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Jim Harbaugh: Kaepernick 'played his (expletive) off'

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick said after the NFC Championship Game that he cost the San Francisco 49ers a chance at the Super Bowl. Coach Jim Harbaugh disagrees.

"I thought Colin played his (expletive) off," Harbaugh said.

The game was a microcosm of Kaepernick's season. He was brilliant at times, but Kaepernick and the entire 49ers offense was uneven for much of the season. Kaepernick ran well in the first half and made some great throws in the second half, but he turned the ball over three times in the fourth quarter.

Add it all up, and it's hard to know what to make of Kaepernick's year. We expected more out of the young signal-caller, but that's only because he was so otherworldly in the playoffs last season. Ultimately, he enjoyed a very good season for a quarterback in his first full season as a starter.

Harbaugh was remarkably at peace with the loss, believing that his team played great.

"We played well. The game itself was one of the best games I've ever witnessed as a coach or player because the players played their ass off. It was a credit to the players in the game, the way they played," Harbaugh said.

It's hard to disagree. Sunday's game will be played on NFL Network for decades to come. Harbaugh and the 49ers, unfortunately, have grown used to coming up short on these classics in Harbaugh's short tenure.

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