By Matthew Asher
After San Francisco’s 23-10 defeat of the Carolina Panthers, the question on Seattle's mid is, “Who’s ready for Round 3?” Both San Francisco and Seattle have split the season series with the home team winning each game, and the ruler of the NFC will be crowned after this rubber match plays out.
Note: All statistics written below are based on 2014 playoff performances only. Regular season stats are not referenced.
San Francisco on Offense
Colin Kaepernick has done a decent job through the first two playoffs games this season. While none of the statistics are award inducing, they’ve gotten the job done. Kaepernick has completed 53.4 percent of his throws for 423 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception for a quarterback rating of 81.3.
While averaging about 210 passing yards isn’t that impressive in the playoffs, Kaepernick has done a good job of running the ball as well. He led the 49ers against Green Bay with 98 rushing yards and against Carolina he added a rushing touchdown to the scoreboard. Taking both stats into consideration, Kaepernick averages 268 yards of offense each game.
In both playoff wins, Kaepernick has had a different receiver lead the game in receiving yards. Against Green Bay, Michael Crabtree picked up 125 yards through the air. Against Carolina, Anquan Boldin led the team with 136 receiving yards.
Through the two games in the postseason, Crabtree and Boldin are responsible for 22 of Kaepernick’s 31 completions and 325 of the 423 passing yards. However, it is tight end Vernon Davis, who despite having just three catches in the postseason has caught both touchdown passes.
The final piece of the San Francisco offensive puzzle is running back Frank Gore. He has 37 rushes going for 150 yards and one touchdown and in his most recent game against Carolina, Gore left the field with 84 rushing yards.
San Francisco on Defense
The 49ers defense is a little perplexing because other than sacks, there isn’t one single player on the team who outshines the rest statistically, meaning the team has a lot of depth. NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis lead the team with 21 and 19 tackles, respectively. Ahmad Brooks leads the team with 4.5 of the team’s nine sacks while Aldon Smith is second on the team with just 1.5 through two games in the post season.
Regarding the secondary, two different 49ers have recorded interceptions, both against Carolina last week. Donte Whitner’s interception was returned for 18 yards and Patrick Willis’ lone pick was not returned for any yardage.
Kickoff is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 19 at 3:30 p.m. PDT.
For more news and updates about the NFL Playoffs, visit NFL Playoffs Central.
Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist. From an early age, sports have played a major role in his life. He graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Journalism. After college he spent 2 years working with CNN Sports and still occasionally writes sports articles for several publications both in the United States and Canada. His work can be found on Examiner.com.
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