When the 49ers pass
Colin Kaepernick’s unique combination of size, strength, athleticism, and improvisational skills make him a nightmare matchup. Defenders can prepare for Kaepernick by watching film, but it’s impossible to mimic him during practice because few people — if any — possess his skill set. Kaepernick (6 feet 4 inches, 230 pounds) can run like a track star and throw like a major leaguer.
The Pistol offense he ran in college included a lot of timing patterns, but he has slowly and surely adjusted to becoming more of a pocket passer, and his decision-making continues to improve. He can fit balls into very tight windows but has to become a better touch passer; not every throw has to be 98 miles per hour.
Receiver Michael Crabtree (6-1, 214) is among the league’s elite. He has excellent speed and hands, and after being knocked early on for his route-running abilities, he has become very good in that area. Crabtree has terrific body control and will adjust to poorly thrown tosses and make highlight-reel catches. He is very good after the catch.
Randy Moss (6-4, 210) can no longer rely on his blinding speed but still has the intelligence and concentration to make plays. Few can outjump him. Ted Ginn is rarely a factor on offense. Tight end Vernon Davis (6-3, 250) is a monster. He gets off the line and into his routes quickly, snatches everything in sight, and has the power and acceleration to wreak havoc after the catch.
For Baltimore, safeties Ed Reed (he’s extremely instinctual and athletic) and Bernard Pollard (he’s reckless and relentless) lead the secondary. Cornerbacks Cary Williams and Corey Graham have developed into reliable players.
Passing yards per game (postseason)
San Francisco offense: 240. 0
Baltimore defense: 286.7