Can Anyone Left in the Playoffs Stop Dynamic Dual-Threat QB Colin Kaepernick?

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IJanuary 13, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 12:  Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers runs the ball against nose tackle B.J. Raji #90 of the Green Bay Packers during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Candlestick Park on January 12, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Colin Kaepernick single-handedly destroyed the Green Bay Packers on Saturday night, rushing for 183 yards, passing for 263 yards and totaling four touchdowns in the San Francisco 49ers' blowout win at home.

Kaepernick's night didn't start out as he'd hoped, though, as he threw an interception on his second pass of the night that Sam Shields returned 52 yards for the game's first score. 

The young quarterback never looked back, though. He bounced back in a major way to lead the 49ers to an easy win against a team that had only lost two games in its last 12. During the course of the game, San Francisco totaled 579 yards and kept the ball for over 38 minutes.

He also broke an NFL record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in any game in the history of the league, via ESPN Stats and Info:

Colin Kaepernick has 183 yards rushing. FROM ELIAS: Entering today, the most by a QB in ANY game was 173 by Michael Vick.

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 13, 2013


So, is there any team left in the playoffs that can stifle Kaepernick and the 49ers explosive offensive attack?

Follow along as we take a look at the teams left in the field to determine if Kaepernick can be stopped or if he and the 49ers are ready to roll to title No. 6. 


Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons are doomed if they get past the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. 

The Falcons couldn't stop the run all year long, ranking No. 21 in the NFL allowing 4.8 yards per attempt and 123 yards per game. 

Furthermore, Atlanta faced a quarterback similar to Kaepernick twice in 2012, and Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers gave this team fits in both contests.

In the two games against Atlanta, Newton passed for 502 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions and rushed for 202 yards and two touchdowns. 

Like we said, they're doomed.

The 49ers possess a more complete team from top to bottom, and besides an explosive offense, San Francisco features a defense capable of holding Atlanta in check.


Seattle Seahawks

If any team can stop Kaepernick's duel-threat abilities, it's the Seahawks. 

The last time these two teams met, the Seahawks annihilated Kaepernick and the 49ers at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. 

Kaepernick was held to just 31 yards on seven carries and passed for 244 yards with one touchdown and one interception. 

As a team, the 49ers only rushed the ball 19 times for 82 yards and zero touchdowns. 

But the thing to remember about that contest is that the "12th Man" had a lot to do with the outcome. Teams don't perform well in Seattle, and as a result, the Seahawks didn't lose a single game this year at home. 

If the Seahawks beat the Falcons, they'll travel back west to face the 49ers at Candlestick Park where things will be a little bit different. 

In addition to the home-field advantage the 49ers would have, the Seahawks will be without defensive end Chris Clemons, who tore his ACL against the Washington Redskins in the Wild Card Round. Seattle will be much more vulnerable against the run without him in the lineup—a fact that bodes well for Kaepernick and the 49ers. 


New England Patriots

We already saw earlier this year that the Patriots are incapable of slowing down Kaepernick and the 49ers offensive attack. 

At Gillette Stadium, no less.

During that Week 15 contest, Kaepernick passed for 221 yards, throwing four touchdowns and one interception. He only rushed the ball seven times for 28 yards, but the 49ers had a different game plan against New England's defense.

The Pats also struggled against another mobile young quarterback this year. Russell Wilson threw for 293 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions earlier this year, and his mobility was a big problem for New England, which could only manage two sacks.

It's not a stretch to believe New England would struggle to contain Kaepernick's dual-threat offense once again in Super Bowl XLVII.


Houston Texans

Houston has yet to face a quarterback like Kaepernick this season.

But given the team's recent struggles against teams' rushing attacks, and given its inability to create turnovers in the passing game while allowing plenty of touchdowns, it's not hard to envision Kaepernick and the 49ers dominating the action.

Especially considering the way the 49ers offensive line is playing. 

Andrew Luck had some measure of success against Houston during his two games, throwing four touchdowns and zero interceptions—without the benefit of a strong rushing attack or any semblance of protection from his offensive line. 

The Minnesota Vikings dominated the line of scrimmage in Week 16 when they faced the Texans, leading me to believe things wouldn't be any different if the 49ers faced Houston in Super Bowl XLVII.


Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens don't feature a defense that's well-suited to stop Kaepernick's dual-threat abilities. 

Baltimore lost to the Washington Redskins earlier this year, allowing Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris to have big games. RG3 passed for 242 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another 34 yards, and Morris rushed for 129 yards and a touchdown.

Baltimore lacks the necessary speed at the outside linebacker position to keep the 49ers offense in check on the read-option, and I'd expect Kaepernick to have a huge game should these two teams meet in New Orleans

Even worse for the Ravens, should they face the 49ers, is the fact that Baltimore has struggled to stop the run all year long, allowing almost 123 yards per game and 15 rushing touchdowns. 



Kaepernick can be stopped, but it's not likely he will be. 

The Seahawks have the best chance of keeping him in check, but it won't be easy for them to slow him down in San Francisco with his home crowd cheering him on. 

Kaepernick has proved he's capable of scoring points with the best of them, outdueling Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers in the past month—two of the best quarterbacks in NFL history.

49ers gain franchise playoff record 579 yards. The other 4 times they've gone over 450 in a playoff game, they won the Super Bowl.

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 13, 2013


As long as Kaepernick keeps taking good care of the football, which he has done all year long, the 49ers will win Super Bowl XLVII.


Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 


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