By Jim Owczarski Sports Editor Published Jan 12, 2013 at 10:58 PM

The 2012 season came to an unceremonious end Saturday night for the Green Bay Packers, a 45-31 drubbing at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers out on the West Coast.

We'll have more on this during the week here at, but the initial reaction can't be that of total surprise – and the hurt has to be less than what was felt following a 15-1 season a year ago.

While I firmly believed the Packers would be hosting the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday, I didn't think it would be a cakewalk over the 49ers. For much of the year, many felt San Francisco was the best team in football, but I felt the Packers had enough going for them to overcome Colin Kaepernick in his first playoff start.

Boy, did I ever underestimate the Milwaukee native. Or, perhaps I felt too good about this Packers defense. I wrote off the regular season performances against Adrian Peterson as aberrations, and felt vindicated by their play last week.

I never expected defensive coordinator Dom Capers and the Packers defenders to be so overmatched against Kaepernick, both on the ground and in the air.

He led scoring drives of 80, 80, 80, 93 and 93 yards. He helped the 49ers gain over 300 rushing yards and over 500 yards of total offense by rushing for 181 and throwing for 263 and accounting for four touchdowns. Time and again he fooled the Packers linebackers on the read-option, and blew by defensive backs for additional yardage.

He made his progressions in the passing game, zipped passes into tight coverage and prevented the defense from truly being able to key in on him and Frank Gore in the run game.

Rodgers ended the day with some nice stats, but even he admitted postgame his crew did not do enough.

Many fingers will be pointed at Capers, Erik Walden and the Packers defense – and they should be – but the harsh reality of Saturday's game is this: Colin Kaepernick, not Aaron Rodgers, was the best quarterback on the field.

Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.

A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.

To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.

Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining

In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.

Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.