49ers giving other teams new things to think about
October 9, 2012
SANTA CLARA — Greg Roman is giving the rest of the NFL something extra to think about it when it's time to play the San Francisco 49ers.
Roman doesn't like to call them trick plays, but the offensive coordinator's creative play selection last week sparked the 49ers to their most productive performance of the season during a 34-0 rout of the New York Jets.
Mixing in a collection of well-timed reverses and option plays and unveiling backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a new weapon, Roman kept the New York defense off balance as San Francisco set season highs in several offensive categories.
It also served notice that more new wrinkles could be coming as the 49ers look to expand their offense.
“The more guys we can get involved, the better.”
— Greg Roman,
49ers offensive coordinator
That could include more new contributors such as running back Brandon Jacobs, who might play for the first time this season Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.
After missing San Francisco's first four games with a knee injury, Jacobs is practicing this week without limitations. He's set to make his 49ers debut against the Bills, adding another piece for Roman to work into the NFL's third-ranked rushing attack.
Roman did a pretty good job working in Kaepernick and getting others involved last week. Nine different San Francisco players had at least one carry as the 49ers gained a season-high 379 yards while rushing for 245 — their highest total in coach Jim Harbaugh's two seasons with the team.
"The more guys we can get involved, the better," Roman said Thursday. "We've had different things up every week and chose to use it last week. But I don't look at them as trick plays. They're football plays. The rules are the rules, and we're within the rules. I don't know that we have trick plays."
The 49ers used Kaepernick effectively during the handful of plays he was on the field in place of starting quarterback Alex Smith. Kaepernick had a 17-yard run and a 7-yard touchdown run out of the shotgun formation on his first two carries, then broke loose for a 30-yard gain on his third carry.
He also forced the Jets to use a timeout midway through the second quarter when Kaepernick came out of the huddle and lined up wide as a receiver.
That was one of several new looks by the 49ers, who also gained 28 yards on a reverse play to receiver Mario Manningham, nine yards on an option pitch to receiver Kyle Williams and seven yards on a fly sweep by receiver Ted Ginn Jr.
"You've got to keep the defense guessing these days," said Manningham, who joined the 49ers this year as a free agent. "It's good to have everybody get the ball. We're trying to just make stuff happen out there, just execute and get the right play-calling and do what we've got to do with it."
Manningham has gained 57 yards on two reverses this season after finishing with minus-10 yards on two reverses during his first four NFL seasons with the New York Giants.
The diverse approach against the Jets seemed to soften the New York defense and breathed some life into a San Francisco offense that had been limited to season-low totals of 280 yards and 13 points the week before during a loss at Minnesota.