Matt & Mindi: Thorough domination by the 49ers
SAN FRANCISCO -- The 49ers' offense made good use of the bye week to get healthy.
There weren't any significant bumps and bruises that needed to heal. Instead, the 49ers needed to get their run game right.
So 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman and his staff set out to make some alterations to their plan of attack. And the results Saturday night in the 49ers' 45-31 victory over the Green Bay Packers were stupendous.
[INSTANT REPLAY: 49ers 45, Packers 31]
The 49ers picked the NFC divisional-round game at Candlestick Park to unleash the running of quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
"If you've noticed, we're definitely the kind of people to hold our ace card, our best card, slip it under our leg and wait for the right time to pull it out," Roman said. "Green Bay is a great team. We have a ton of respect for them."
Kaepernick ran for more yards than any quarterback in any NFL game when he tore through the Packers for 181 yards and two touchdowns on 16 attempts. Those figures include two kneeldowns for minus-2 yards as the 49ers ran out the clock.
[RATTO: Kaepernick runs wild with limelight]
The 49ers used two practices after earning a bye week with the No. 2 seed in the NFC to install some new wrinkles to the run game.
"It was quite a bit, quite a few new concepts we were able to work on last week," Roman said. "In lieu of some things that happened at the end of the season, we felt like we had to move forward and change some things. The bye week was huge for us."
Running back Frank Gore added 119 yards and a touchdown on 23 rushing attempts. And Kaepernick added 263 yards and two touchdowns through the air.
"It was a run-and-pass game plan," Roman said. "It was pretty balanced. We were able to hit some big plays. The guys were dialed in. The bye week really helped us."
The most noticeable adjustment was the installation of more zone-read option plays from the pistol formation, in which Kaepernick can keep the ball himself or hand off to a back.
Kaepernick kept the ball after faking a handoff to running back LaMichael James and dashed 56 yards for a touchdown to give the 49ers a 31-24 lead in the third quarter. The 49ers would never relinquish the lead.
"Every play is different," Roman said. "He's got to evaluate things as the play goes. He's got some history with that. it's not like he's learning how to ride a bike for the first time.
"Those plays require a lot of different things, not just one guy."
It was a total team effort for the 49ers, as the offensive line dominated, and Michael Crabtree caught nine passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns.
And Roman was one of the stars, too.
Roman was already considered a leading candidate for the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Diego Chargers head-coaching job after two of his former John Carroll University teammates were hired as NFL general manager positions. David Caldwell, Roman's college roommate, took over as Jaguars GM, while Tom Telesco was hired by the Chargers.
After the performance of Roman's offense on a national stage, Roman might have vaulted to the top of the wish list.