49ers have a blooming quarterback controversy

If the San Francisco 49ers don’t already have a quarterback controversy going this morning, they might. Soon.

Colin Kaepernick, filling in for Alex Smith on Monday night as the veteran could not return from a concussion suffered last week, lit up the stingy Chicago Bears defense. Kaepernick shredded the Bears, in fact, completing 16 of 23 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged more than 10 yards per attempt and was practically flawless against a defense that entered leading the NFL in takeaways.

So, the question after the 32-7 whipping was pretty straightforward for Niners coach Jim Harbaugh. Is Kaepernick his starting quarterback moving forward?

“We’ll see,” Harbaugh said. “I usually tend to go with the guy who’s got the hot hand. And we’ve got two quarterbacks that have got a hot hand. So, thought Colin did an outstanding job. Thought he did a great job. Poise in the pocket, pushing the ball and throwing with accuracy. Did a nice job running the game plan. Everything he did was exemplary, again. And really acquitted himself great. And very proud of him for that.”

Smith has performed at a high level for the 49ers this season, completing 70 percent of his passes. But let’s be honest about the situation here – the Niners have pretty much constantly been looking for someone else since Harbaugh came onboard. They signed Smith to a one-year deal in 2011 when they drafted Kaepernick in the second round from Nevada. The club flirted with Peyton Manning this offseason. Maybe the time has come.

“Like I said, well we really have two guys that have a pretty hot hand,” Harbaugh said. “But, we’ll make that decision as we go forward.”

Is it an unwritten rule a starter cannot lose his job due to injury?

“We’ll make that determination as we go,” Harbaugh said. “But, there’s no rule.”

So, there you go. Sounds like a quarterback controversy is in full bloom or will be in full bloom when Smith is cleared to return from his concussion.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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