San Francisco 49ers

October 10, 2013

Leading Off: What will be identity of 49ers' offense

The 49ers' offense has been an odd thing to watch this season.

49ers with Matt Barrows

The premier blog for news and insights on the San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers' offense has been an odd thing to watch this season.

Some thought Colin Kaepernick would be rewriting the book on playing quarterback in this modern era. Instead, he has been what many others anticipated: a talented work in progress. That he doesn't pass for 300 yards or break off 50-yard runs every game is as much about the team's offensive growing pains – establishing an identity – as it is a statement about Kaepernick.

Look how the season has progressed:

Green Bay shut down the 49ers' running game but let Kaepernick and wide receiver Anquan Boldin pile up passing yards and points to get the victory.

Seattle and Indianapolis beat the 49ers on the line of scrimmage, offered no openings in their secondary and chased Kaepernick all over the field. Loss, loss.

The 49ers' offensive line re-established itself against St. Louis and Houston, and running back Frank Gore looked like his old self. It gave Kaepernick a chance to let others carry the load and expectations – and the 49ers won both.

Are the 49ers destined for alternating run-heavy and pass-happy games, depending on the opponent? Or will they find that sweet spot where Kaepernick plays like the star he appears destined to be while Gore and his rushing cohorts get their numbers and control the clock during the second half of games?

Finally, will their surging defense continue to deny opponents and leave the 49ers' offense with little need for flamboyance?

What to watch

Baseball, Detroit at A's, 5:07 p.m., TBS: If you don't have tickets, what else are you going to do?

Today's poll

Which offensive style should the 49ers use?

Power running, led by Frank Gore

Passing, led by Colin Kaepernick

Vote above or leave your comments in the comments field; or go to

Wednesday's results

Which team has the best chance of going undefeated this season?

Broncos: 78%

Chiefs: 8%

Saints: 14%

Total votes: 165

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