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Lowell Cohn: While Clay Matthews talks his talk, 49ers just win

  • Linebacker Patrick Willis enters Candlestick for the season opener. The San Francisco 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers, 34-28, in the season opener at Candlestick Park on Sunday, September 8, 2013,
    (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

SAN FRANCISCO -- There was a dominant theme leading up to the 49ers' 34-28 win over the Green Bay Packers in San Francisco's first game of the season. So, pay attention.

The week prior, everyone talked about the read-option play quarterback Colin Kaepernick runs like an artist. Fans talked about it. Little children talked about it. Grandmothers talked about it.

The read option — something only aficionados knew about a few years ago — became common parlance around here, the very ground of being. People in supermarkets were handing off wheat bread near the deli aisle to demonstrate the read-option.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers

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And then the game started and the craziest two things happened. After all that noise on TV and in Green Bay and in bars, the Niners barely used the read-option. And one of the Packers' defenders, Clay Matthews by name, went absolutely bat guano over the read-option in its absence. It's always sad to see a grown man lose his mind. More on Matthews anon.

Why is it important that the 49ers did not use the read-option?

Because they could beat the Packers without it. Because they could — and did — beat the Packers playing straight-up football, playing the regular variety we've known about forever. You know — throw the ball, run the ball. Play defense when appropriate.

That's how good the 49ers are. They can beat you with trickery and they can beat you without trickery. Mostly, they just beat you.

If you want to know the truth, Kaepernick led the Niners to a win without the read option and without much of a running game, either. He led the Niners to a win by being himself.

What is himself?

Himself is an incredibly efficient passer with the quarterback's demeanor — which means nothing scares him, no how, no way.


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