Posts Tagged ‘49ers


49ers Challenge Status Quo

A common misconception in the NFL is that teams need to rack up gaudy numbers on offense in order to achieve victories in this league. The 49ers obviously don’t believe in this status quo, posting just above 200 overall yards a game, which puts them ranked last in the NFL stat books. However, they still remain 2-1, with being on the verge of a 3-0 start that slipped away from their reach.

One might ask; what is the formula to the 49ers early success this season? Their early season result could possibly be directly tied to the fact that they are playing conservative. In my view, by racking up so little yardage, and showing no interest of having breakout games every week, shows us fans that coach Jim Harbaugh’s commitment and belief in his game plan.

As a side-note, conservative offense play, can only be achieved if your team’s defense is SOLID.  However, focusing on the offensive side of the ball in this blog, we will have to assume that defense is not a factor on the offensive game planning.

In the past, we had coaches such as Mike Singletary and Mike Nolan, which were delusional coaches.  While having similar approaches to running their offense as Harbaugh, their commitment levels ran short.  Instead, when they game got intense, these two coaches would completely change their game plan from a conservative approach in the first half, to an offense that was not tailored to the team’s skill set in the second half.  Thus fulfilling their own prophecy by following the status quo of trying to rack up big yardage and failing to achieve a victory.

Jim Harbaugh explains his game plan vs. the Bengals in a Post-game conference link.(Video)

In order to truly win in this league, teams need to win the turnover ration rather than the yardage ratio.  And one-way to win this is by playing conservative. By playing safely over the past 3 games, the 49ers have won 2 games and at the last-minute lost 1 game. In each of these games, the 49ers QB, Alex Smith had above 90%, which is highly dictated by the amount of turnovers a QB throws. However, with this high QB rating, Smith never posted gaudy numbers that would gain himself high fantasy football points, but instead he played smart in these games, which kept his team in the game.  Since Smith and the offense haven’t been put into a situation yet where the offense is in catch up mode, there has been no need to venture out of their game plan yet.

When a team decides to go for the money shot, which is heaving the ball downfield for a Hail Mary type play, then they are more likely to throw an interception or get incomplete passes. The benefit of these plays result in big-time stats and big plays, but the downside is a higher rate of incomplete passes and interceptions. Smith has occasionally thrown this deep ball this season, but his repertoire usually consists of quick hits for 10 yards.

In this link, the SF Gate explains their view on the 49er’s conservative approach.

The 49ers Game Plan Summary:

1. Throw deep when needed! Only.

2. Run the ball, even if there’s an 8 man box

3. Make them beat us, instead of beating ourselves (don’t shoot yourself in the foot with turnovers)

4. Let solid defense and special teams help take some load off the offense

5. And finally, make Alex Smith look good, which makes Harbaugh look good, which gives the Niners a ‘W’ on the score sheet.

This 49ers game plan has allowed for their early season success and does not appear to be altered in the near future.  Let it be known however, winning on special teams and defense, allows your offense to choose a conservative or aggressive approach to their game plan.

To see 49ers vs. Bengal highlight from last weeks game, watch this video:

This video demonstrates the 49er’s cautious approach throughout the game.