SAN FRANCISCO — Strong-armed fill-in Colin Kaepernick made all the right throws, looking every bit a capable NFL No. 1 quarterback.
Kaepernick passed for 243 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start in place of the injured Alex Smith, and the San Francisco 49ers whipped the Chicago Bears, 32-7, Monday night in a highly touted NFC showdown that hardly lived up to the hype.
Kaepernick threw touchdown passes to Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree, and Kendall Hunter ran for a 14-yard score as San Francisco (7-2-1) jumped out to a big lead by scoring on each of its first four possessions — with Aldon Smith wreaking havoc on the other side of the ball with 5½ sacks.
‘‘I really wasn’t too nervous,’’ Kaepernick said. ‘‘I've had a lot of time in this offense. My teammates were really supportive.’’
Jason Campbell, the other quarterback in this matchup of backups for two division leaders, threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall in the third quarter but was sacked six times and threw two interceptions in his first start since October 2011 for Oakland.
He faced fierce pressure all night and had trouble moving the ball for the Bears (7-3) as starter Jay Cutler recovers from a concussion suffered eight days earlier — just like Alex Smith.
After Kaepernick’s stellar night on the big stage, there’s certain to be chatter of a quarterback controversy for the NFC West-leading Niners.
Aldon Smith took over the NFL sacks lead with 15, passing Denver’s Von Miller (13) with the second-best total in franchise history behind Fred Dean’s six-sack day on Nov. 13, 1983, against New Orleans. Tarell Brown and Dashon Goldson each had an interception for San Francisco’s stingy defense, which shut down Campbell, Matt Forte, and Co. three years after the teams last met in a 10-6 49ers home win.
‘‘It definitely wasn’t our best effort, by no means,’’ Campbell said.
The 49ers added a safety in the fourth quarter that was scored after review. With 9:24 left, former San Francisco offensive lineman Chilo Rachal was called for intentional grounding out of the end zone, but Harbaugh challenged and earned the safety after review showed Rachal was down in the end zone.
The soft-spoken, stone-faced Kaepernick, in his second year out of Nevada, went 16 for 23 with a 133.1 passer rating. He completed 12 of his first 14 passes with a 57-yard strike to Kyle Williams that set up Davis’s 3-yard TD on the next play — and had 126 yards passing by the end of the first quarter.
The 49ers led, 17-0, on Hunter’s early TD run in the second, quickly topping the 14.8 points the Bears were allowing per game.