SANTA CLARA -- Colin Kaepernick and Carson Palmer weren't to be confused with Peyton Manning last Sunday.
Their passing stats were far from glorious. But the 49ers' and Arizona Cardinals' quarterbacks are, at least, riding two-game win streaks into Sunday's meeting at Candlestick Park.
"I'm happy with wins, consecutive wins," Kaepernick said Wednesday as the 49ers (3-2) prepare to host the NFC West rival Cardinals (3-2). "As long as we're winning, that's all that matters."
No starting quarterbacks won with fewer passing yards last weekend than Kaepernick and Palmer, at least among quarterbacks who finished their games. (Both the Philadelphia Eagles' Michael Vick and Cleveland Browns' Brian Hoyer left early in their teams' wins because of injuries.)
Kaepernick isn't sour about his paltriest passing performance as a starter. The 49ers didn't need him to air it out last Sunday night, and as a result, he posted career lows as a starter (six completions, 15 attempts, 113 yards) in a 34-3 rout of the Houston Texans.
"The only stat I care about is if we won or not," said Kaepernick, who is 10-5 all-time as a starter, including playoffs.
Kaepernick's 15th and final pass Sunday went for a 64-yard touchdown completion to Vernon Davis, who raced 44 yards after the catch. The Carolina Panthers defense intercepted Palmer three times -- twice in the end zone -- before the Cardinals escaped with a 22-6 home win Sunday. Palmer passed for 175 yards (19 of 28) with one touchdown pass and a 57.0 rating.
Palmer, acquired from the Raiders this offseason, has only five touchdown passes to go with nine interceptions. After helping craft Andrew Luck's phenomenal rookie season with the Indianapolis Colts, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians is struggling to recreate that offensive magic with Palmer.
"It's been a little bit longer and harder for Carson than it would be for a rookie, because he's been in so many systems," Arians said.
Palmer concurred in a separate conference call: "In the past 10 years, I've played in different systems, but all of them had similarities. This one really doesn't have any, so it's a work in progress."
Palmer explained that the Cardinals' schemes and concepts pose a challenge in such areas as route combinations, hot-read combinations when pressured, and the screen game.
"It's really different in a number of areas, which is a great thing, because it's not an offense the 49ers see every week," Palmer said.
Palmer has accounted for seven interceptions and just two touchdown passes over the past three games. His 67.0 passer rating ranks 30th in the league; Kaepernick ranks 21st with an 81.9 rating.
Last season with the Raiders, Palmer passed for 4,018 yards with 22 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and an 85.3 rating. The Cardinals acquired him in April, sending a 2013 sixth-round pick for the Raiders' 2013 seventh-round choice, plus a conditional 2014 seventh-round pick if he starts 13 games.
As the offseason unfolded, Palmer said he "realized I wasn't part of the plan" and understood the Raiders' move. He's kept his eye on his former team and praised Terrelle Pryor: "I'm a big fan of his. He's a very good friend of mine, and he's doing a great job."
Last week, Harbaugh heralded Skelton's game-day experience over released rookie B.J. Daniels. Bethel-Thompson has never attempted a pass in the NFL. Cut after the 49ers' 2011 camp, Bethel-Thompson had stints in the Arena Football League (San Jose SaberCats), United Football League (Sacramento Mountain Lions) and the Miami Dolphins practice squad before hooking on last year as the Vikings' No. 3 quarterback.