Niners and the Niners are too stupid to see you really suck.

  5. pgilbert2013 says: Jan 21, 2014 11:28 PM

    My man, at the end of the day you scamper like nobody’s business. Just work on your check downs and progression reads in the off season.

    Go Niners!

  6. hawkforlife says: Jan 21, 2014 11:28 PM

    He can run all he or the coaches want but he’s supposed to be a QB.

  7. qdog112 says: Jan 21, 2014 11:32 PM

    Harbaugh is wise not to be too critical of Kaepernick, for without him, they aren’t even close in that game.

  8. tom-a-hawk says: Jan 21, 2014 11:32 PM

    CK7, as in 7 interceptions.

  9. chinookfan says: Jan 21, 2014 11:37 PM

    No malice intended

  10. ninerfan81 says: Jan 21, 2014 11:37 PM

    Live with Kap, die with Kap…with that said, give the Seahawks Defense the credit, 2/3 of those turnovers were clear takeaways, I only fault Kap for that bad bad bad pick on the sideline…with that said, that was his first full season under center, if Harbaugh and Baalke win the offseason like Schneider and Carroll did last year we’ll make it back. If they dont we wont.

  11. kolbydoerge says: Jan 21, 2014 11:38 PM

    SEEEEEEHHHHHAAAAAWWKS!

  12. jlmd17 says: Jan 21, 2014 11:45 PM

    He is delusional. Crabtree is the best catcher of the football while kaepernick is the best thrower. Enjoy your cheap slacks loser.

  13. realfootballfan says: Jan 21, 2014 11:46 PM

    People keep getting lost in all of the bashing. He’s got 30 starts under his belt. I repeat, 30. For anyone saying what he’s done so far is easy because the 49er defense is so good, go ask the Ravens all those years or the Dolphins the past 5 years how easy it is. He definitely needs to progress, and I always use the analogy that he’s about where Steve McNair was when he made his Super Bowl start who got infinitely better in the next few years, but this kid’s got nothing to hang his head about.

    Winning in Seattle is just about a superhuman feat, and he nearly pulled it off to go to the Super Bowl.

    Start celebrating these youngsters that are doing well, not knocking them unless you’re one of the 3 opposing fan bases in his division that is.

  14. humb0lt says: Jan 21, 2014 11:46 PM

    CK = Choke King.

  15. tokyosandblaster says: Jan 21, 2014 11:46 PM

    He would… no one on their team can do anything wrong.

    Just like all calls against his team are total BS and every call that goes his way was correct.

  16. notmrknowitall says: Jan 22, 2014 12:06 AM

    He was strictly average in this game. The only real bad play he made was the Chancelor interception. The last play wasn’t bad..six inches higher and the Niners win. I thought Crabtree could have fought a little harder to get to the ball.
    All that said, not many guys have taken their team to a Super Bowl and NFC Championship game in their first two years as a starter. The future looks bright.

  17. rustyshackelford28 says: Jan 22, 2014 12:17 AM

    Kaep’s legs get him out of trouble. Take that away and he’s nothing. The guy simply relies on his feet when his first option is covered. Until he can develop skills as a pocket passer, he will remain one of the most overrated QBs in the NFL.

  18. legionofboom88 says: Jan 22, 2014 12:17 AM

    That statement probably has the most humility in it out of every Harbaugh comment I’ve ever read.

    What am I saying, this is still the same guy who cut off the Seattle Seahawk’s buses in SF after the niners defeated them and proceeded to wave and honk at them.

    Whinebaugh.

  19. InFact says: Jan 22, 2014 12:22 AM

    Honest appraisal: Kaepernick is a top 15 NFL QB, but he’s not elite and will not until he learns how to: 1) read defenses better so his interception rate lowers; 2) read defenses so that progresses through his first and second options to find his third option. Currently, he telegraphs his throws and already knows to whom he’s throwing when breaking huddle and is challenged to find other options.

    Carolina and Green Bay dropped key interceptions that would have been game changers, potentially. Seattle did not have butterfingers, so made Kap look mediocre, which he is against elite teams (e.g., Seattle).

  20. 5to46hawkfan says: Jan 22, 2014 12:30 AM

    HA HA HA – poor poor krapperchoke!!!!!! Lmao

  21. mrplow3 says: Jan 22, 2014 12:31 AM

    It just doesn’t sit right with me that Alex Smith can put up 44 points with a ton of passing yards and TD’s but still goes home, yet Kap, the guy who kicked Smith to the curb got by with 3 playoff games of medicore to subpar play of turnovers.

    I hope Smith goes further than Kap next year. I’m no SF or KC fan but it just seems right for Alex to go further in ’14.

  22. chawk12thman says: Jan 22, 2014 12:34 AM

    Watched it live and about 4 more times on my T.V. the past few days…….I agree with Coach Harbaugh, Kaepernick played great with only a couple of mistakes. He was dominating on his runs and made some great passes that show his great arm strength……..The differences in the game were slight and both teams were very “old school” tough…..

    Congrats on a good season S.F. and we will renew this next year. In the meantime, Hawks need to go to the S.B. and represent the NFC and show who has the tougher Conference.

    Go Hawks!

  23. usdcoyotesfan says: Jan 22, 2014 12:50 AM

    It would’ve been hilarious if the 49ers had been awarded a touchdown on that game-ending interception. I’m sure Golden Tate would have been fine with it. You know, because he’s been on the other end of a similar call.

  24. thecrimsoneye says: Jan 22, 2014 1:17 AM

    While he blew it in the end, his legs kept that game from being a blow out. He had SEVERAL dropped INTs in the last few games so it’s not just this team. He’ll learn from this.

  25. randomguy9999 says: Jan 22, 2014 1:49 AM

    Kapernick had the game for the taking only down by 3 with 10:30 left. What does he do?

    delay of game on a 3rd and 1.
    ball stripped on his own 20
    next possession his first pass is a pick on his own 40

    in what way is that not high school level football, Harbaugh?

  26. rams1999 says: Jan 22, 2014 2:49 AM

    Well he floated the ball through out game. The TD pass couldve also been intercepted. The last pass, a more accurate stronger throw would’ve won it. Also they had plenty of time and 2 timeouts. Why have caepernick whos been floating ball all day to try to throw a corner pass? Honestly i think Alex Smith would have made a better throw. Caepernick is gonna be great and is better than Alex Smith but Alex most likely would have made throws sharper.

    Now having said that, this was an obvious set up. NFL wanted Seattle in SB. Best D v.s. Best O. It was obvious. Too obvious. Refs did everything they can to call/non calls at crucial moments.
    The ones i can recall:
    1-The 15 yd penalty on Whittner i think it was who was flagged for striking the opposing helmet. It was a crucial penalty.
    2-The two obvious grounding the ball on Wilson. The 49ers had to beg and yell to get the 2nd one called. A late flag. A “well we have to throw flag cause we making this one sided kinda Referee reaction on 2nd grounding. If 1st ionw was called, no one knows what happens on next down.
    3- The Roughing the kicker which is a 15 yd penalty which would have given 49ers 1st down. But Refs, in order to keep this set up going called a 5 yd running into kicker.
    4- Cant recall which qtr but on d the 49ers barely shoved a seahawk outta bounds and bam a personal foul. Refs saw opportunity to continue with NFL wish to have Seattle in SB.
    5- The worst of all, the obvious strip/fumble 49ers recovered inside Seattle’s 5 yd line. The whole world saw the recovery in live action. All four here who were watching saw it in live action and obviously in the replays. Unreviewable. How convenient for refs who, everyone in America(except Seattle fans) and the 12th man,sorry, the 12th man are the refs, i mean the 13th fan, the actual fans in stadium saw it. No refs saw it. The setup continues.

    Now for those of you who say the fumble/int play didnt matter cause Lynch fumbled and 49ers wer not able to move ball after recovery. Thats ridiculous. No one knows what would have happend in the next drive if the “set up” refs were to rule that 49er ball. There was more time on clock. The ball was at different spot and another play would’ve been called. So that supposed point is meaningless. Im a Ram fan and ive been anti 49er for obvious reasons. Im dissapointed NFL would stoop to level of set up. Please dont become boxing. havent seen a very weird and fishy game since Patriot/Rams SB. But NFL didnt set that one up of course. This is 1st one i ever witness and actually sad NFL would persued refs to do what they can do to make sure Seattle wins.
    GO DENVER!!!

  27. billybone says: Jan 22, 2014 2:54 AM

    As a Hawks fan, I would agree. Gore was shut down (a total of 14 yards or something the whole game for Gore). Kap killed the Hawks with his feet the first half, and other than the Chancelor INT, the other two turnovers were not solely Kap’s fault.

