Colin Kaepernick passed for 243 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start in place of the injured Alex Smith, and the San Francisco 49ers whipped the Chicago Bears 32-7 in an NFC matchup of division leaders that hardly lived up to the hype.
SAN FRANCISCO — Strong-armed fill-in Colin Kaepernick made all the right throws, looking every bit a capable NFL No. 1 quarterback.
Kaepernick passed for 243 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start in place of the injured Alex Smith, and the San Francisco 49ers whipped the Chicago Bears 32-7 Monday night in an NFC matchup of division leaders that hardly lived up to the hype.
“It’s everything I could’ve ever wished for,” Kaepernick said. “It feels great just to be out there.”
Kaepernick threw touchdown passes to Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree, and Kendall Hunter ran for a 14-yard score as San Francisco (7-2-1) scored on each of its first four possessions — with Aldon Smith wreaking havoc on the other side of the ball with 5 ½ sacks.
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Smith took over the NFL sacks lead with 15, passing Denver’s Von Miller with 13, with the second-best total in franchise history behind Fred Dean’s six-sack day on Nov. 13, 1983, against New Orleans.
Jason Campbell, the other quarterback in this matchup of backups, threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall in the third quarter but was intercepted twice in his first start since October 2011, when he played for Oakland.
“Tonight was probably the worst nightmare,” said Campbell, filling in for the injured Jay Cutler.
San Francisco leads the NFC West and the Seahawks (6-4) are second.
Chicago (7-3) dropped into a tie with Green Bay in the NFC North.
Tarell Brown and ex-Washington Husky Dashon Goldson each had an interception for San Francisco’s stingy defense, which shut down Campbell, Matt Forte and company three years after the teams last met in a 10-6 49ers home victory.
“We were playing our defense, stopping the run and then stopping the pass,” Aldon Smith said. “I was just playing my game and getting after it.”
Kaepernick, Aldon Smith and Hunter made 49ers general manager Trent Baalke look good for his selections from the 2011 draft class.
Jim Harbaugh, reigning NFL coach of the year, earned a key victory four days after his own health issue. The 48-year-old Harbaugh underwent a minor procedure for an irregular heartbeat Thursday.
The 49ers added a safety in the fourth quarter. With 9:32 left, former San Francisco offensive lineman Chilo Rachal was called for intentional grounding out of the end zone, but Harbaugh challenged and the review showed Rachal’s knee was down in the end zone before the ball left.
The soft-spoken, stone-faced Kaepernick went 16 for 23 with a 133.1 passer rating. He completed 12 of his first 14 passes, including a 57-yard strike to Kyle Williams that set up Davis’ 3-yard TD on the next play.
Bears coach Lovie Smith said, “We have to leave this game as quickly as we possibly can, because we didn’t do anything. There’s nothing good, really, to talk about.”