Posted: 6:15 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, 2013
By James Brady
The San Francisco 49ers need to go out and get a win after getting embarrassed by the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2. They've a tough task ahead, however, as they're hosting Jim Harbaugh protege Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.
While the 49ers are favored, the Colts could make it tough. They have an underrated defense and an offense with a lot of potential power behind it, especially with the introduction of running back Trent Richardson. I don't think Richardson's style of running is particularly effective against the 49ers these days.
Anyway, we've obviously been looking at the matchup this week, and I thought I'd focus on one matchup in particular. No, it's not going to be Anquan Boldin versus the Colts' secondary, or Justin Smith against their rookie left guard. It's going be quarterback Colin Kaepernick versus Indianapolis outside linebacker Erik Walden.
If you don't recognize Walden, here's a few things you need to know: he's one of Indianapolis' starting outside linebackers, he's getting paid about $4 million to do it, and the 49ers made him look absolutely silly last season.
You might remember the game ... it was against the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs. Walden was the player who was to set the edge, and for the majority of the game, he was the "read" man. In many ways, he was similar to what's known as a "spy." But he wasn't looking for the possibility that Kaepernick could run, he was looking for the inevitable time that Kaepernick WOULD run.
Most notably, Walden was the player tasked with setting the edge on the play in which Kaepernick scampered up the right side ... for a 56-yard touchdown.
Walden wasn't very good against the Oakland Raiders in Week 1, as he managed to rush for 112 yards. Of course, he did run a lot to the left, and it wasn't all on Walden, but it is another stat to add to the pile. He'll need to have a great game if the Colts are to be successful, because Kaepernick will certainly be looking to run.
It's a little too easy to just say that Kaepernick "will run and the 49ers will win." He wants to throw the ball and he wants to be successful throwing the ball. Running is not going to be his No. 1 option, but the 49ers would be insane to not attempt to exploit this matchup. Then again, the gameplan has sucked both games this season (or rather, the playcalling has been so-so), which means anything can happen.