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49ers’ Colin Kaepernick: The NFL’s New Rage

Colin Kaepernick, a second-year quarterback with a strange last name, no longer exists as a second-year quarterback with a strange last name.

Rather, Keapernick is one of the hottest names in the country, a national craze, after his historic, unforgettable performance in leading the San Francisco 49ers over the Green Bay Packers last weekend – punctuated by a unique touchdown celebration.

With an NFL rushing record of 181 yards for a quarterback in a playoff game, two rushing touchdowns and two passing scores, Kaepernick justified coach John Harbaugh’s controversial decision in the middle of the season to replace quarterback Alex Smith with an unknown commodity.

The Niners are 6-2 since the move and can advance to the Super Bowl with a victory over the Falcons in Atlanta on Sunday. In the meantime, if you happen to see someone flexing his arm and leaning over to kiss his bicep, then you will have witnessed Kaepernick’s touchdown celebration that has becoming a trending visual.

San Francisco fans have posted pictures of themselves in the act at home, in bars, on the street, at work or just about any other place they frequent. Some even put their toddlers or dogs in the position, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Many have made online videos.

Kaepernick capped his scoring plays with the gesture, and if it is to signify strength, no one can argue with it. This is a 25-year-old who threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown by the Packers early in the game. A lesser, weaker quarterback would have folded. All Kaepernick did from there is author of one of the more spectacular playoff games in some time.

Showing off his arm that players say can rip off gloves, he dissected the Packer defense for 263 yards and two touchdown passes to Michael Crabtree. Using is 4.53 speed in the 40-yard dash, his ran for TDs of 20 and 56 yards in, breaking Michael Vick’s QB post-season rushing record of 119 yards set when he played for the Falcons in 2005 against St. Louis.

“That’s something we didn’t account for,” Green Bay’s defensive end Mike Neal said, “him making as many plays as he did on his feet.”

“I wasn’t expecting to rush for that amount of yards,” Kaepernick said Sunday on Fox. “We knew we had some running plays in for the quarterback this week. We just didn’t know they were going to work that well.”

Above all and most significantly, Kaepernick played a smart game. His decision-making on when to run and when to pass and his command of the team’s game plan was outstanding for any quarterback, extraordinary for such an inexperienced player.

Now he is the Falcons’ problem. Throw Kaepernick in there with Washington’s Robert Griffin III and Seattle’s Russell Wilson – and Carolina’s Cam Newton and, to a lesser degree – Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck – young quarterbacks with amazing passing and running skills who are taking over the NFL.

And right now, only Kaepernick is still playing.

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