Prior to the NFC Championship Game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons, I mentioned that 49ers tight end Vernon Davis would be the X-factor for San Francisco’s offense. It appears that I was right with my assumption.
Davis had his best game of the entire season with five receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown. Davis, one of the best players at his position, had a subpar season statistically, ending the regular season with just 548 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
The decline in the production of the seven-year veteran was mainly due to the change at quarterback. Once Colin Kaepernick took over, Davis’ contribution to San Francisco’s offense was replaced by Kaepernick’s running and passing ability. However, the conference championship was a different story.
When the 49ers needed a big play, Kaepernick looked to Davis as his security blanket. Davis’ touchdown brought the Niners within three points in the second quarter, and his play later opened up the ground attack for 49ers running back Frank Gore.
The low numbers that Davis put up in the second half of the season can be looked at as a blessing in disguise. Since Kaepernick’s been under center, teams have concentrated solely on San Francisco’s quarterback, leaving no film of Davis flourishing in the Kaepernick-led offense.
This is the reason why the Falcons had trouble containing Davis, and this was also the reason why I chose Davis to be the X-factor in this conference championship game.
Looking ahead at Super Bowl XLVII, Davis could also be a major key factor. Either the Baltimore Ravens could choose to focus in on Davis and let Kaepernick run wild, or they could try to contain Kaepernick and let Davis do to them what he did to the Falcons.
Either way, it seems that Davis will be the X-factor once again in the biggest game of the year.
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