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Sunday, February 03, 2013

Here's Why The 49ers Have Been So Unstoppable In The Playoffs


The 49ers radically changed their offense when the 
playoffs started.

Tony Manfred

They began using the pistol formation, and started 
running a play called the read-option that has been 
unstoppable.
Here's what the read-option looks like. Basically, the 
quarterback acts like he's going to hand it off, but at the 
last minute he can chose to run it himself if the defense 
is cheating in on the running back.
It looks like this if he hands it off:
gore touchdown gif
And like this if he keeps it:
49ers kaepnernick gif
Fox
It's a simple play with a simple philosophy — create a 
catch-22 where the quarterback runs it if the defense 
cheats on the running back, and the running back runs 
it if the defense cheats on the quarterback.
And the scariest thing about how the 49ers run it is this: 
They have don't have tendencies. Kaepernick will hand it 
off when the situation calls for a hand off, and keep it 
when the situation calls for him to keep it, and that 
makes it exponentially harder to defend against.
Take the 49ers' two playoff games as an example.
Against the Packers in the divisional round, Kaepernick 
according to ESPN Stats & Info. He ended up with 181 
rushing yards, and the 49ers scored 45 points.
But against the Falcons in the NFC title game one week 
later, Kaepernick handed the ball off on all 11 option 
plays that the 49ers ran. Atlanta clearly focused their 
defense on stopping him, so Kaepernick made the 
correct play and handed it off. Despite just 21 rushing 
yards from Kaepernick, San Francisco scored 28 points 
in the final three quarters.
That's the beauty of the read-option — if the defense 
takes away one option, the other option becomes that 
much more potent.
San Francisco's option play isn't so good just because 
they have a great running back (Frank Gore), and a great 
running quarterback (Kaepernick). It's so good because 
the defense truly doesn't know where the ball is going.

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