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Super Bowl 2013, 49ers vs. Ravens: San Francisco's Offensive 'Cheat Sheet'

With the 2013 Super Bowl less than a week away, the two SB Nation bloggers for the Ravens and Niners decided to "share" their secrets about the three phases of the game on our teams.


Here's the breakdown by Niners Nation blogger, David Fucillo take on the San Francisco 49ers offense, position-by-position, listing starters, reserves and commenting on the pros and cons of each position:

More: Ravens defensive MVP

Starter: Colin Kaepernick (7)
Reserves: Alex Smith (11), Scott Tolzien (3)

When the 49ers 2012 season is re-told, it will start and end at the quarterback position. There have been plenty of big stories for the 49ers, but none match the drama of the QB position. Alex Smith entered the season as the start, coming off his best year in leading the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game. He was off to a career year when he suffered a concussion against the St. Louis Rams. The 49ers turned to second year QB Colin Kaepernick, and the rest is history.

Kaepernick had his national break out game against the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round, and followed that up with a solid performance against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game. He used his legs against the Packers, but settled into a slightly more traditional QB role against the Falcons, who sold out against the QB keeper from the read option.

Running Back
Starter: Frank Gore (21)
Reserves: LaMichael James (23), Anthony Dixon (24), Jewel Hampton (33) Bruce Miller - FB (49)

Frank Gore is having a throw-back season thanks in part to having great blocking from his offensive line, and having a steady change of pace backup. Kendall Hunter was the primary backup before tearing his Achilles. Rookie LaMichael James has been a revelation in only a few short weeks, providing great moves when he can get out in space. Gore will get the bulk of the work as a between the tackles guy, but James is a guy to watch from the pistol. Fullback Bruce Miller is a very solid blocker, and will likely make several appearances on Sunday.

Wide Receiver
Starters: Michael Crabtree (15), Randy Moss (84)
Reserves: A.J. Jenkins (17), Ted Ginn Jr. (19), Chad Hall (14)

The big story is the breakout of Michael Crabtree, who is having a career year. He was having a very solid season with Alex Smith, but it has taken a big turn with Colin Kaepernick at QB. Crabtree is the guy Kap looks to on third down in particular. Randy Moss is not putting up big numbers, but teams still pay him plenty of respect, which often opens things underneath. He still has solid speed deep, so if a DB gets him in single coverage, the 49ers are willing to go up top with him. The 49ers lost Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams to season-ending injuries, and A.J. Jenkins and Ted Ginn have been relative non-factors this year. Chad Hall was added off the practice squad a couple days before the NFC title game.

Tight End
Starter: Vernon Davis (85)
Reserves: Delanie Walker (46), Garrett Celek (81)

The 49ers use a lot of two tight end sets, so really, Walker is a co-starter of sorts alongside Davis. Colin Kaepernick has not looked to Davis nearly as much as Alex Smith did, but that changed in the NFC title game where he caught five passes for 106 yards and a touchdown.

Prior to that, Walker had often been a bigger target for Kap, although he struggles with drops. Walker is a sort of do-it all guy who will get his looks, particularly if the Ravens double up on Davis.

49ers offensive line
Starters: LT Joe Staley (74), LG Mike Iupati (77), C Jonathan Goodwin (59), RG Alex Boone (75), RT Anthony Davis (76)
Reservers: OG/C Daniel Kilgore (67), OG/OT Leonard Davis (68), OG Joe Looney (66)

The 49ers offensive line has been pivotal to their offensive success in 2012, with Staley and Iupati selected to start in the Pro Bowl, and the other three selected as alternates. The line is solid in pass protection, but downright dominant in run blocking. The 49ers averaged 5.1 yards per carry, thanks in large part to an offensive line that created space for the running backs. The line is healthy and playing well heading into the Super Bowl.

Check out my review of the Baltimore Ravens Offensive 'Cheat Sheet' over at Niners Nation right now!