    Kap still blew it for the 9’ers but he is also a huge reason why they had a fighting chance. It just seemed like once the 9’ers lost the lead and were playing from behind, Kap tried to do too much and mentally cracked.

  28. qwerty007qwerty007 says: Jan 22, 2014 3:53 AM

    In order for Harbaugh to have any kind of relationship in the future with Kap, he has to toe the party line and lavish praise on him.

    But we all know that he folded down the stretch. A rating of 56.4 and 153 passing yards – fabulous does not make.

    History has proven that you need a QB to stay in the pocket and pick apart the defense, keeping the turnovers to a minimum. Sure – run once in a while, just to keep them honest, but Kap ran as many times as Gore.

    Just look at all the past SB Champions:

    Flacco
    Eli
    Rodgers (OK, runs a little)
    Brees
    Big Ben
    Eli
    Peyton
    Big Ben
    Brady
    Brady
    Johnson
    Brady
    Dilfer
    Warner
    …and on and on

    Happy feet will not win you a SB.

  29. backdapack4evr says: Jan 22, 2014 3:53 AM

    Poor coaching was the problem

  30. mrascano says: Jan 22, 2014 4:54 AM

    What a joke! I am a die hard niner fan, but Harbaugh makes me nauseous. Kaepernick snatched defeat from the jaws of victory…again. Colin is Michael Vick 2.0 He is a great running QB with a cannon arm ( those are the positives ) Now for the cold hard truth. He does not see the field well. He forces passes, usually to his first read while check down receivers run wide open. He rarely displays touch on his passes. He panics in the pocket when there is pressure and often takes off way too soon. Sure he makes big plays with his feet at times, but he continuously misses big plays through the air when in panic mode. Harbaugh blew it when he gave up on Alex Smith, who fit their offense perfectly. Alex may not have been flashy, but he kept the chains moving and rarely tuned the ball over. He read his progressions well and checked down when he needed to, and yes he could make the game changing play ( just ask the Saints ) With the defense we have, thats all you really need most of the time. Smith played great in KC this year and threw for 378 yds and 4 TD while outplaying Luck in the playoffs. If he had our defense and our receivers we would probably be watching him in the super bowl instead of Denver. Of course if our QB guru Harbaugh had not betrayed Smith for his hand picked project Kaepernick, we very well may have won it all last year and be looking to repeat this year. Harbaugh blew it and now he is trying to cover his ass with his ridiculous comments. You made your bed Jim and unfortunately for 49er fans, we are forced to lie in it with you. Please dont insult us with that garbage. At least Kaepernick had the balls to admit the obvious, I will give him that.

  31. djwhite33 says: Jan 22, 2014 5:10 AM

    Saw in the Super Bowl last year when he had 4 tries to get it in the end zone from 7 yards and couldn’t. Coughed it up when they needed some first downs last Sunday. When the game is on the line he’s simply not up to it.

  32. packmanfan says: Jan 22, 2014 5:22 AM

    So glad they lost.
    Now the 40Whiners fans know how us Packers fans feel about always losing to a team that must be beat.
    Many, many thanks on behalf of Packers nation to the Seahawks for helping to serve up a nice cold dish of revenge for us.

  33. stellarperformance says: Jan 22, 2014 6:55 AM

    If Micah Hyde didn’t have butterfingers, SF wouldn’t have advanced past GB. But, that’s the way it goes. At least Kaepernick still has his own reflection to embrace to help with the sting of being a loser.

  34. The League's Crusade Against The Steelers Continues says: Jan 22, 2014 7:20 AM

    There are some pretty good QBs in the draft this year and any of them would be an upgrade.

  35. diehardpackfan says: Jan 22, 2014 7:20 AM

    Kaepernick is a great weapon when he is running, but he’s an average pocket passer.

  36. cuda1234 says: Jan 22, 2014 7:32 AM

    There easily could have been 4-5 picks, including that TD to Boldin which was nothing more than a heave down the middle of the field into traffic. Plus when your qb runs for 100 yards, that’s almost always bad.

    SF should be looking at qb’s in this draft – the class is deep and they have plenty of picks. How hard is is it to hand off to Lattimore?

