The San Francisco 49ers' Pistol offense finally ran out of bullets.
After overcoming a 17-point first-half deficit against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game, the 49ers were unable to rally from a 22-point hole in Super Bowl XLVII, eventually falling to the Baltimore Ravens by a 34-31 score.
Following a 34-minute third-quarter power outage, Colin Kaepernick was lights out as the valiant 49ers cut a 28-6 deficit down to two after his 15-yard touchdown run with just under 10 minutes left to play pulled his team within 31-29.
The ensuing two-point conversion was unsuccessful, but Kaepernick got the ball back after the Ravens kicked a field goal and drove all the way to the 5-yard line before being stopped on 4th-and-goal.
Nonetheless, it was a phenomenal 11-game run for the young quarterback, who took over for the injured Alex Smith in Week 10 and never gave back the job.
Prior to joining the college ranks, Kaepernick was recruited more for his 92 mile-per-hour fastball as a pitcher than a quarterback.
But Kaepernick wanted to play football and took his chances.
And boy, did his decision pay off.
The 25-year-old was virtually unrecruited out of high school, with Nevada the only school that offered him an FBS scholarship.
And all Kaepernick did was become the only quarterback in FBS history to pass for over 10,000 yards and run for more than 4,000 in a collegiate career.
Then-Nevada head coach Chris Ault created the Pistol offense, a variation of a traditional shotgun in which the running backs line up behind the quarterback instead of alongside, and the read-options that branch off of it strictly for Kaepernick. Now, the 2011 second-round draft choice has used it to his advantage in the pro ranks.
The goal of the Pistol is to get running plays going quicker than a traditional running set. It also allows the quarterback to get a better vantage point to read his coverages.
With the Wolf Pack, Kaepernick strictly ran out of the Pistol out of a one- back set. But in San Francisco, offensive coordinator Greg Roman has added a few wrinkles. The 49ers have deployed an offset-I formation to give Frank Gore a lead blocker and have even had as many as three backs line up in the backfield.
And San Francisco isn't the only place where the Pistol has garnered success.
2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins ran the Pistol and read option as well as anybody, leading the NFL in rushing en route to a surprise NFC East title. In Seattle, Russell Wilson emerged as a rookie of the year candidate after using both his arm and legs out of the formation.
Both the Seahawks and Redskins made the postseason.
In 2008, the Wildcat was the innovative game-changing trend of the league, but that quickly dissipated as the defenses began to figure it out.
But what about the Pistol? Is it here to stay, or will it be like the Wildcat and just fade away?
Only time will tell, But judging by the success of the 49ers, Redskins and Seahawks behind their dual-threat quarterbacks, the NFL's newest trend doesn't appear as if it will die out anytime soon.