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John Parolin, Statistics Analyst, ESPN Stats and Analysis is part of a team that recorded every single play in the NFL 2012 regular season and playoffs. For this year's Super Bowl, the easy finding was that major mid-season changes, offensive coordinator for the Ravens and quarterback for the 49ers, led both teams through the playoffs. The Ravens rush/pass ratio turned from 40 percent to 49 percent after the change, while the 49ers new quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, experienced great success with the zone-read option where he determined the play based on the actions of an unblocked linebacker.
ESPN found that the one team, Atlanta Falcons, had overplayed Kapernick's running ability in the zone-read option, and held him to just 21-yards rushing — and almost led them to an upset of the 49ers. The Ravens successful defense of the zone-read option, in the first half anyway, was one of the keys to their victory.