49ers rout winless Jags in London
He ran. He threw. He conquered.
Colin Kaepernick did it all Sunday, rushing for two touchdowns and throwing for another to lead the San Francisco 49ers to their fifth straight victory, 42-10 over the winless Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium.
"The offensive line did a great job, made it easy for me," said Kaepernick, who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl last year. "I think this is one of the first game that we started that fast."
Kaepernick ended up with 164 yards passing and 54 yards rushing, Frank Gore also ran for two scores and 71 yards, while Kendall Hunter rushed for 84 yards for the 49ers (6-2).
But it was Kaepernick that made the key plays by when the team needed it early.
"He looked much like a running back, and that’s great courage," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "You don’t always see that in the quarterback position. As soon as he saw that window, he had a great dart and speed to get the ball into the end zone."
The Jaguars (0-8) were the "home" team at London’s iconic soccer venue, playing in the British capital for the first of their four-year run of regular-season NFL games in London.
They had plenty of fan support, too, with many of the 83,559 spectators waving their giveaway Jaguars flags throughout the evening.
None of that affected what was happening on the field, and on the field it wasn’t pretty for the Jags.
"Our season’s not over," Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon. "We’re not going to just go out there and get our (butts) kicked, we’re going to go back out there and fight."
Kaepernick made his first big play on San Francisco’s first possession, quickly throwing to fullback Bruce Miller on the right sideline for a 43-yard gain.
A few plays later, Kaepernick scrambled for 4 1/2 yards on a third-and 5, setting up Gore for a short gain and a first down.
After an incomplete pass, Gore ran 19 yards for the first touchdown.
Kaepernick took over the scoring after that, running 13 yards and diving into the corner for the second touchdown late in the first quarter, then passing to Vernon Davis in the corner of the end zone for another, and finally holding it and scrambling for 7 yards and a touchdown.
And all in the first half.
"Kaepernick is a stud athlete and he showed it again tonight," Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny said.
Besides a 38-yard field goal by Josh Scobee in the waning seconds of the half to make it 28-3, Jacksonville had little to be happy about. But the 49ers fumbled in their own territory late in the third quarter, giving the Jaguars their best chance to score. They took it as Chad Henne tossed a 29-yard touchdown pass to Mike Brown to make it 28-10 with 3:00 to go.
The Niners bounced right back, first with Kyle Williams returning the kick 47 yards before getting pushed out of bounds. Hunter ran 41 yards on the next play, bringing the ball to the Jacksonville 13.
Gore then ran for 9 yards, 2 yards and the final 2 on three straight plays for the touchdown.
San Francisco linebacker Dan Skuta scored the final points, recovering a fumble and running it back 47 yards for a touchdown after Marcedes Lewis let the ball loose following a 6-yard completion from Henne.
"There are definitely some plays that we needed to make, and the red zone really killed us," Henne said. "If it’s just players needing to make plays, we have to make them. We need to man up."
Both teams have a bye next week, as is usual after the trip to London. The Jags then visit Tennessee on Nov. 10 while the 49ers host Carolina.
"The bye week is coming at a good time," Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said. "We can take the time to evaluate where we’re at with our whole team and recommit to take the next step."
Sunday’s encounter was the eighth regular-season NFL game at Wembley, the home of England’s national soccer team, and the second this year. The Minnesota Vikings beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-27 last month.
Next year, there will be three games in London. The Jaguars will face the Dallas Cowboys in their second game of the four-game stretch, while the Detroit Lions will play the Atlanta Falcons and the Miami Dolphins will take on the Oakland Raiders.
Harbaugh seemed to love the experience of making the trip, likening it to another huge sporting event.
"The beginning of the game when they were playing the two national anthems, I felt like I was at the Olympics," Harbaugh said. "As a youngster, I always wanted to be in the Olympics and at that moment I was feeling like the moment when they play the gold medal and the silver medal and the bronze medal, the different anthems.
"I got a chill when the gal was singing `God Save the Queen.’"
NOTES: R&B artist Ne-Yo sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" and Laura Wright sang "God Save the Queen." … Former San Francisco quarterback Joe Montana and receiver Dwight Clark were the honorary captains for the 49ers. … It was San Francisco’s second game at Wembley. The Niners beat the Denver Broncos 24-16 in 2010.