SANTA CLARA — Before Colin Kaepernick got dunked on by guard Alex Boone in a prank that ended Wednesday's media session, the 49ers quarterback reflected on why he got nowhere against the Carolina Panthers defense in a Nov. 10 loss.

"I didn't perform well enough," Kaepernick said. "It was a variety of things. We have to play better this week."

Kaepernick, who passed for a career-low 91 yards in that 10-9 defeat, will get a chance to avenge that game when the No. 5-seed 49ers (13-4) visit the No. 2 Panthers (12-4) in Sunday's divisional round of the NFC playoffs.

Was it the Panthers' heralded defense or Kaepernick's own issues that spoiled their last meeting?

"It was me," Kaepernick replied.

Shorly after that response, Boone entered the media scrum and dunked a ball over Kaepernick's head and into a trash can that rookie lineman Luke Marquardt was holding behind a slightly suspecting Kaepernick.

The quarterback wasn't hurt during the prank. Nor did he sustain an injury on a dangerous helmet-to-helmet tackle Sunday on Tramain Williams' interception return in the 49ers' 23-20 wild-card win at Green Bay.

"He snuck me a little," Kaepernick said. "I thought he would try (to run) up the sideline)."

It was Kaepernick's only interception of the game. He finished 16-of-30 for 227 yards, including eight completions for 125 yards to Michael Crabtree.


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Afterward and again Wednesday, coach Jim Harbaugh called Crabtree's hands the best he's ever seen. Kaepernick didn't disagree, stating: "Not too many can catch like him. He has very strong hands."

For more on the 49ers, see Cam Inman's Hot Read blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/49ers. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/CamInman.