Ron Rivera views Colin Kaepernick as bigger challenge in rematch

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Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera expects to see a better performance from Colin Kaepernick this time around.

Kaepernick posted one of the worst performances of his career as the Panthers earned a 10-9 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 10 at Candlestick Park.

With the Panthers set to host the 49ers this Sunday in the Divisional Round of the NFC playoffs, Rivera expects to see a much different performance from the 49ers quarterback.

I don’t expect that again,” Rivera said, via Steve Reed of the Associated Press. “I expect the young man to come out and play well. He’s a good football player and he showed it (Sunday) night against Green Bay.”

Kaepernick threw for just 91 yards on 11 completions in the first meeting in November. His passer rating of 42.0 was the second lowest of the season, trailing only the three interception performance against the Seattle Seahawks (20.1 rating) in Week 2. Michael Crabtree was still unavailable while recovering from an Achilles injury and Vernon Davis was knocked out of the game with a concussion. It left an already thin 49ers’ receiver corps devoid of reliable options.

Crabtree and Davis are expected to play Sunday and the San Francisco offense has taken several strides forward with the pair together in the lineup. Crabtree caught eight passes for 125 yards in San Francisco’s win over Green Bay this weekend, more than Kaepernick totaled against the Panthers in their first meeting.

“All you have to do is watch the way he has played down the stretch,” Rivera said of Kaepernick. “We caught them at a good time and it turned out in our benefit.”

The venue will also be different as the Panthers get to host the return engagement. The 49ers are 12-2 over their last 14 games while the Panthers are 11-1 over their last 12. With two strong defensive units, the game should remain close throughout with the victor earning a bid to the NFC Championship game.

55 responses to “Ron Rivera views Colin Kaepernick as bigger challenge in rematch

  1. Both defenses are really good. The last meeting the niners D did its job holding the panthers to 10 points and they are playing even better right now. The niners offense did not show up, but Kap is playing alot better and that game they lost Vernon Davis in the first half and now Crabtree is back. Lets not forget niners lost by a point.Both the panthers and the niners are hot right now. Should be a good 1. Let the best team win.

  2. The 49ers are getting a ton of hype but they didn’t look that good against a depleted Green Bay defense to be all that confident about. Carolina’s defense is in a much better class than Green Bays even when healthy.

  3. This is going to be another very tough game, but I expect to see us win. The offense is now back to full strength & Carolina only put up 10 points against us when it wasn’t. Onward to the Candlestick NFCC game send off! And yeah, I’m going with the Saints to beat the gulls.

  4. 49ers could have won that game with a late field goal if it weren’t for a drop by Vance McDonald on a long pass from Kaepernick. Coulda woulda shoulda. The Panthers played a hell of a game and deserved the win. Can’t wait for round 2!

  5. I respect ron rivera. Despite the heat he received for the losing seasons, he’s turned it around big time. Props to him for respecting Kaps game and turning the Panthers around

  6. Pulling in the reins on Kaepernick was obviously the right move.

    They gave him too much rope too early.

  7. Kaepernick plays great against the poor Packers defense.

    Newsflash: Not every defense is as poor as the Packers D. Some teams (Seattle, Carolina) have good defenses.

    Prove yourself against good defenses, not weak Packer defenses.

  8. Having just watched the SF-Green Bay game, Colin K. was the deciding factor in the game. With Clay Matthews out with injury, they had no answer. But I think you can get in CK’s head if you hit him every play. Carolina’s defense is much better than Green Bay’s and I think you assign one person to hit him every play. If you leave him with time he will destroy you. They have so many weapons it’s hard to defense them all. Green Bay mustered all it could, but was overwhelmed. I hope Carolina simply stops SF cold. Nothing more I would like to see than the smirk wiped off CK and Jim Harbaugh’s faces. Go Panthers!

  9. Why is it that everyone magically forgets that the panthers only scored 10 points that last time around. Not taking anything away from the panthers but one could make an argument that this panthers team is the same as the one from week 10. They are very consistent. It’s obvious Kaepernick is better when he has Crabtree and a healthy Vernon Davis at the helm.