  37. flyeredup says: Jan 22, 2014 7:44 AM

    Harbaugh is the biggest cry baby in the history of the NFL

  38. rodgohard says: Jan 22, 2014 7:44 AM

    Seattle takes advantage of the 9ers having two possession receivers on the field with the only deep threat being a tightend in Vernon Davis. The linebackers for Seattle can run with Davis so there’s no advantage. Baalke and the 9ers are going to have to acquire an explosive receiver either through the draft or free agency. Someone to back up secondaries and put them on their heels. It’ll also open things up for Crabtree and Boldin to operate underneath. “The NFL is a game of space and inches”. They basically got two 1st round draft steals last season in Carradine and Lattimore, so trade up and get that needed guy this season.

  39. irishgary says: Jan 22, 2014 7:47 AM

    Kaepernick is overrated. He’s a good running QB but not a good NFL QB, his accuarcy sucks

  40. 1historian says: Jan 22, 2014 7:52 AM

    They played their hearts out and they were beaten by a better team. End of story.

    (I never thought I’d say this but) GO BRONCOS

  41. thelionsrgreat says: Jan 22, 2014 7:55 AM

    He is by far the most overrated QB in the league. I can’t wait until they give him the huge contract, to be followed by monster regret. In reality if the packers DB’s could catch they lose in the first round like they should have. He is the new Vick, get ya some wins Bessie’s he can run but NEVER will win it all because he refuses to go through all his reads. And niner crying in …..

  42. bandzz says: Jan 22, 2014 8:03 AM

    SF’s ultra conservative game plan cost them the game, either Greg Roman is not the answer at OC or Kaepernick is not the answer at QB if they didn’t trust him to throw the ball…my money is on the latter.

  43. 2ringraven says: Jan 22, 2014 8:06 AM

    Say what you will about Flacco, but when his moment arrived, he excelled. Kapernick has now crapped the bed on the big stage 2 years running.

  44. bucrightoff says: Jan 22, 2014 8:13 AM

    Translation: Damn, we might have 2 Super Bowls in a row if I had stayed with Alex Smith.

  45. monsterscream says: Jan 22, 2014 8:19 AM

    Not a fan of Kap but he took this one like a grown man. That’s what you want your leaders to have. It’s called accountability.

  46. getsome636 says: Jan 22, 2014 8:41 AM

    He stunk, it is not impressive that he had 130 yards rushing. There have been many QBs over the years that look at one receiver, then take off anf get some yards. However, none has won a Super Bowl because it just will not work. Until Kap learns to throw, he will win nothing.

  47. kaperchoke says: Jan 22, 2014 9:12 AM

    Fail OC, over rated over hyped over-inflated ego Noob QB vs league #1 Defense = no SB.
    GJ Harb, keep over rate, over hype, and over inflate that ego of your Noob QB cause you have no choice but to live or die with KraperNoob because you rush him in and shipped out Alex Smith because the 9er FO didn’t want to pay or believe in Alex Smith anymore. (who knows maybe they’ll draft another QB to pressure the over rated over hyped Noob, Harb did the same thing to Alex Smith, said nothing but positives but out of no where pulled the rug right under him and traded him off for picks) Been there done that Harb. We know your tricks.

  48. beastmode5150 says: Jan 22, 2014 9:29 AM

    Kapernick=wildcat QB

  49. realitycheckbaby says: Jan 22, 2014 9:34 AM

    No SF or Kap fan but Gore had 14 yards rushing. Kap kept them in the game.

    Having said that he’s got to spend more time studying and less in photo ops if he wants to get better. Running QBs are exciting but don’t win the big one-see Vick, Cunningham, etc.

    He can’t be a one read QB or as his legs go down hill so will his game.

  50. rufusporter says: Jan 22, 2014 9:47 AM

    The Seahawks own Kaep. It has to be getting into his head a little bit. I hope the Niners sign him to a huge contract.

  51. realfootballfan says: Jan 22, 2014 10:33 AM

    For the guy saying his interception rate needs to come down, you are aware that he threw the bulk of them in 2 games this year, lol? I don’t want to hear about what he “should” have thrown or “could” have thrown, but what he actually threw. He’s only had multiple interception games twice in his career, those two games in Seattle, a place where no one else seems to be able to win.

  52. kaperchoke says: Jan 22, 2014 10:34 AM

    No Harb, Capt KraperNoob Mr. KraperChoke failed in the championship as the 49er QB that’s why you are not in the SB this year, and he also choked in the SB last year that’s why you didn’t win the Lombardi Trophy.

