Fresh off the 49ers' 32-7 romp of the Bears in Candlestick, reaffirming their spot among the NFL's elite, the media hysteria begins. Kaepernick or Smith? But before we go there, let's get to some of the key points from Monday Night.

  • Kaepernick. What can you say that isn't being said. The kid from Nevada had as good of a debut as you hope for as a QB. A dominating win with incredible numbers that include 2 TD passes, over 240 yards, and NO turnovers. Most importantly, this was in his first start, under the bright lights of Monday Night, going against one of the top 2 defenses in the league. Was very smart, had great pocket presence, and was very accurate all night. He should have even had a few more completions but just missed on a couple throws to Davis and rifled one pass so hard across the middle that it ricocheted off Moss' hand and likely caused a jammed or broken finger. Incredible stuff, the kind of stuff fans marveled at the prospect of when the Niners moved up in the 2nd round to draft him in 2011.
  • Aldon Smith. Aldon Smith should have won Rookie of the Year last year. Anyone who watched the 49ers consistently enough last year knew that. This year, he's making his case for defensive player. 5.5 sacks tonight, a new Monday Night record. You have to take into account that Smith benefited greatly from that porous o-line (namely the one and only, Chilo Rachal) but regardless, Aldon was back to his un-caged ways, dominating whoever was in front of him with speed and relentless power
  • Vernon Davis. Davis finally emerges from the shadows and gets re-acclimated with the offense. The leading receiver of the night was up to his usual ways, darting through coverage and making teams pay for mismatches. Kaepernick had several nice throws to him and had he notched one more, we'd be talking about 2 TD's for VD instead of one.
  • Entire Team. The 49ers would have beaten any team, on any field with a night like tonight. This is the game that shows you just how good the 49ers are at their best. The pass rush that all but disappeared in 2012 came back with a vengeance. Sure, it was at the expense of a weak Bears offensive line, but it was unyielding dominance nonetheless. Coverage in the secondary was very good but with the way the front seven was playing, I could have had a shut down kind of night. That's not to take away from them, it's just speaking to the show the defensive line and linebackers put on. Last but not least, the offensive line. They are a immeasurable reason why Kaepernick had the night he had. They stonewalled the Chicago defense in the passing game and steamrolled on run plays. Anthony Davis continues to push for the Pro Bowl.

It's easy to write the highlights of a 32-7 game, but now let's look from the other side of the table. Firstly, the defensive line's performance has to be tempered with the fact that Chicago's offensive line is atrocious. Secondly, neither starting QB was playing. That's not to say the Niners wouldn't have won in a Smith vs. Cutler contest (because I'm certain after watching this that they would have), it's just something to consider. Thirdly, while it's easy to jump on the "Kaepernick is the new Steve Young, start him now" bandwagon, it's also important to remember that:

1. The Bears had very limited film on Kaepernick and could have really been goosed by Smith being rule out.

2. The defense and offensive line played astoundingly well. There's no question Smith would have won this game as well. 32-7? Maybe not, but this was a team win and one that would have happened regardless of who was behind center.

3. Alex Smith, although not nearly as electric, has proven consistency. Kaepernick put on the game of his life, no doubt, and the future looks incredibly bright, but Smith led this team to its initial resurgence last year and was seconds away from a Super Bowl. This year, he ranks only behind Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers in QB rating. He also continues to be smart and careful with the football. Most importantly, he has won the respect of many a teammate. These players now go to war for him and have confidence in him as a general. Once you start shifting QB's, this creates a rift--especially when the change occurs during injury. I'm not saying this doesn't make the seat hot for Smith, but for the sake of this team right now, making hasty decisions after one game of evidence could prove to be damning.

Harbaugh likely made the post-game comments he did out his own shrewd nature. Why tell the media or the Saints who is going to play next weekend? Much like this week, Harbaugh makes a move to keep the opponent guessing and spread their practice time thin by preparing for two different QBs.

The Niners desperately needed this game not only to keep pace in the NFC top-seeding race, but to also reestablish confidence. They got that and a whole lot more. This is the kind of game teams like to use as a springboard and with remaining games that include visits to New Orleans, New England, and Seattle, they'll have to sustain that momentum for a while.