For the last two months, Jim Harbaugh has raved about Colin Kaepernick's ability to bounce back.
The second-year passer has done so twice already, responding to bad decisions with touchdowns as the 49ers lead Green Bay 24-21 at the end of the first half. The difference in the game: a 36-yard field goal by David Akers as time expired.
In trouble on 2nd and 6 on San Francisco's opening drive, Kaepernick threw to his left to Vernon Davis. Packers cornerback Sam Shields, however, read the play and stepped in front of Davis for the interception, then scooted past Kaepernick's tackle on his way to a 52-yard touchdown. Kaepernick's dubious decision immediately put a floodlight on Harbaugh's controversial move to replace veteran Alex Smith with Kaepernick earlier this season.
But Kaepernick has shown a knack for coming back from mistakes, and he did so on San Francisco's ensuing drive. The quarterback led the 49ers on an eight-play, 80-yard drive that he capped off himself with a 20-yard touchdown run.
Later in the half, Kaepernick - who has run for 107 yards in the first half - scrambled for a first down inside the red zone. But he threw the ball at the feet of two packers defenders, drawing a 15-yard taunting penalty that virtually negated his gain. The first-half rushing record for a quarterback is 119 by Michael Vick.
No matter. Two players later he rifled a 20-yard pass through a small window to Michael Crabtree, Crabtree's second touchdown of the game. That score gave the 49ers a 21-14 advantage, their first lead of the game.
The guy on the other side of the field hasn't been too shabby either. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have run far fewer plays - 20 vs. 48 - than the 49ers. But he's had some big throws, one of them a 44-yarder to James Jones to set up a touchdown run by DuJuan Harris.
The second was a dart to Jones from 20 yards, which tied the game at 21-21. The Packers were aided by a late-hit personal foul penalty on safety Dashon Goldson, who earlier in the day was named to the AP's first-team All-Pro squad.
Other notables from the first half:
* Justin Smith has looked strong and has drawn double teams from the Packers throughout the half. He leads the 49ers with three tackles
* Tight end Delanie Walker has dropped two passes. Neither he nor Vernon Davis has a catch despite seven targets between the two of them
*Ted Ginn, not A.J. Jenkins, has been the 49ers' No. 3 receiver. He has one catch for three yards, tripling his regular-season total. LaMichael James also has lined up at wideout and has one catch for seven yards.
- Matt Barrows