This was a game the 49ers had to prove to critics they were for real. They did just that with 45 points on offense and 323 rushing yards.
"We had a great game plan and executed well," said Jonathan Goodwin. "They had a lot coming at them. It was a great game plan by Greg Roman."
The 49ers for this game played to their strength in pounding the ball on the ground. They ran the ball 43 times and threw it only 31 times through the air. While the 49ers have been running the pistol quite a bit, it worked to perfection. After the Packers tied the game, Colin Kaepernick kept the ball on a zone-read option and was gone 56 yards down the field for a touchdown. Roman has infamously called plays from the pistol formation as "mixers" and had several of them up his sleeve.
"[Kaepernick's] run didn't surprise us at all," said Roman. "It was a good play. Those plays require a lot of different things, not just one guy so great job by everybody on that play.”
A zone-read option requires the quarterback to have good vision of how the defense sees things. He must choose whether to give the ball to the running back or keep the ball and run in the opposite direction. A bigger key to this is the blocking from everyone else. The offensive line gives the defensive end a choice to either commit to the running back or pass rush the quarterback. The blocking for Kaepernick was excellent when he kept the ball and he had a wide open path for a touchdown.
Why did Roman call more running plays from the pistol formation? The Packers had a lack of experience defending it. Before the postseason, the Packers' defense faced only two read-option plays. Their inexperienced showed when the field was opened up for either Kaepernick or Frank Gore to run.
While Kaepernick will get most of the attention for his record-setting 181 rushing yards, Frank Gore also was a key factor in this game. Gore ended up with 119 rushing yards and averaged 5.2 yards per carry. Roman went back to the basics of running the football and playing to the strengths of the 49ers offensively. With all this production, everyone will forget the opening pick-six Kaepernick threw to start the game.
The offensive line played perfectly in creating holes and giving Kaepernick space to make plays. Like the Divisional playoff game against the Saints last year, Roman called the right plays at the right times and several receivers were involved as well. Michael Crabtree continued to work well with Kaepernick with 119 yards and two touchdowns for the game.
Roman's time in San Francisco will most likely come to an end as he is hearing offers for a potential head coaching job in the future. If this is his last season as the 49ers' offensive coordinator, he's making the most of it by going all-in with his play calling. With the 49ers preparing for next week's opponent in the NFC Championship game, the best could still be yet to come.