Harbaugh says Kaepernick put on “a winning-quarterback performance”

SANTA CLARA – This is what Jim Harbaugh said about Colin Kaepernick at the Monday press conference.

Q: You said after the game that you’re not going to make a change at quarterback. After watching the film, did that reinforce your stance?

HARBAUGH: Yes. I still feel that way. There were a lot of positives in the game, definitely a tough loss. And specifically with Colin, especially after the fumble-touchdown, the way he responded, the way our team responded, putting ourselves in a position to win after that. And the same can be said after the safety, too. I thought he responded with some big throws and big plays.

Q: Does Colin still have the hot hand?

HARBAUGH: I thought Colin played well, did a lot of really good things. made some good decisions, some big plays. We were better on third downs in this game, and a large part of that is Michael Crabtree, his emergence and continued good play. I thought he played extremely tough, made some big catches for us. Frank Gore is another player who is just a war-daddy type of guy who played big in this game as well.

Q: Are you evaluating Colin on a curve as a young quarterback, or was that a good performance for any quarterback? If that had been Alex, would that have been a good performance?

HARBAUGH: Yes. It was a winning-quarterback performance in tough circumstances, especially when you look at the third quarter, playing off of our own goal line. He made some big time plays in that situation and throughout the course of the game. Another area you have to look at and take responsibility for is penalties – our ability to move the ball when we don’t have penalties versus when we do have them.

Q: Was part of your decision to go with Colin the fact that he’s going to get better?

HARBAUGH: I think the biggest thing is what helps you win now, these games that we play, and going forward.

Q: This was Colin’s first loss as a starter. Did you want to see how he would respond? Did you like what you saw?

HARBAUGH: Yeah, I thought there were some real positives to take away from his performance.

Q: Is there anything Alex can do to get this job back?

HARBAUGH: Alex is not out of this. We feel like Alex is one of our guys, he’s won us a lot of football games. He’s prepared himself to play in these games each and every single week – that’s what his mindset has to be, as if he was the starting quarterback. That’s what we expect. If I know Alex, that’s what he’ll do.

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