San Francisco (AFP) - San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick will retain his place in the starting line-up next weekend after making his season debut in Sunday's 45-16 drubbing by the Buffalo Bills, team officials said.
Kaepernick, who was roundly jeered once more by the Buffalo crowd after refusing to stand for the national anthem, had done enough to impress head coach Chip Kelly despite the 45-16 blowout.
Kaepernick went 13 for 29 for 187 yards and a touchdown as he made his first start for the 49ers in nearly a year.
He also led the 49ers rushing with 66 yards from eight carries and did not turn the ball over.
"There are some positives that you can really build on with him that he did. I thought he extended some drives, keeping plays alive with his legs," Kelly said after Sunday's game.
"He did a good job, so it was a pretty good situation in terms of him running the football."
Kaepernick had played second fiddle to Blaine Gabbert this season before earning his call-up against the Bills.
The activist, who has protested the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" to draw attention to social injustice, meanwhile took aim at critics who branded him unpatriotic for his protest.
"I don't understand what's un-American about fighting for liberty and justice for everybody, for the equality this country says it stands for," Kaepernick said.
"To me, I see it as very patriotic and American to uphold the United States to the standards that it says it lives by."