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MNF: Smith Ruled Out in Battle of the Backups


Concussions are racking up in the NFL, and it’s hitting some of the more big name players around the league.  As for this week’s addition of Monday Night Football, it’s hit the two starting quarterbacks.

On Monday morning, news broke that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith will be ruled out of tonight’s game against the Chicago Bears due to a concussion he sustained the previous week against the St. Louis Rams that resulted in a 24-24 tie.

Team medical director Dr. Dan Garza determined that Smith’s concussion symptoms are still too prevalent to let the 28-year-old quarterback compete in the Monday night’s matchup.

“He tried, just couldn’t pass the final hurdle,” a source confirmed with NFL.com.  “No one wanted to take an unnecessary chance.”

Smith sustained the concussion in the first half against the Rams after running with the ball and slamming into a Rams defenseman in a helmet-to-helmet collision.  He stayed in the game for the following drive and even threw a touchdown with blurry vision, but the 49ers medical staff declared him ineligible to continue on with the game later in the second quarter.

Smith’s counterpart, Jay Cutler has also been ruled out with a concussion.  Jason Campbell will take Cutler’s place in a battle of backup quarterbacks.  It is the first time two quarterbacks will make their first start to the season against each other on Monday Night Football since 1979, per Elias Sports Bureau.

As a result of Smith’s concussion, head coach Jim Harbaugh will insert second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick into the lineup.  The news came as a bit of a shock to the Bay Area, who earlier this week learned that Smith was gearing up to start against the Bears.  In fact, he wore a non-contact black jersey in practice this week and took most of the first-team snaps.

After replacing Smith in the second half last week against the Rams, Kaepernick showed some late-game heroics marching San Francisco down the field late in the fourth quarter to score a touchdown and knot the game up at 24 apiece.

In tonight’s matchup, Kaepernick does present some problems for a beaten up Chicago defensive squad.  He has been utilized in Harbaugh’s wildcat offensive scheme throughout the first-half of the season and has the ability to break off big runs when passing plays break down. But it still remains to be seen whether he can handle an elite defense who’s been preparing for the chance to play against him for a full week.

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