The 49ers had been on a roll. After reeling off five straight wins and scoring over 30 points in each of those games, there were plenty of good feelings to go around in San Francisco. A dominating running game and opportunistic defense had been setting the tone for the 49ers' success and took the emphasis off of a passing game that often looked lost.

While at times efficient, the 49ers had struggled to make any big plays through the air to anyone not named Vernon Davis. In Week 10, after Davis was forced to leave the game with a concussion, the Niners needed someone to step up and make a play. It didn't happen and what was once a blemish on a well balanced team now looks like a giant scar on a squad that may not be as good as we thought because of it. The passing offense now looks like something out of a Mike Singletary/Jimmy Raye nightmare. So what are 49er fans talking about after Week 10? They want to know who's at fault!

Kaepernick's fault?

Trent Dilfer said on ESPN that once Colin Kaepernick's first read is taken away, he becomes a "remedial" quarterback. Without Vernon Davis in the lineup in Week 10, the Panthers were able to roll all of their coverages to Anquan Boldin and force Kaepernick to look in another direction. In many cases, Kaepernick was unable to do so.

Dilfer has a point. If you watch Kaepernick in the pocket, he often freezes for a split second when his first read is not there. While it's just for a moment, that split second in the NFL can be the difference between a completion and a sack. When he faces a team that is bringing pressure, Kaepernick seems to struggle to make the appropriate reads and, in some cases, may not be making the correct audibles.

His pocket presence is also lacking and, while there was pressure in Week 10, he took some sacks he did not need to and made some throws out of panic. Take the last two plays of the game for example. The 49ers got the ball back with a about a minute remaining and no timeouts. On first down, Kaepernick took a sack which, other than a turnover, was the last thing you could have happen in that situation. He should have just thrown the ball away. The sack resulted in the loss of precious seconds off the clock, which ultimately forced him into making another bad decision on second down. Instead of making an underneath throw to the sidelines and living to play at least one more down, Kaepernick forced a ball into coverage that was intercepted and ended the game.

For the season, Kaepernick has now failed to throw for at least 200 yards in seven of the 49ers nine games. Not surprisingly, San Francisco is last in league is yards passing (1565) and yards passing per game (173.8). Take away Kaepernick's 412 yards in Week 1, and he is only averaging 157.8 yards passing a game.

If you had to describe Kaepernick in one word, it would be that he looks "uncomfortable." There could be many reasons for that, but one of them has to fall on the back's of the coaching staff. Kaepernick almost looks like a quarterback who is trying to be something he isn't, running plays he's not entirely comfortable running. So, its possible the issue lies with the men drawing up the plays.

Greg Roman's fault?

After the 49ers fell to 1-2 earlier in the year, the team shifted offensive philosophies. They scrapped running primarily out of the shotgun and went back to the power running game that was the staple of the team in 2011 and 2012. It worked to perfection and helped get the team back on track. It was an adjustment, and good coaching staffs make them all the time. So why are the 49ers failing to make them in the passing game?

With a quarterback as athletic as Kaepernick is, it's puzzling that they are not calling more plays to take advantage of that athleticism. The 49ers' passing attack resembles that of a team that has a statue behind center instead of a physical dynamo. It often appears that Kaepernick is playing with shackles on and is either afraid to, or not allowed to, just let the play come to him. He is over thinking instead of just reacting.

Roman can help fix this by thinking outside of the box and using Kaepernick as an all around weapon instead of just a pocket passer. For example, read option packages are not the only way to get Kaepernick on the move. Roman could incorporate bootlegs and other plays that allow Kaepernick to role out and put added pressure of the defense. On third and short, instead of running up the gut with a running back, Roman can call more designed quarterback runs to pick up the short yardage. That doesn't mean Kaepernick has to run 15 times a game, it just means a few plays here and there will get the defense thinking about him taking off and could open up more passing lanes.

Certain play calls can also cause a player to lose confidence. If Roman calls a game in which he sets up Kaepernick to be a conservative game manager on a consistent basis, is it possible Kaepernick will start to believe that's what he is? On Sunday, the 49ers had a 2nd down and 24 from their own 18 yard line early in the second quarter. The situation was hardly ideal but not impossible to recover from. The sensible approach would be to set up a third and manageable and try to continue to move the ball. Instead, Roman called a run up the gut on 2nd down that netted one yard, and a screen pass on third down that gained five yards. The entire situation screamed "I don't have confidence in my quarterback and I'm conceding a punt...on 2ND DOWN!" You can't move the ball in any level of football if you don't try and calling those plays does not send a good message to your team.

Roman also has to option to use his other personal in creative ways to help Kaepernick. Take LaMichael James for example. He was finally active in Week 10 and it could have been the perfect time to incorporate a few screen/underneath passes to him into the play calls in an effort to keep the Panthers off balance. For whatever reason, Roman is using an overly cautious approach and the talents of a player like James are being wasted on a team that seems reluctant to use him properly or simply doesn't know how.

Supporting cast's fault?

The San Francisco offensive line is a big physical group that dominates in the running game. On the flip side, however, they have shown a tendency to get dominated themselves when pass protecting against a strong front seven. The Panthers, like the Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts before them, used a fierce pass rush to keep the 49ers' offense in check. San Francisco seemed to have no answers for the attack. The blame for that does fall on the line, but Kaepernick also has to make adjustments and do a better job of getting rid of the ball. It's that split second freeze in the pocket that was alluded to earlier that can make an offensive line look like they are doing a worse job than they actually are.

The other issues could be the receiving corps. The absence of Vernon Davis is obviously something this team cannot overcome as they are unable to score without him. They only put up seven points during Week 3 when Davis was out and could not score on another dirve after he left the game in Week 10.

While Mario Manningham was back in the lineup, it's unfair to ask him to come in and be an impact player right away after a significant injury and such a long layoff. Manningham did have three catches for 30 yards (which, as far as 49ers' number two receivers go in 2013, might be the equivalent of John Taylor's 286 yards performance in 1989) but also dropped a couple of passes.

The common perception for most of this season is that, minus Davis and Boldin, the receivers are not getting open and causing Kaepernick to hold onto the ball. While that's impossible to tell without looking at the game tapes, you have to start to wonder if plays are there to be made but Kaepernick is not giving his receivers a shot to make them. Sometimes you have to throw receivers open, which is something Kaepernick did not seem shy about in 2012. So far this season, if it's not wide open, he's not taking a chance.

Whats next?

The 49ers can beat a lot of teams by running the ball and playing strong defense, but can they win the Super Bowl? The answer to that lies in whether or not they can keep up with some of the more explosive offenses in the NFL. San Francisco will get a chance to see where they stand in Week 11 when the travel to New Orleans. Offenses don't get too much more explosive than the Saints and the game will be a good measuring stick for the 49ers and their actual chances of repeating as NFC champions.