Kaepernick's triumph didn't go as planned

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Kaepernick's triumph didn't go as planned

FOXBORO -- It ended up being the difference in the game: A 38-yard touchdown strike from Colin Kaepernick to Michael Crabtree with 6:25 left in the fourth quarter. It snapped a Patriots streak of 28 consecutive points and put the 49ers ahead, 38-31, in a game they eventually won, 41-34.
And to think, that wasn't even how the play was drawn up.
"It was a nice job by Colin," said 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh afterwards. "That was not where he was supposed to go with the ball. It wasn't the intent of the play. But he saw what he saw and kicked it out to Michael, and Michael made a huge play."
After the Patriots battled back from a 31-3 deficit to tie the game at 31-31, LaMichael James returned a kickoff 62 yards down to the Patriots' 38-yard line.
That set up Kaepernick's lone play on the next drive. It was a short comeback route for Crabtree on the left side that caught Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington off-guard. Kaepernick found Crabtree, who then turned and took the ball 38 yards down the left sideline into the end zone untouched.
And everybody admitted the play wasn't meant to go to Crabtree.
"That was just another option in the play," said Kaepernick. "I saw Crabtree one-on-one with the matchup. I liked it, he's a great player and makes a lot of great plays. And he did on that play."
Kaepernick finished the game 14-of-25 for 216 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. It was just the fifth start of his NFL career. So going into Tom Brady's building was kind of a big deal.
"It is a little bit crazy, a little bit surreal," said Kaepernick after the win. "But I'm just trying to keep my head down and try to keep it going as long as I can."
Kaepernick did that, and he did it in tough conditions.
Not only did he do it in an improbable place like New England. But he also helped put up 41 points in a brutally wet and rainy Gillette Stadium.
"It was a real tough environment," said Harbaugh. "It was raining the entire game. But he did a nice job powering the ball through the elements, and through the defense at times. He didn't make every play, but that's a good football team we played."
Because of the weather, Kaepernick fumbled four snaps from center. But he recovered all of them.
"Just a wet ball, mishandling it," said Kapernick. "One hundred percent my fault."
"Yeah, we were having some difficulties there," said Harbaugh. "We just kept working at it, talking about it. The ball was hitting and squirting off Kaepernick's hand. He moved his guide hand, his left hand a little further to the right, and his top hand a little further to the right, and that helped."
Kaepernick didn't let the weather affect his mindset. He also didn't let his lone interception affect him much. After getting picked off by Devin McCourty when he tried to force one down the middle of the field early in the third quarter, Kaepernick showed his confidence driving the team down field to score a touchdown. Then he went right back to the same throw two possessions later, hitting Crabtree over the middle in between two defenders for a 27-yard strike and a touchdown that put San Francisco up 31-3.
"I was very impressed," said Harbaugh. "After you throw an interception -- I haven't done a study on this, but I just feel this in my bones -- that after you throw an interception, it's very hard to lead a touchdown drive the next possession, and basically step back in there, throw a ball right down the middle, which he had done the previous possession and had it intercepted. That takes some gravel in the guts, and talent of course, because he had to power that ball through the elements and the defense. I think it says a lot."
Kaepernick didn't have much to say after the game. He gave short answers and was straight to the point, especially when it came time to answer questions about his game-winning touchdown pass to Crabtree, which answered and one-upped Brady in his own building.
"This is my 17th year of football," he said. "I've been playing since I was 8 years old. So, to me, when I go out there, I'm going to throw it to the guy who's open. You try to keep football simple so your mind can be clear when you're on the field."
Kaepernick didn't have to say much after the game. He did all his talking on the field.

Dustin Pedroia leaves Thursday's game with left knee pain

Dustin Pedroia leaves Thursday's game with left knee pain

A sloppy, cold night at Fenway Park led to an early exit for Dustin Pedroia, who was pulled because of left knee pain.

The Red Sox said the move was precautionary and that Pedroia is day to day. The press-box announcement included the note that manager John Farrell removed Pedroia, which is not typically information provided in-game, but was perhaps an attempt to reinforce that Pedroia did not want to exit the game.

Pedroia had surgery on that knee in October. It's the same leg that was hurt when Manny Machado slid into Pedroia at second base in April, the slide that sparked the plunking war between the Orioles and Red Sox.

Pedroia led off the third inning Thursday night against the Rangers' Nick Martinez with a walk and scored when the next batter, Xander Bogaerts, homered. Pedroia grounded out to end the bottom of the fourth. 

He did not field a ball in the top of the fifth and was replaced by Josh Rutledge ahead of the top of the sixth.