In fairness, the Packers’ defensive problems in their last meeting with the 49ers weren’t solely with the read-option. You don’t get up 579 total yards – fourth most in a playoff game in NFL history – without making other mistakes, too. Of Kaepernick’s 181 rushing yards, his seven read-option runs went for 99 yards, including a back-breaking 56-yard touchdown, but he also scrambled five times for 75 yards (including a 20-yard first-quarter touchdown) and a quarterback draw that gained 9 yards. (His other three attempts were a fumbled snap and two kneel-downs.) Halfback Frank Gore also rushed 23 times for 119 yards and a touchdown, some of it coming on zone-read plays.
As a result, it’s hard to predict just how many read-option plays the Packers will see Sunday. Perhaps it’ll only be a handful of snaps. But however often Harbaugh dials up such plays, the Packers will at least have a clue what to do.
“We’ve definitely talked about it. Coaches addressed the elephant in the room from Day 1,” defensive tackle B.J. Raji said. “We know what we’re capable of. That’s the biggest thing. Obviously, those guys made plays, but we definitely do our job, particularly on defense. That's a big emphasis going into this game."
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