Colin Kaepernick made his much-anticipated debut as the San Francisco 49ers’ starting quarterback on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, and despite the blowout loss, it’s a job he’ll hold on to at least for now.
Coach Chip Kelly told reporters on Monday that Kaepernick would retain the starting job he took over from Blaine Gabbert the previous week. On Sunday, Kaepernick finished 13 of 29 for 187 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions. He added 66 rushing yards on 8 carries, but the 49ers lost 45-16 after a flurry of second-half points by the Bills.
The loss dropped the 49ers to 1-5 in Kelly’s first season as head coach. Gabbert, the former No. 10-overall pick in the draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, started the first five games. He won the opener, 28-0 over the Los Angeles Rams, but then suffered four straight losses as he tossed 4 touchdowns to 6 interceptions over that span.
Sunday marked Kaepernick’s first start since Week 9 of last season, when he was benched for Gabbert. He’s fallen far from the dual-threat phenom who took the 49ers to back-to-back NFC title games in 2012-13, now known more for his kneeling protests of the national anthem off the field than what he’s done on the field.
He and the 49ers will look for better this Sunday as they take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.