Last week against the Packers, Kaepernick was under pressure only once in the entire game when Joe Staley gave up a blindside sack to Clay Matthews. When the quarterback was well-protected, offensive plays would be explosive throughout the night. Kaepernick was able to scramble for positive yardage if there was good coverage and throw the ball deep to receivers if necessary.
Staley felt confident in how this week of preparation was for the NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons. It will all come down to executing the correct assignments.
"It was a great practice this week. We were very focused," said Staley. "We hope to do what we could from practice. We want to work on a quick tempo offense and start fast as well as get in a rhythm immediately."
The 49ers offensively converted five out of six red zone trips into touchdowns against the Packers. David Akers kicked the only field goal for the 49ers right before halftime when the team performed a solid two-minute drill. Much of the scoring was due to Kaepernick getting good protection from the offensive line. The interior of Jonathan Goodwin, Alex Boone and Mike Iupati also left room up the middle for Frank Gore to roam.
Falcons DE John Abraham will be limited for the game with an ankle injury while DT Jonathan Babineaux is limited with a shoulder injury. With the defensive line of the Falcons banged up, the opportunity for the 49ers is there to win the battle in the trenches and give Kaepernick the time to make plays.
Kaepernick will be able to keep plays alive if given good pass protection. The Falcons are 28th in the league with 29 team sacks. As long as the offensive line protects the quarterback, the offense will have another great performance.
"We need to work on our execution" Staley said on Friday. "We're ready to play [the Falcons]. It's a huge game."
The only way to pass this test is to see the amount of pressure the Falcons generate on Kaepernick. If there are less than four times Kaepernick is under pressure, the 49ers will repeat their performance from the Divisional Round game against the Packers.