San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh went from potential idiot to genius in a matter of a few hours after his hand-picked quarterback shredded the NFL record books in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Second-year guy Colin Kaepernick who resembles a human-like gazelle on the football field ran for a NFL-playoff record 183 rushing yards on 16 carries against the Green Bay Packers. As a whole, the 49ers racked up an astounding 581 of offense in the 45-31 win.
For a team who dedicated the entire off-season to improving their defense, it has to be a tough loss for the Packers.
What It Means: Ted Thompson and the Packers’ front office will have to go back to the drawing boards in regards to the defense. Even though they spent all of the 2012 NFL Draft on improving the defense, an epidemic known as the read-option offense is taking over the NFL. Young signal-callers like Kaepernick, RG3 and Russell Wilson are showing that not only must defenses worry about running quarterbacks, but rather running quarterbacks who have above average accuracy and arm strength. Defenses will get faster and inevitably catch on, but they must be prepared to stop these quarterbacks when they become better in the pocket. All the blame can’t be on the defense as the offense only managed ten points in the second half of a game that was tied 24-24 early in the third quarter. Aaron Rodgers looked human with only 257 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Player of the Game: CB Sam Shields (4 tackles, 2 passes defended and interception for a touchdown)
What Kaepernick did was historic and truly special, but the Packers best player was Shields who had one of the few positive plays on the defensive side. During a shor span where Kaepernick was nervous, he threw an ill-advised pass that Shields took back to the house. With Tramon Williams having problems in the last few weeks, Shields has emerged as the Packers best pass defender.
Stat of the Game (183): Not only was the 183 yards a playoff-record, but also the most ever in any type of a game from the quarterback position. He’s no one trick-pony either as he also completed 17 of 31 passes for 263 yards and two of his four total touchdowns (five if you count the pick-six to Shields).
What’s Next: Green Bay will turn to the draft and free agency to find help for a thin offensive line and try to figure out how to repair the defense. Players like Jermichael Finley and Greg Jennings will be the biggest names in free agency and have most likely played their last games in Packers’ uniforms.
What did you think of the Packers performance against the 49ers? Let me know by commenting below.
Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice and pretend to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best. If social media is not your thing, shoot him an email at email@example.com.
Pictures obtained from Packers.com.