San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, right, hugs San Francisco 49ers linebacker Nick Bellore (50) before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nam Y. Huh
December 07, 2016

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Colin Kaepernick is keeping his starting job after getting benched during one of the worst performances of his career.

Niners offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins said Tuesday that the embattled quarterback will start when San Francisco (1-11) hosts the Jets (3-9) on Sunday. Kaepernick completed just one pass in three quarters in a 26-6 loss to the Bears on Sunday.

Kaepernick was removed from the game for Blaine Gabbert in the fourth quarter after taking five sacks and completing one pass, which came midway through the second quarter.

''We just decided during the game to try to see if Blaine could give us a spark and Kap's been the starter,'' Modkins said. ''It's nothing other than that.''

San Francisco finished with just six net yards passing after the weather dictated a heavy reliance on the running game. Gabbert completed four of his 10 attempts for 35 yards and took a safety after the game was out of hand.

''I was just watching how the ball was coming off (Kaepernick's) hands and what our chances were of completing it,'' 49ers coach Chip Kelly said afterward.

San Francisco was able to run effectively for the majority of the afternoon, with 141 of the 49ers' 147 total yards coming on the ground. But Chicago scored three straight touchdowns and the 49ers needed to pass to get back into the game.

It was Kaepernick's first game in the snow of his career. The 49ers spent the week practicing in Orlando to save on travel time after a road loss in Miami. Kaepernick never appeared comfortable in the freezing temperatures while San Francisco extended is franchise-worst losing streak to 11.

''Elements always play a factor,'' Kaepernick said, ''but you have to be able to handle the elements. That's part of football, that's part of what we get paid to do and we have to do a better job with that.''

Kaepernick's struggles in Chicago came as a surprise after he appeared to be turning a corner over the last month. Kaepernick threw for 1,110 yards in his previous four games since the bye week, the most of any four-game stretch of his career. He threw eight touchdowns and two interceptions, good for a passer rating of 96.0, with 223 yards rushing.

But the Bears made sure to limit Kaepernick's legs, allowing just 20 yards on six runs. Kaepernick is second in the NFL in yards rushing by a quarterback behind Buffalo's Tyrod Taylor.

''Sunday was a step backwards. We have to get on track this week,'' Kaepernick said. ''We have to put that work in, make sure everybody's prepared, the mindset's right and move on to New York.''


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