49ers vs. Ravens, the quest for six, I have to admit that even though I am very confident and comfortable in saying I believe in my heart that the San Francisco 49ers will win the Super Bowl, I’m still pretty darn nervous. The one thing I think the 49ers have on their side is offensive versatility that I don’t think the Ravens or any other team can match up with, pick your poison Baltimore!
The west coast/pistol/option read hybrid offense the 49ers have going is so unique and fun to watch it’s torture for opposing defenses. How do you defend it? That’s what every single head coach and defensive coordinator in the NFL is wondering and the Ravens will try to figure out today.
With the read the QB Colin Kaepernick has the option to run the ball himself, hand it to the RB and on some plays fake the run and throw the football. Teams have a couple of options, seal off the edge with outside linebackers and defensive ends and stop the QB from running or seal up the middle and take their chances with the QB. The thing they always have to do is cover the receivers on routes.
The thing the 49ers have done a brilliant job of since CK7 took over the starting job is simply take what the defense gives them. Example, the Packers gave Kaepernick the edge, the result a NFL record 181 rushing yards by Kaep. The Falcons, they chose to focus on Kaepernick who didn’t run that much he was forced to sit in the pocket and throw the ball which he did well for most of the night. When the option to run came up and the dirty birds were busy sealing off the edge, Kaepernick chose to hand the ball to Frank Gore and while the personnel were busy on the outside, Gore found huge rushing lanes up the middle.
The thing that is great about Colin Kaepernick is you can force him to run the ball himself, take that option away and he’ll just hand it to Gore or LaMichael James and if for some reason the running game isn’t dominate, he can simply sit in the pocket and make all the throws.
Look for the Ravens to try and rely on their tough defensive line and Ray Lewis to stop the runs up the middle while both assigning a spy on Kaepernick like Ed Reed AND attempting to set the edge. I think the 49ers will confuse them even more by opening up the field and going deep early in the game, whether they connect or not the safties are going to have to respect the deep ball and will think twice about crowding the line of scrimmage.
I also like the 49ers to win the one on one battles with the Ravens defense upfront and outright win the physical nature of this game on both sides of the ball. The complexity and shear scheming of the Niners running game will open up some lanes sooner or later. I can’t see the Ravens pulling a Packers and allowing Kaep to just go nuts on them which means they will need to overcompensate to stop him and the 49ers will allow Kaep to read the defense and make a decision on handing it to the RB or throwing the football.
Pick your poison Baltimore Ravens, either way the 49ers are going to feast.