49ers vs. Packers, NFL playoffs 2014: What will be this year's read option?

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sport

The 49ers face off against the Packers in a rematch of a game in which San Francisco caught Green Bay off-guard in the 2013 NFL playoffs. New to Niners Nation? Sign up here and join the discussion!

SB Nation 2014 NFL Playoff Coverage

A year ago, the San Francisco 49ers hosted the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round. After a few weeks of some scuffling, the 49ers unleashed a rushing attack on the Packers that left them thoroughly baffled. Colin Kaepernick set an NFL record for QB rushing yards as he had his way with Green Bay. We saw some basic scrambling, we saw some read option.

The 49ers used the read option during the regular season, but over the final few weeks of the season, they rarely used it. After the win over the Packers, Roman mentioned holding a little something back to catch the Packers off-guard:

"If you've noticed, we're definitely the kind of people to hold our ace card, our best card, slip it under our leg and wait for the right time to pull it out."

When the 49ers have shown some offensive inconsistencies this season, people have wondered if the team was holding something back. Part of the early problems were due to Michael Crabtree's absence, but even later in the season, there were some questions about the 49ers play-calling. Given what we saw last season against the Packers, it is not surprising people would wonder about plays held back.

Now, the 49ers get ready for their return engagement with the Packers. Matt Maiocco thinks we could see more WR screens and some additional wrinkles, but otherwise, he does not expect a lot of big changes.

Do you expect anything to show up on offense that will catch us off-guard? Or is the return of Michael Crabtree more than enough for the game-planning? I could see some more rushes at the edge of the Packers defense, particularly the left side with Clay Matthews out of the game. The 49ers have spent a lot of time going up the gut, so maybe they are setting up the Packers to hit them on the edges with more frequency.

The other thought I had was on the other side of the ball. Here's an interesting stat:

Is it possible Vic Fangio unleashes some extra pass rushers against the Packers offensive line? Over the last few weeks, it has felt at times like the 49ers pass rush has been holding back. I didn't have time to check back closer, but it has seemed like we are not seeing much in the way of extra blitzers.

Fangio has not been one to send extensive blitzing at the defense, but I just have a hunch about this. My hunch to pick the Colts to come out of the AFC almost blew up yesterday, so take my hunches with a grain of salt. But given Rodgers numbers when pressured, why not bring the heat?

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