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It is no secret that the 49ers want to run the ball out of the pistol formation. With Colin Kaepernick as San Francisco’s starting quarterback, the 49ers instantly evolved into an explosive offense.
In the nine games since the electrifying quarterback has been under center, San Francisco has scored 24 or more points eight times. Kaepernick allows the 49ers to run the read option, which has given opposing defenses fits.
The former Nevada signal-caller, who ran a similar offense in college, has been on a tear in the playoffs. Through two playoff games, Kaepernick has rushed for over 200 yards.
The play where the elusive 49ers quarterback picks up the majority of his rushing yards is the read option.
Kaepernick starts in the pistol formation with a back behind him. After taking the handoff, he will key on the defensive end or outside linebacker. He will then do one of two things: keep the ball or hand off the ball.
If the defensive player assigned with the duty of holding the edge comes crashing in toward the running back because he thinks it’s a run play, Kaepernick will keep the ball and take off to the spot vacated by the defender.
However, if the defensive player is disciplined and plays his responsibility, Kaeprnick will hand off the ball.
There is no question San Francisco will try to run the ball—it has rushed for 379 yards this postseason. The question for Baltimore is if it can limit the damage of the 49ers’ rushing attack.
The way Baltimore can limit San Francisco on the read-option plays is by playing disciplined football.
Terrell Suggs, Paul Kruger and Courtney Upshaw, the players who will be charged with holding the edge, will have to play their technique and not get sucked in on the fake handoff to the running back.