San Francisco 49ers

Leading Off: 49ers play the game the right way

With so many cartoon-like offensive performances dominating the NFL, the 49ers’ offense looks antiquated.

Run between the tackles? Sweeps right and left? Controlled passing game in which 200 yards in a game is considered not only adequate but even bountiful?

That seems to be the nature of things for coach Jim Harbaugh’s crew. What masqueraded as inept or unfocused or even poorly conceived has emerged as solid and dependable, the right complement for a defense most observers consider the gold standard.

Blame the Green Bay Packers for earlier misconceptions about the 49ers. Their stumbling defense in the season opener allowed quarterback Colin Kaepernick to pass for more than 400 yards – and expectations of weekly Manning-like aerial shows soared. That anomaly no more established the 49ers’ offensive character than Kaepernick’s 127 passing yards the following week against Seattle.

Kaepernick, certainly still learning, is being asked to run a balanced show, one made possible by the steady 1,000-yard greatness of running back Frank Gore and friends.

In all phases of the game, the 49ers seem locked in, doing deeds on special teams that augment their dominant defense and allow the offense to be balanced, producing stats more at home in the 1970s than the bombs-away style so prevalent today.

It might not be enough to win or even get to the Super Bowl. But it’s football played right.

What to watch I

NBA, Kings at Atlanta, 4:30 p.m., CSNCA: The Kings will attempt to do something no other team has done in 94 consecutive games against the Hawks: stop sharp-shooting Kyle Korver from making a 3-point field goal.

What to watch II

NBA, Indiana at Miami,

4 p.m., ESPN : Before the Kings’ game, check out the start of this showdown of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.

Today’s poll

What do you think of the 49ers’ offense ?

• It’s the perfect balance of passing and running

• There’s not enough passing

• There’s not enough running

• They need to adjust based on the opponent

Vote above, or go to

Tuesday’s poll results

Who deserves the NFL’s MVP award this season?

• Peyton Manning, Broncos: 59%

• Russell Wilson, Seahawks: 24%

• Tom Brady, Patriots: 4%

• Jamaal Charles, Chiefs: 8%

• Drew Brees, Saints: 2%

• Other: 3%

Total votes: 279