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SANTA CLARA -- Down 42-10 with 11 minutes, 22 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh kept quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the game because he envisioned the possibility of a history-making comeback.
It was not until the 49ers’ next possession with 2:49 remaining that Kaepernick remained on the sideline and backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert made his 49ers debut.
Harbaugh was asked Monday why he did not remove Kaepernick from harm’s way earlier.
“The drive started with about 10 minutes and I was still thinking with three timeouts and a quick score, an onside kick, three timeouts to stop a drive, another score and an onside kick,” Harbaugh said. “I was still thinking of the possibilities. That drive extended quite a bit of time, longer than I was hoping for. And I did think about, in the middle of the drive about the six-minute mark, of taking Colin out, but didn’t.”
Gabbert engineered a drive on his second series that he capped with a 20-yard touchdown pass to rookie Bruce Ellington.