    This will be a great game against two very similar teams. Just not sure why the naysayers focus on the 49ers only putting up 9 at home, forgetting that the other team only put up 10. That’s a mark f 2 defenses. Now that one offense has just gotten significantly better due to the return of two healthy threats – who’s to say we’d only score 9 again??

    People put the hate aside and enjoy watching two good teams duke it out.

  10. CK played a close game against a Pop Warner GB squad. I hope Carolina has no flu bugs and everyone is full strength. I wants these 9er punks to go back to their bath house for the off season.

  11. Interesting that none of the headlines this week have anything to do with Cam Newton. A potential (albeit long shot) MVP candidate is flying totally under the radar, just where he needs to be. The most airtime he’s gotten this week was inroducing Nick Marshall for the nat’l champ game last night.

  12. The 49ers will play a lot better this time around since they are healthy. Also, this is the third year that their team has been in the playoffs so they are used to the added pressure, not sure the Panthers can say the same thing. Steve Smith is questionable, if he doesn’t play it will be difficult for them to win.

  13. CK didn’t play a great defense this is true, but when its all said and done he did what he had to do to win. Fyi, Cam Newton hasn’t played great against subpar defenses this year and barely pulled off wins, so it works both ways! It’s the playoffs, so anything can happen!

  14. Will be a great game. The NFL is week to week, so any comparison to previous matchups or games are at best tenuous.
    That being said, the one constant is fierce defense on both sides.
    Should be a great knock down battle.

  15. The Panthers were playing without a few starters at offensive line the last time these two met.

    Now the O-line is healthy, 89 is back, and Stewart is healthy to join the running attack with Williams/Stewart/Newton.

    Greg Hardy is arguably playing the best football on defense in the entire league right now. You double him? Charles Johnson is left to beat one man. I’ll take that matchup all day.

    Lets not forget, Cam Newton has been ballin since that game. Game winning drives vs New England, Miami, Atlanta, etc…

    I’ll take Carolina at home.

  16. I seem to recall the hawks recently losin to the niners and the cardinals. Then the niners beat the cards. Hawks fans cans shut up about “real” defenses now

  17. Anything can happen in the playoffs. As far as Green Bay vs SF………thats not a very good game to judge. Aaron Rodgers only tossed a career low in the playoffs 177 yards. The temps being around -15 or so also is a big factor as far as what the teams will do, due to just the temps and condition of the field. I agree, Kaep needs to prove himself against good defenses, but saying just that they shouldn’t feel good about themselves for barely beating the Packers is a bad argument.

  18. Tune in all the Seahawk fans who act like the Niners are their little brother. Hope you all enjoyed your regular season success, it’s now time to watch you do your usual post season implosion! #zeroSuperBowlsinSeattle

  19. Would Carolina have won in the conditions in Green Bay this past Sunday?


    glennsyank13 says:
    Jan 7, 2014 9:18 AM
    Ron Jawarski said Kaepernick could be the greatest QB of all time…. LOL

    Jawarski said “could be”. Any QB “could be” the greatest QB of all time if they have the right mixture of talent/coaching/luck/team around them. Kaepernick is having a season similar to Newton’s second season(this is Kaepernick’s third but really his second actually playing). Difference is in Kaepernick’s second season as starter he actually led his team to the playoffs.

  20. greg2geez
    Jan 6, 2014, 10:42 PM PST
    The 49ers are getting a ton of hype but they didn’t look that good against a depleted Green Bay defense to be all that confident about. Carolina’s defense is in a much better class than Green Bays even when healthy.
    They’ve gone 12-2 in their last 14 games and have won their last 7 in a row. The hype is deserved.

  21. Panthers are better. Plain and simple.
    Kaep will get another tattoo after this weekend, that says overrated

  22. @rondayne33
    Lol. You should really try living in the present.
    And it’s hilarious that you used the implosion comment. Try watching game tape of the niners last three post seasons.
    Pot meet kettle

  23. Kaepernick overhyped cause of the media. The guy can play. Have you watched his playoff games? Guy makes plays in the clutch. He also made a horrible throw in the clutch. Joe Montana made a throw like that in a superbowl that a bengel just plain dropped right at the goal line. It happens. Ask Favre. Being objective helps too. People are so fast to hate on players it’s ridiculous.

