The San Francisco 49ers won their fourth consecutive win by more than double digits, completely dominating the Tennessee Titans, 34-17. The biggest reason why they had complete control of the game was Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick ran more than he did all season, alluding pressure and employing the read option.
Kaepernick rushed eleven times for 68 yards and his first touchdown of the season on the ground. Kaepernick transforms this team when he runs the ball and makes them elite. It opens up the passing game when the defense has the key in on Kaepernick, which allows the whole offense to be more potent, especially Frank Gore. Gore rushed for two touchdowns for the first time since 2010.
Kaepernick put the game out of reach in the first half with three crucial runs. Kaepernick set up the 49ers first score when he converted a third down and six, which led to a Phil Dawson field goal. After the field goal, he led the 49ers into the red zone and converted another crucial third down but this time with a touchdown. He faked the handoff to Gore and ran to the left, untouched for his first touchdown of the season, putting the 49ers up 10-0.
Later in the second quarter after taking a sack, the 49ers, once again, had another third and long and Kaepernick responded with a great play. On Tennessee’s 46 yard line, Kaepernick alluded pressure and ran for 20 yards, which set the first of two touchdowns for Frank Gore, increasing their lead to 17-0 at the half.
For most of the season, the 49ers have not been employing the read option and been running power with Frank Gore. This has worked out well for the 49ers but the thought of the read option means the defensive line has to worry about Gore and Kaepernick. The read option opens up Kaepernick’s receivers because the defensive backs will be looking into the backfield expecting the run. When the defense does this, Kaepernick will just run play action and find his receivers.
If Kaepernick continues to employ the read option, the 49ers will get much better. It gives the 49ers two threats in the run game and when Manningham and Crabtree come back in the fold, the 49ers receiving corps will one of the best in the league. I look for the 49ers to employ the read option even more when Manningham and Crabtree come back because it will be that more effective. The read option will make it very difficult for defenses to guard the 49ers potent attack and will put the 49ers back where they belong, at an elite level.
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