The 49ers advanced to their sixth Super Bowl in franchise history on Sunday with a 28-24 win over the Falcons. Here are the grades for the offense:
Kaepernick was efficient and smart for the entire game on choosing whether to run the ball or throw it. He didn't do as much with his legs, but his decision making is what put the 49ers offense over the top. There were several times the 49ers called a read-option, but he ended up finding the hole in the defense to give the ball for Frank Gore or LaMichael James rather than keep the ball himself. Kaepernick showed he wasn't intimidated by the crowd and wasn't forced to waste timeouts as much as previous games either.
Running Backs: A
Frank Gore was unstoppable when he got into the red zone. He didn't get 100 yards, but was still effective on the ground when the 49ers gave the ball to him. LaMichael James was also useful when taking the ball off the read-option and scored his first touchdown in the NFL and averaged almost seven yards per carry. Anthony Dixon redeemed himself from last year when he converted a third down on his only carry for four yards.
Wide Receivers: B
Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss were mostly held in check. Crabtree was limited to only six receptions for 57 yards while Moss had three catches for 46 yards, including one for 23. The only other receiver to be targeted was Chad Hall and he dropped his only opportunity. A.J. Jenkins was on the field, but still wasn't targeted and Greg Roman chose to use Hall instead of him in certain situations. Both Moss and Crabtree ended up being good distractions for others to get open. The only negative was a fumble by Crabtree at the one-yard line.
Tight Ends: A
Vernon Davis made the most of his opportunity against the Falcons. He had 106 receiving yards to go with a touchdown and ended up being the go-to guy for Kaepernick. Davis was a deep threat when Crabtree and Moss were covered. When the Falcons overlooked the tight end position, Davis was able to take off on the 49ers' third touchdown possession. Delanie Walker had one catch for 20 yards and the best news is he had no drop for the first time in four games.
Offensive Line: A
The offensive line had a great game in giving Colin Kaepernick pass protection. Mike Iupati made the only mistakes when he gave up one sack in the first half and was called for a holding penalty. Iupati, Anthony Davis, Jonathan Goodwin, Joe Staley and Alex Boone all performed well in giving holes for the running backs. As a team, the 49ers were averaging 5.1 yards per carry on the ground.
Greg Roman's initial first quarter plan was flat with several three-and-outs. The adjustments came in the second quarter and then it took off from there. The first quarter prevents this grade from being an "A", but everything was clicking after that. We saw the passing game look efficient when the 49ers went back to throwing to Vernon Davis. Despite going to the college style of offense, the read-option was effective and the offensive line has blocked well all-year for it.