  24. Seatownballer-

    Your Hawks are one gift-wrapped Matt Schaub pick six from playing in GB last weekend, so please don’t act like there’s this huge gap between the niners/hawks. Both teams went 1-1 against each other during the season.

    Speaking of last post season…What were your hawks doing during the Super Bowl? Oh yeah, already watching the Niners play from home.

    Want to talk about post season implosions or empty trophy cases?

  25. All you Kap haters chew on this

    Joe Montana and Steve Young combined for how many road playoff wins in their careers?

    Answer: One

    Kap already has Two….you may not like him, but he is getting it done and is still learning the position!

    I will take him all day everyday

    Go Niners!!!!!

  26. Look at the numbers — Kaepernick and Newton are almost identical in total stats this season.

    With Aldon Smith back, he should be able to put consistent pressure on Newton forcing him out of the pocket and into the arms of Willis and Bowman.

    With Crabtree, Davis, Boldin and now Patton in the game this time around, it should prove a challenge for the Panthers if they blitz every down like they did the last game.

    Looking forward to a hard-hitting game….round 2 here we go.

  27. As a Seahawk fan, I’m hoping both the Seahawks and 49ers win this weekend. I wouldn’t lose sleep if the 49ers lose, but a Seattle S.F. NFC championship game would be the best game imaginable.

  28. Yes, Green Bay has a poor Defense… Arizona does not!

    Week 17 against an Arizona team that was fighting for a playoff spot here’s The statline for Kap

    21/34 310yds 2td 0 int , 4 rushing attempts 24 yds.

    Arizona has a top 7 defense and runs similar schemes to Carolina Defensively.

  29. Bottom line: the best team never wins the SB. The team that is playing the best in the post-season does- sometimes two different things.

    Both the Niners and Panthers are peaking at the right time. A close game and a reckless pick at the end will decide it.

    Watch Frank Gore.

    And I have -never- seen a QB with strides and acceleration like CK. Man can that guy run.

    Go Niners.

  30. Oh lord, if I hear one more person crying about how bad the Packers’ defense was, I might lose it. What pathetic excuse-makers. Bad defense! Injuries!! Dom Capers!!! Waaaahhh!!!!

    News flash: The Niners had injuries too. Both starting CBs were out (Rogers & Culliver), among others. It’s called football and injuries are part & parcel of the game.

  31. What is up with this BS talk that “Kap has to prove himself against a good defense”??
    Didn’t the 9ers just beat the Seahawks (the reputed best defense in the league) a few weeks ago? Apart from that, are you implying that whenever Kap plays well and wins, then the defense automatically must be bad?? What a crock.

  32. This game is going to be a bloodbath.

    Luke Kuechly is the best MLB in football with Bowman not too far behind. Eric Reid gives secondary an edge but the fact Panthers have two edge rushers sets them apart. Johnson & Hardy both equally bring it, where do you slide protection? Not to mention there two young rookie DT’s push the pocket. Justin Smith who was a monster 2 years ago is had slight decline.

    Kaepernick is not going to have those running lanes against this defense. Cam is going to need to make tight throws to keep moving the chains.

  33. It’s the playoffs….so which 9er fan has the responsibility to turn off the lights if things aren’t going quite as expected?

  34. Lots of sensitive niner fans here. People are just looking at past performances and you can’t argue that Kap has trouble against good defenses. Seattle and SF both saw how good Carolina’s defense is. Rivera isn’t worried about Kap he just need to make sure they score more than 14 points and they should be moving on.

  35. Great matchup. You’ve got DPOY in Bowman and next best linebackers in Willis, Davis, Keuchley, Brooks, and Smith.

  36. 1.Seahawks

    As per these are the top ten teams in total defense this year. The 9ers are 4-3 and the panthers are 3-4! Not that big of difference in who beat a team with a good defense!

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