SANTA CLARA (AP) — Colin Kaepernick, dressed in a rare postgame suit with a green tie and sporting spectacles, strolled through Levi’s Stadium with a little more spring in his step.
And, if you ask his teammates, he is having fun and smiling each day.
Winning can do that for you, and Kaepernick had been especially beat down in recent weeks as the San Francisco 49ers endured an embarrassing four-game losing streak.
He is facing less scrutiny after going two games without an interception after throwing five picks over the previous two.
“People can talk all they want. That doesn’t affect how I go about my business,” Kaepernick said.
Now, the Niners believe they can play themselves right back into the NFC West race, as crazy as that might sound with one victory — Sunday’s 25-20 home win against the Baltimore Ravens — on the heels of that skid.
With rival Seattle coming to town in a matter of days, and both teams sitting at 2-4, there is a chance for the Niners to change their fortunes in the division if they can get on a little roll.
“You understand what’s at stake. The more you win the better position you’re going to be in,” wide receiver Torrey Smith said. “We just need to try to figure out a way to win the next game. We can’t really look too far ahead. We aren’t in any position to even think about doing that with our record.”
While San Francisco has yet to beat a winning team, Sunday’s victory over the Ravens (1-5) for the team’s first win since Week 1 still did plenty for this group.
Kaepernick went 16 of 27 for 340 yards and threw a 76-yard touchdown pass to Smith, who had three receptions for 96 yards while Anquan Boldin made five catches for 102 yards.
“The one thing I have thought about these guys is that they’ve shown up for work every week and locked their jaw and gone to work,” coach Jim Tomsula said Monday.
Seattle has won five of the last six against San Francisco, including playoffs.
Regardless of records, there’s always a little more on the line when the 49ers and Seahawks play.
“Everybody gets a little anxious for this game,” said cornerback Kenneth Acker, who was wide open without a receiver in sight when he made an interception in the third quarter Sunday against Joe Flacco and returned it 45 yards.
Everybody wants to make sure San Francisco takes another step forward.
“Anything positive we can get we got to keep it going right now,” Smith said.
“We can’t really spend too much time being happy about this because we have a tough defense coming here on Thursday so we have to get our mind right for that.”
The 49ers received a one-game roster exemption for wideout Jerome Simpson, who is returning to practice this week after serving his six-game suspension for violations of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. San Francisco would have to clear room on the 53-man roster for Simpson if it decides to play him right away this week.
Tomsula said there is concern linebacker NaVorro Bowman is playing too much on his surgically repaired left knee, injured against the Seahawks in the NFC title game nearly two years ago. It sidelined Bowman for all of 2014.
He played all 77 snaps Sunday.
“I realize they’re high. That’s something I look at on every player,” Tomsula said. “We’ve got to get them down. We’ve got to get some of those reps down on him.”
Notes: Boldin had a defender land on his leg and was being checked. ... Tomsula said he’s “very optimistic” RB Reggie Bush will play Thursday night after missing his third game Sunday because of a lingering left calf injury sustained in the season opener. ... RB Carlos Hyde is still dealing with a tender foot that Tomsula said is bruised and requires an orthotic. The coach said it’s not plantar fasciitis and he doesn’t fear it is a serious injury.