Opposing teams knew San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was a dual-threat entering the National Football League playoffs. During the regular season, the first year starter threw for 1,814 yards and rushed for 415 yards while starting in only seven games.
Kaepernick, running the read option offense from the pistol formation, rushed for at least 50 yards in four regular season games. His truly eye-opening performance, however, occurred on January 12 in a Divisional Round matchup versus the Green Bay Packers. Kaepernick tortured the Packers defense, accounting for 181 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, and another 263 yards and two touchdowns through the air.
The demolition of Green Bay got the Atlanta Falcons attention.
The Falcons focused their entire defensive game plan for the Conference Championship on stopping Kaepernick, and it worked. He carried the ball for just 21 yards on two attempts in that contest. The Niners managed to squeak out a 28-24 comeback victory, after steamrolling the Packers 45-31 a week earlier.
The Baltimore Ravens defense will study the tape of the NFC Championship game, and like the Falcons, employ a game plan designed to neutralize Kaepernick, and prevent him from getting to the edge. Outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Paul Kruger are big, strong and fast, and I am predicting they will be able to keep the 6'4" speedster in the pocket.