NFL Nation: 2014 season predictions
Thoughts as 49ers' Smith ruled out for MNF
November, 19, 2012
By Mike Sando | ESPN.com
The assumption all week was that Alex Smith would start for the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night.
The assumption was wrong.
While Smith's concussion did not prevent him from practicing during the week, it will prevent him from playing against the Chicago Bears, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports. According to Mortensen, Smith was "unable to get clearance from a neurologist" to play in the game.
That means second-year pro Colin Kaepernick will make his first NFL regular-season start against arguably the best defense in the league. The Bears will be without their starting quarterback, Jay Cutler, also because of a concussion. Their backup, Jason Campbell, owns 70 regular-season starts and a 31-39 record in those games.
Kaepernick played effectively during the latter stages of the 49ers' 24-24 tie against St. Louis in Week 10. He completed 8 of 9 passes and rushed for four first downs with a touchdown during the fourth quarter and overtime of that game. He took three sacks and fumbled twice overall, however. He was off-target with some throws while completing 3 of 8 passes immediately upon replacing the concussed Smith in the second quarter.
Reports have suggested Smith took all the meaningful practice reps in anticipation of playing against the Bears. If that is the case, the 49ers would appear to be at a quarterback disadvantage going into the game. Even so, the staff had to know there was a chance Kaepernick would play. The game plan will presumably take advantage of his strengths as a runner and of his strong arm.
Final Atlanta 24 Jacksonville 14 Final Detroit 23 Buffalo 0 Final Indianapolis 7 Cincinnati 35 Final New York 7 Philadelphia 37 Final St. Louis 13 Miami 14 Final Kansas City 14 Green Bay 34 Final Carolina 10 Pittsburgh 0 Final New England 13 New York 16 Final Washington 24 Tampa Bay 10 Final Baltimore 22 New Orleans 13 Final Chicago 13 Cleveland 33 Final San Francisco 40 Houston 13 Final Minnesota 19 Tennessee 3 Final Denver 27 Dallas 3 Final Arizona 9 San Diego 12 Final Seattle 31 Oakland 41