"It all begins with the quarterback, obviously," Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin told The Seattle Times. "Russell is playing at an extremely high level right now. It's just the maturity and growth, and we've all come to grow with him. This offense as a whole has been able to rally behind the things he does well. At the beginning of the season, we were kind of searching for that."
Rapoport: Week 16 game rankings
What's the best game on the Week 16 slate? The worst? Ian Rapoport provides a pecking order in his Rap Sheet Rankings. **More ...**
Jim Harbaugh's switch to Kaepernick, meanwhile, has changed what San Francisco can do with the ball.
The benching of Alex Smith remains controversial -- he still ranks third in the NFL in passer rating -- but the 49ers believe Kaepernick gives the team a chance to throw the ball anywhere on the field. The second-year passer has encountered troubles with ball control, but he's also the guy who torched the Patriots for four touchdowns on Sunday night. His explosiveness out of the "pistol" and base offense is tangible.
This isn't the quarterback matchup we expected when the schedule came out, but we'll take it. There isn't a better game on the slate in Week 16.