Strong-armed fill-in Colin Kaepernick made all the right throws, looking every bit a capable NFL No. 1 quarterback.
Kaepernick passed for 243 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start in place of the injured Alex Smith, and the 49ers whipped the Chicago Bears, 32-7, on Monday night in a highly touted NFC showdown in San Francisco that hardly lived up to the hype.
Kaepernick threw touchdown passes to Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree, and Kendall Hunter ran for a 14-yard TD as San Francisco (7-2-1) jumped out to a big lead by scoring on each of its first four possessions – with Aldon Smith wreaking havoc on the other side of the ball with 51/2 sacks.
“I really wasn’t too nervous,” Kaepernick said. “I’ve had a lot of time in this offense. My teammates were really supportive.”
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Jason Campbell, the other quarterback in this matchup of backups for two division leaders, threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall in the third quarter but was sacked five times and threw two interceptions in his first start since October 2011 for Oakland.
A person familiar with the process said Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski expects to be sidelined for four to six weeks after having surgery for a broken left forearm.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick gave no update on the high-scoring tight end, who appeared to be hurt while blocking on an extra point late in the Patriots’ 59-24 win over the Colts.
LIONS BENCH WR YOUNG
The Lions are benching wide receiver Titus Young this week after what coach Jim Schwartz called “unacceptable” behavior during Sunday’s loss to Green Bay.
Schwartz did not characterize the move as a suspension, but he said Young was sent home from the team’s practice facility Monday and will be inactive for Detroit’s game against Houston on Thanksgiving.
Ravens safety Ed Reed was suspended for one game by the NFL for repeated hits to the head and neck area of defenseless players.
The 11-year veteran will miss Sunday’s game against San Diego.
Reed is suspended for three violations of the player safety rules in the past three seasons.
The Jaguars named Chad Henne their starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against Tennessee. … Denver’s leading rusher, Willis McGahee, tore a ligament in his right knee and will be out for what’s expected to be a six-to-eight week stint. … Washington defensive back Brandon Meriweather is out for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee. … Minnesota receiver Percy Harvin did not practice Monday when the team returned after its bye week. Harvin is still working through a sprained left ankle. … The Rams will activate center Scott Wells, out since the opener with a broken bone in his left foot, in hope of having him in the lineup this week at Arizona. … Falcons offensive lineman Joe Hawley received a four-game suspension from the NFL after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. … The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Steelers QB Byron Leftwich injured his ribs in Sunday’s loss to the Ravens and will not start next week in Cleveland. With starter Ben Roethlisberger out indefinitely after spraining his right shoulder and dislocating a rib, the Steelers will likely turn to 37-year-old backup Charlie Batch.