As the Seahawks learned for three quarters in the NFC Championship Game last January, a great game plan might not be enough to contain the 49ers' athletic quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick ran for 130 yards and threw for 153 more, guiding San Francisco to a 7-point lead in the third quarter in the league's most hostile environment before things fell apart in the fourth.
But it was that game-breaking ability Kaepernick exhibited against Seattle's top-ranked defense in the first 45 minutes that played a part in a coaches poll conducted by Andy Benoit of TheMMQB.com.
From Benoit's piece:
"At last year’s combine, just a few weeks after the Super Bowl, I asked a dozen NFL coaches, Conceptually, who would you rather game-plan for and face: Manning or Kaepernick? A solid majority said they’d prefer to face Manning.
Beniot's thesis: Kaepernick's unpredictability is much more difficult to prepare for than Peyton Manning's passing attack because his elite athleticism could potentially trump any game plan he might face. Beniot makes sure to point out that the coaches surveyed believe Manning is the better quarterback, without question.
To be sure, the 49ers have won games in a variety of different ways with Kaepernick at the helm. Just ask the Packers, who allowed a record 181 yards rushing to Kaepernick in the divisional round of the playoffs 2012. And in the next game Green Bay played, the 2013 season opener, Kaepernick threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns after the Packers spent the entire offseason figuring out ways to stop San Francisco's read-option attack.
And in the playoffs last season, Kaepernick won in Green Bay with both his arm and his legs, throwing a 28-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown Pass to Vernon Davis. In the game's final drive, Kaepernick converted a key 11-yard scramble on third-and-8 setting up the game-winning field goal as time expired.
As Benoit points out, the poll was conducted at the scouting combine in Indianapolis, Indiana, just weeks after Manning was stifled by the Seahawks in the Super Bowl and Kaepernick nearly won the NFC title game against the same team.
The two square off for the first time in the regular season Sunday in Denver, with Manning three touchdown passes away from breaking Brett Favre's career mark of 508 for the all-time lead.
E-mail Niners Digest: NinersDigest@gmail.com
Follow Editor-in-Chief Chris Biderman on Twitter.