In Colin Kaepernick’s fifth NFL start, he overcame one of his biggest challenges.
The 49ers traveled to Foxboro, Mass., for a mid-December game in 2012 played in low-30s temperature and a steady rain. After jumping to a 31-3 lead, the 49ers’ lead completely disappeared in the middle of the fourth quarter.
Kaepernick gave the 49ers the lead for good on a 38-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree. The 49ers ended with an impressive 41-34 victory.
“I remember being up a lot and having them come rushing back,” Kaepernick said. “It was a great feeling to go up there, get that victory, especially against a team like that. It was huge and it was another confidence-builder for our team, for myself at that point in time, that we were playing one of the best teams in the league and went there on the road.
“So I think we have a similar opportunity this week to play a very good Patriots team and go out and get a victory.”
Kaepernick threw for 221 yards and four touchdowns in that meeting against the Patriots. On Sunday, the Kaepernick who faces New England will not have anywhere near the on-field intrigue and potential star power he seemed to possess as a first-year starter.
But Patriots coach Bill Belichick still views Kaepernick as a major threat to his 18th-ranked defense.
“I think he’s a very dangerous player back there,” Belichick said this week on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “It’s a different offense, so some of the things are different. But he can hurt you in a lot of ways. He’s got a good arm and throws the ball all over the field. He’s athletic and can extend plays. He can also run for yardage.
“I think he’s shown a good ability to run the offense, some of the checks or decision-making that coach (Chip) Kelly has the quarterback doing. It looks like he handles that well. On film, it looks like he makes good decisions.”