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NFL Atlanta FalconsSan Francisco 49ers

2013 NFL Playoffs: San Francisco 49ers Running Game Key To Beating Atlanta Falcons

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

There are two sides to every story and while the other day I mentioned how the San Francisco 49ers needed to pressure Matt Ryan to win the NFC Championship game, today I look at the offensive side of the ball. If the 49ers want to head down to New Orleans for the Super Bowl, the key on offense is their rushing attack.

We all know how good Frank Gore has been for the 49ers in the past seven years but it isn’t just Gore who gets their running game going, there are others who help out. Of course, quarterback Colin Kaepernick is one them, but so is rookie LaMichael James. James has been coming on ever since Kendall Hunter went down for the year and he’s given the team a spark. San Francisco has also used Anthony Dixon with success on short yardage and goal line sitautions; so the Niners are utilizing every weapon in their backfield and the results have all been good.

It all starts with the 49ers offensive linemen, two of whom were named to the NFL’s All-Pro teams, that helped the Niners to rank fourth in the NFL in rushing this season. They make it possible for thr 49ers to pound the ball on the ground and led the team to four rushing touchdowns in their playoff match-up with the Green Bay Packers last week.

It also helps that the 49ers have a quarterback who can run it as well as any quarterback in the NFL and it will be a huge advantage against the Falcons this weekend. Kaepernick rushed for an NFL record 181 yards and two touchdowns by a quarterback last week and the Falcons have not handled running quarterbacks well this season. Cam Newton totaled 202 yards and two touchdowns in their two meetings this season and Russell Wilson ran for 60 yards and a touchdown last week, on only seven carries. The only running quarterback the Falcons slowed this year was Robert Griffin III and that was way back in October and in that game Alfred Morris ran wild.

Offensively the key for the 49ers is simple, run the ball well enough to open up the passing game for Kaepernick. It’s been that way ever since Kaepernick has taken over at quarterback and the 49ers have been successful with that formula.

The Falcons will have their hands full in stopping Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers running game. If they can’t slow it down, the 49ers will be heading to the Super Bowl; book your trip Niners fans.

you can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi