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OL Analysis 1st Down Production (Running Log)

The key to our offense is 1st down production! Per Alex Smith in the offseason, the goal for this offense was to focus on 1st down production so that the playbook can be open for easier 2nd and 3rd down completion %'s. Let's take a look each week at how we are doing on 1st down production:

I recommend you review 3rd downs %'s as well (as needed).

Compliments of Mr.Mcgibblets (aka oldman9er): Refer here for full details for your own trending notes.
Pending (Giants)

Week 1 vs. Packers:


Analysis: Of the 18 first down tries, only FIVE times did we gain less than 4 yards. Wow! THIS is how you sustain drives, TOP, wear down a defense and win football games! Even these five were successful because of the previous first down gains leading up to the scores. Very impressive.

I also noticed than when we didn't make 4+ yards on first downs, we were AGGRESSIVE passing the ball on 2nd down (instead of Gore runs up the middle). And the results? TD, FG & FG

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Week 2 vs. Lions:


Analysis: We had 18 1st down attempts last week against GB but were nearly flawless in gaining 4+ yards. This week we had 29! But of the 29 attempts only 15 were positive (4+ yards) and 14 were negative (less than 4 yards). What made this game a win is that the positive yards we did get on 1st down were generally very large (first downs themselves) AND naturally, the 3rd down clutch plays to keep the drives going despite putting ourselves in a hole on 14 of the 29 1st down attempts.

Next week, I'd like to see us more successful on 1st AND 3rd downs for a complete game!

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Week 3 vs. Vikings:



Analysis: We had 28 1st down opportunities this game (surprising). Of the 28 opportunities 17 were for 4+ yards while 11 we less than 4 yards. We were much more efficient than I thought; just couldn't capitalize when it mattered but we had plenty of chances!

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Week 4 vs. Jets:


Analysis: We had 35 1st down opportunities this game! Of the 35 opportunities 23 were for 4+ yards while 11 we less than 4 yards. Total domination! This is impressive when you consider many of these were by way of the run (245 yards rushing) and that was our game plan. We stuck with it and they couldn't stop us.

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Week 5 vs. Bills:



Analysis: We had 33 first down attempts. Of the 33 opportunities 24 were for 4+ yards with only 9 less than 4 yards. Total domination from the start! And many penalties killed us on 1st down. Alex got a few back with hard counts. Well done. VERY WELL DONE! 2nd time we've achieved 70+% but this time it was with 33 chances vs. the 18 against GB. The game plan here was clearly to target the deeper packages; first time installed all year! 300 yards passing and running. Now THAT is balance.


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Week 6 vs. Giants:


Analysis: Of the 25 opportunities 15 were for 4+ yards with 10 less than 4 yards. There was 1 INT, 1 Sack, 1 Holding Penalty and 1 Minus-play with only 2 incompletions and almost all were in shot gun formation. We didn't lose this game on first down production! We had nice production on this down including some big gainers but the negative plays we did have hurt us. It seems like we didn't stick with what was clearly working in this games on first downs.


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Week 7 vs. Hawks:


Analysis: Of the 26 opportunities, we had a season-high low of 11 for 4+ yards with 15 less than 4 yards. There were no INT's, Sacks, or Penalties and only 1 Minus-play. There were 4 incompletions with an equal mix of Alex/Gore. We didn't shoot ourselves in the foot this game but this game, we were by far, the least productive on first downs. We made this game much closer than it needed to be.


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Week 8 vs. Cards:


Analysis: Of the low 20 opportunities we did have, we had a season-high low of 11 (again, back-to-back) for 4+ yards with 9 less than 4 yards. There were no INT's or Penalties and 1 Sack and no Minus-plays. There was 1 incompletions (to Walker). We shot ourselves in the foot again this game with mindless momentum-killing penalties but not on 1st downs.

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Week 10 vs. Rams:


Analysis: We had 33 1st down attempts last week thanks to O.T. and we converted 22 of those for 4+ yards. This included 2 TD's. And as always, we pass more to start games with 20 of the 33 passing but with a nice mix of Gore/Hunter as well.


Overall Analysis: Over the past two games, defenses have geared up to stop our first down production and have been successful with only 11 in each game over number of plays 4+ yard or more. As a result, we needed much more productivity (pressure) on 2nd and 3rd downs to score; we scored just enough against the Hawks and dominated on these latter two downs against the Cards who went to a 4-man line to stop us. But at the half-way point, 60% is very good but Roman is going to need to step up his first down calls and the players will need to execute as teams continue to gear up to stop us and are having success here. Penalties continue to kill us on this down as well. We got back on track this week against the Rams and added two more TD's on this down and above our average of 60% at 67% which, again, overall at 61% is stellar. When defenses are able to put us in predictive sets, that's when we struggle the most. Defenses have no idea how to defend us on 1st downs hence the big success!

My personal goal is to see this offense achieve 70+% on 1st down production of 4 or more yards and we made it for the second time this year (Packers & Bills)! This goal also applies to 3rd down-to-first down %'s; the perfectly balanced game! We appear to be beating teams by many different ways but it all appears to start with big success on 1st down production.


These stats just confirm the importance of my original theory that it wasn't the 1 for 13 3rd down % against the Giants that cost us the NFCCG game (beyond KW); it was the lack of production on 1st downs setting us up for failure on 2nd and 3rd downs and playing right into the strengths of the Giants (e.g. a good defense).

Totals % of 4+ Yards on 1st Down:
Game 1 (Green Bay) = 13 out of 18 = 72%
Game 2 (Detroit) = 15 out of 29 = 52%
Game 3 (Minnesota) = 17 out of 28 = 61%
Game 4 (New YorkJ) = 23 out of 35 = 66%
Game 5 (Buffalo) = 24 out of 33 = 73%
Game 6 (Giants) = 15 out of 25 = 60%
Game 7 (Hawks) = 11 out of 26 = 42%
Game 8 (Cards) = 11 out of 20 = 55%
Game 9 (Rams) = 22 out of 33 = 67%


Overall, for the season, we're 151 out of 247 = 61% which is fantastic!
[ Edited by NCommand on Nov 15, 2012 at 12:02 PM ]
Really enjoying the stressed attention you are placing on the first downs. It's something that is always right there in front of us, but not something I really delved deeply into.
damn! Didn't read
Originally posted by oldman9er:
Really enjoying the stressed attention you are placing on the first downs. It's something that is always right there in front of us, but not something I really delved deeply into.

Thanks OM9. Can't do it w/o you, man.

It was just an observation I noticed from back in the old WCO days and seems to still carry over now.

Alex also stated this exact goal (better gains on 1st down) in the offseason so I wanted to see how we are doing. The goal for year 2 of the WCO installation was to increase 3rd down & RZ %'s and we've done a good job so far. But where we made the best improvement is on 1st down to put us in easier positions to be successful on 2nd and 3rd and RZ downs...it all starts with the 1st down! You will see the same trend with consistently successful offenses as well...stellar on 1st downs!

PS: And the best part is we haven't played a complete game yet AND we already beat two of the best teams in the NFL back-to-back, rather easily!
[ Edited by NCommand on Sep 18, 2012 at 2:18 PM ]
I miss the three runs up the gut followed by the punt. Real style.
Originally posted by English:
I miss the three runs up the gut followed by the punt. Real style.


With an occasional one of these to keep them REALLY off balance
[ Edited by wysiwyg on Sep 18, 2012 at 2:33 PM ]
NC thanks for the detail. That is one of the things I enjoyed about the old 49ers, just slowly and methodically going down the field. Then in the second half our first possession we would just slowly and methodically go down the field and the other team could not stop it. We had a good lead, the defense protected the lead, and then we would run out the clock and win the game. Our first possession against Detroit was a thing of beauty and efficiency. Now I would like 4-5 of those possessions in a row in the first half, and 1-2 of them in the second half and then win the game. I also would like to see a few slants in each game as well. Hopefully each week we get a little more proficient and effective in our game plan and our game execution.
Originally posted by Ninefan56:
NC thanks for the detail. That is one of the things I enjoyed about the old 49ers, just slowly and methodically going down the field. Then in the second half our first possession we would just slowly and methodically go down the field and the other team could not stop it. We had a good lead, the defense protected the lead, and then we would run out the clock and win the game. Our first possession against Detroit was a thing of beauty and efficiency. Now I would like 4-5 of those possessions in a row in the first half, and 1-2 of them in the second half and then win the game. I also would like to see a few slants in each game as well. Hopefully each week we get a little more proficient and effective in our game plan and our game execution.

Thank you for reading. No doubt the original WCO was "designed" (sound familiar Niner fans) to pass to set up the run and exploit mismatches with short and intermediate passing with an occasional post pattern if that happen to be the oppositions weakness. It was about starting fast (scripted plays) and scoring methodically. And then like you said, the second half is all about clock control, field positions, ST's, defense and dominating and wearing down the DL.

I would imagine (and you could see where we stalled above) we will see more strings of scoring like we had in GB (5 scoring drives in a row) but as year 2 of this WCO is installed, we'll see more elements being added, like the slant we saw with Crabtree and then some post patterns, more crossing routes, etc. But we're getting there WHILE beating two of the very best teams in the NFL. Not bad! I can't wait to see what this coaching staff is going to do with all these weapons including the ones who haven't even been used yet (Ginn, Jacobs, Jenkins & James). And with FA's wanting to play here again (esp. for Harbaugh) and 12 picks in the draft next year, we are witnessing the rebirth of a dynasty again, IMHO!
Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by Ninefan56:
NC thanks for the detail. That is one of the things I enjoyed about the old 49ers, just slowly and methodically going down the field. Then in the second half our first possession we would just slowly and methodically go down the field and the other team could not stop it. We had a good lead, the defense protected the lead, and then we would run out the clock and win the game. Our first possession against Detroit was a thing of beauty and efficiency. Now I would like 4-5 of those possessions in a row in the first half, and 1-2 of them in the second half and then win the game. I also would like to see a few slants in each game as well. Hopefully each week we get a little more proficient and effective in our game plan and our game execution.

Thank you for reading. No doubt the original WCO was "designed" (sound familiar Niner fans) to pass to set up the run and exploit mismatches with short and intermediate passing with an occasional post pattern if that happen to be the oppositions weakness. It was about starting fast (scripted plays) and scoring methodically. And then like you said, the second half is all about clock control, field positions, ST's, defense and dominating and wearing down the DL.

I would imagine (and you could see where we stalled above) we will see more strings of scoring like we had in GB (5 scoring drives in a row) but as year 2 of this WCO is installed, we'll see more elements being added, like the slant we saw with Crabtree and then some post patterns, more crossing routes, etc. But we're getting there WHILE beating two of the very best teams in the NFL. Not bad! I can't wait to see what this coaching staff is going to do with all these weapons including the ones who haven't even been used yet (Ginn, Jacobs, Jenkins & James). And with FA's wanting to play here again (esp. for Harbaugh) and 12 picks in the draft next year, we are witnessing the rebirth of a dynasty again, IMHO!

Agree. Great post. I do believe this team is only gonna get much better and consistent as the season rolls along. I think we will have some rough games were we are hit and miss, but also some games where the offense will just look unstoppable all game long. This gonna be so exciting to watch for sure!
Originally posted by tohara3:
Agree. Great post. I do believe this team is only gonna get much better and consistent as the season rolls along. I think we will have some rough games were we are hit and miss, but also some games where the offense will just look unstoppable all game long. This gonna be so exciting to watch for sure!

This is exactly how I see it. We have to remember that certain teams are just going to match up better against us and we'll struggle (50/50) on both 1st and 3rd downs. Then there will be games where we just overmatch another team and just absolutely dominate on 1st and 3rd downs. So far we've started out fast and successful too. I'd like to see the fast start continue and a great success rate on 1st and 3rd downs for a complete game (with high RZ production, of course). When that happens, it's going to be a beautiful thing to watch! Thanks for reading/your comments!
I love my WebZone Bros! They know there s**t!!!

good job fellas. Really appreciate it
Thank you guys...OM9 made the play, I just made the easy tackle!
This was placed in the Alex Smith (2012) thread but it's more appropriate here...see, you all should listen to us sometimes. LOL

http://www.teamrankings.com/nfl/stat/first-downs-per-play
Vikings game is up...see first page for the running log!
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