If intimidation is your game plan, I hope you have a better one. ~Colin Kaepernick
Adam Rifkin stashed this in 49ers!
Bill Barnwell on the 49ers dominating the Packers to start the 2013 season:
Colin Kaepernick throws for 412 yards and three touchdowns against the Packers.
"If intimidation is your game plan, I hope you have a better one." Kaepernick could have added "SUP, SON" to his already incredible quote, but he did that with his work on the field against the Packers on Sunday. After tearing Green Bay to shreds with his legs in the playoffs last year, setting a quarterback rushing record in the process, Kaepernick responded to some pregame taunting and a dirty hit from Clay Matthews with the best passing game of his career, going 27-of-39 for 412 yards with three touchdowns and no picks against a Packers team that couldn't hold up in coverage.
It's fair to say that most didn't think the 49ers would attack the Packers through the air. Last year, as I mentioned, San Francisco had dominated Green Bay on the ground. It matches its biggest strength against Green Bay's biggest weakness. Throwing the ball so many times pits its biggest weakness at the moment — receiver — against Green Bay's defensive strength, its deep, talented secondary.
And yet Green Bay shut down the San Francisco running game, which ran for just 90 yards on 34 carries (2.6 yards per attempt) on Sunday. The 49ers threw early and often, and Kaepernick's favorite target was the newly acquired Anquan Boldin, who produced the second 200-yard game of his career while catching 13 of the 17 passes thrown in his direction. The 49ers also got 98 yards and two scores out of tight end Vernon Davis, who moved around the formation and actually spent some time as a wide receiver, as was rumored coming out of camp.
His first touchdown came basically out of the slot receiver's spot, as he ran a simple corner/flat route combination with a wide receiver for a touchdown. Watch Sam Shields, the cornerback, get stuck between a rock and a hard place on that play. He has to challenge the wideout running the flat route toward the sticks to prevent the sure first down, but by not getting a deep enough drop, he opens up a throwing lane for Kaepernick, who can just loft the pass up to an open Davis for an easy score.
It's not surprising Kaepernick had that big of a game, since he's an impeccably accurate passer who can take advantage of any team that's overcommitting on the run, which I suspect the Packers were doing. What is more surprising is how little read-option we saw from the 49ers, who only really ran the package that stomped Green Bay last January for a handful of plays Sunday. Then again, is it really that shocking that the 49ers would be one step ahead of the Packers? Remember: Last year, the 49ers stopped running the read-option for the final two games of the regular season before re-unveiling it against a hapless Packers squad in the divisional round shellacking. Green Bay promptly sent its coaches to Texas A&M to study the read-option this offseason, at which point the 49ers stopped running it against them. They're the Roddy Piper of this matchup: Just when you think you have the answers, Jim Harbaugh changes the questions. So don't be surprised if the 49ers reintroduce a heavy dose of the read-option as warranted in the coming weeks.