    153 yds passing, 56.4 QBR and 3 turnovers (actually 4 in the game) in the last three possessions is not “fabulous”, it’s failure to his over rated over hyped Beats commerical tuned the seachicken fan out self, failure to his team that has a SB caliber defense and failure to the coaching staff and organization, that’s why he will not get that HUGE money contract he wants to add more money into his over rated over hyped pocket.

    The Truth is Capt KraperNoob Mr. KraperChoke was fail, stupid and choked. Even on the last play he threw the ball vs Sherman thinking he would go for the kill and he would win the game, if anyone watch that play (you can find it on the web) every other player (3 other) on the left side was open for gains on 1st down, instead he force the ball to failtree as usual and ended the game. No KraperNoob you are NOT that great, you are NOT as good as you think you are, you can’t tune out the seachicken fans like you did in your over rated over hyped Beats commercial, NO you don’t have the instinct of a Great QB like Montana, you’re not even there. You’re lucky you got the job because you didn’t even earn it, it was handed to you! Maybe that’s why you haven’t learn to be humble yet, maybe this off season you will or maybe not and you continue to fail!

    If Harb is not going to blame KraperNoob though he was the QB on the field that turn over the ball 3x in the last 3 possession (as Harb has no choice but to live and die with his decision rush in KraperNoob and ship Alex Smith off like a used condom) then blame that fail piece of crap OC Greg Roman. Why was KraperNoob running for yards instead of throwing the ball like a real QB should? Why was Gore getting NO holes to break for yards in the running game? Why wasn’t VD involved much or caught much of anything? etc etc etc
    It’s because the 9er OC is trash and can’t get the job done and can’t put the team’s offensive players in successful situations and thus KraperNoob led one of the lowest ranked passing offense in the league this season. Greg Roman NEEDS to be fired and replaced else the 49ers will never win a SB.

    Fail OC, over rated over hyped over-inflated ego Noob QB vs league #1 Defense = no SB.

  53. adderal says: Jan 22, 2014 12:13 PM

    His three turnovers did cost them the game but he was also the entire offense. Seattle dominated the trenches and like they have done all year came through in the end. tough loss but they did not embarrass themselves up there which I couldn’t say of the last two trips. Fact is Sea was the better team this year. My team is run well and with the exception of being decimated by injury I expect they will be back to contend next year. Sea fans enjoy these two weeks, after everything thats gone on up there sports wise you deserve a winner.

  54. uscoach says: Jan 22, 2014 12:44 PM

    He’s like Tebow, with better luck

  55. pmars64 says: Jan 22, 2014 1:27 PM

    The Seahawks threw ZERO blitzes at Kaepernick in that game. Why? Because they believed, correctly, that he couldn’t beat them with his passing. Teams and players get exposed in the playoffs and the Niners were exposed by the Seahawks. Their QB is not very accurate and has trouble seeing the field; their secondary is average; and Vernon Davis is soft. There’s your ballgame.

  56. omeimontis says: Jan 23, 2014 1:39 AM

    The loss was a team effort. Kap made mistakes. Gore did not run well. The special teams fumbled once and allowed a big return once. Dawson did not kick the ball into the end zone often enough. The defense gave up 2 long passes, and a long TD run. There is plenty of blame to go around. Better luck next year.

  57. mustang6984 says: Jan 23, 2014 5:56 PM

    Kaep is just not an NFL caliber QB. But them Harbaugh is about as good a coach as my sister. LOL!!!

    Keep talking Harbaugh…it seems to be what you and Crabtree are best at…running your mouths! Wanna get out in front of the Seahawk bus now? maybe lead the bus to the airport…to catch a plane…to the Super Bowl.

    Over sized egos have a habit of being your downfall harbaugh. Have you, Kaep & Crabtree learned that yet?

  58. kkalama1 says: Jan 24, 2014 12:57 AM

    Kap will always relay on his feet to get him out of any situations, I dont think he will ever be a pass first qb. During the seahawks game, he probably coulda gotten rid of the ball before the strip fumbles but he was so scared that he was only looking to get what he could running instead of passing. The way Cliff Avril stripped him, Im suprised Kaps arm didnt get broke(watch the replay).. But in all honesty, good luck 49ers. Seahawks will beat you consistantly if you cant figure it out

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