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All22 analysis: Red Zone issues

There's no arguing that one of the areas the 49er offense must improve upon is getting touchdowns inside the Red Zone instead of settling for field goals. According to this (MMaiocco) article and this (EBranch) article, the 49ers were ranked 11th best (percentage wise) at scoring TDs in the RZ. From Branch's article:

"The 49ers have graduated from awful (30th in 2011) to below average (21st in 2012) to OK (11th in 2013) in scoring touchdowns in the red zone since Harbaugh arrived.
On Wednesday (5/28/14), though, quarterback Colin Kaepernick said the 49ers' performance near the goal line last year – they scored touchdowns on 31 of 55 red-zone trips (56.4 percent) — still left plenty to be desired. Harbaugh estimated they've spent 35 to 40 percent of their time in the red zone this week during OTAs, slightly more than last year."


According to this chart, they were 15th percentage wise (53.03%). My guess is this chart includes the playoffs, not sure.

I wanted to get a better understanding for what the point of failures were when they had to settle for FGs inside the red zone. It will be a slow developing thread since there are a lot of plays to look at. I'll cut these up in chronological order, hoping not to miss any set of downs. The goal is to understand why the 49ers seemed to struggle and what areas, in specific, they can improve at to score more TDs and less short FGs. Shown are the set of downs leading up to a turnover or FG.

This is not a feel good thread so get ready to see things you won't like. To see red zone successes, this touchdown thread will show the times they scored a touchdown.
#1
1st Down:
49ers: Kilgore in as second TE. I'm not sure what the 49ers are trying to do, but there are the routes being ran.
GB: cover2 man


Kap is mid windup and is targeting Boldin on the short in route. Could he have targeted VD who has won outside leverage on the corner route?


Below: The CB defending Boldin reaches in and swats the pass away. Incomplete.


2nd Down:
49ers: Read option.


Kap reads the unblocked blue defender (CMatthews). Because Matthews comes from a very wide angle (notice how wide he lined up), it looks like Matthews is crashing hard and is taking away the dive play.


Kap keeps the ball, but since Matthews came in from so wide (far), he never over ran the QB keeper and is able to quickly adjust to Kap. Loss of -7 yards.


Prior to 3rd Down being played: Offsides on Goodwin. Loss of -5 yards. End of 3rd quarter.
3rd Down:
49ers: 4 Verticals
GB: cover4


GB easily defends all the vertical routes by rushing 3 and dropping 8 into coverage. Kap targets Gore on the checkdown. Bring in the FG unit.
[ Edited by thl408 on Jun 25, 2014 at 11:44 AM ]
Good stuff so far. I'm looking forward to seeing more of what we did not do well last year. The red zone/settling for field goals in general has been an issue for pretty much the entire Harbaugh era so far. To varying degrees each season, I should add.
#2
49ers: 22 personnel to sell the power run.
SEA: cover1 man


After completing the play action to Gore, Kap looks up to see this.


Boldin tosses Thurmond to the side. Kap does not pull the trigger.


Same moment in time as pic above. This is why Kap didn't pull the trigger to Boldin. He was looking to the middle of the field. I am not sure what he's looking at since there are no routes being ran over the middle.


By the time Kap looks back to Boldin, the window is closed as the SEA secondary reacts to Boldin. Kap throws it away once he's pressured. Incomplete pass.


2nd Down:
Dixon off right tackle for +4 yards.


3rd Down:
Two quick outs to Kap's left with Boldin running a backside slant.


Kap first looks backside. Although Boldin has taken inside leverage on the slant, the blue defender is there to jump the throwing lane. If Kap tries to hit Boldin in stride, it's a pick6. Kap red lights the slant.


Kap looks to the left where both short out routes have had their window closed since both routes have already broken and the defenders are now watching Kap. Kap will target VD. The defenders on KW and VD are watching Kap.


The orange defender (from above) sees the release of the throw, breaks up the pass, and knocks the ball high up into the air.


Intercepted by EThomas
[ Edited by thl408 on Jun 25, 2014 at 11:45 AM ]
#3
1st Down: Gore off right guard for +3 yards.


2nd Down:
Gore on a one back power for +4 yards.


3rd Down & 3:
49ers: Rub concept on both sides.
SEA: cover3 (i think).


Kap drops back and looks to his right. Patton and KW criss cross to try and set a pick, blue and orange do not follow. There is no pick set.


Kap looks to the left. No one is open as Gore gets cutoff. VD is covered. The CB at the top of the screen is stretched trying to defend Patton and Boldin.


Same moment in time as pick above. Kap still has a good pocket.


It looks like there may have been a small window to KW on the slant. Tough throw had Kap decided to pull the trigger. Patton is the one waving his arms. Kap decides it's time to roll left and is ran out of bounds for 0 yards. Bring on the FG unit.
[ Edited by thl408 on Jun 25, 2014 at 11:45 AM ]
One thing you have to say is that this is a tremendous defense they're playing here; the discipline of not following the crossing pick, the speed at which the linebackers converge; really good defense. If the NIners can figure out how to score on this defense, they can score on anybody.
That 3rd and 3 vs Seattle with the 2x3 set is something we seem to run a lot. I'm almost wondering if it becoming sort of a tell for us. I believe Delanies GW td vs Detroit in '11 was on that play and I also thinks boldin's first td vs gb was on a similar play.

I just wish there was something else we could tie to the rub/slant route, maybe like a whip route by one of the "rubbers" on the trips side. That way if the under is taken you have a quick whip route creating a horizontal stretch.
#4
1st Down:
49ers will run a Counter left.


Boone (yellow) pulls. Staley loses on his block and his man is able to get penetration.


Staley is on the ground. Because of the penetration, Miller gets eaten up by it and never gets to his blocking assignment in order to block the blue LB. The blue LB fills the hole and Gore runs around for a -5 yard loss.


2nd Down & 15:
49ers: Mesh concept with Boldin and VD.
HOU: It looks like cover2 zone


When the mesh is created, the LB on Boldin follows Boldin so it looks like man coverage. The LB on VD's side doesn't follow and it looks like zone.


As Kap targets VD, the pass is knocked down at the line of scrimmage by the blue defender (above). Incomplete pass.


3rd Down & 15:
HOU: cover4


Withthe middle of the field open, Kap targets VD on the skinny post. Kap is mid windup. The blue deep safety will have an influence on this play.


VD has the ball bounce off his hands. Notice the blue safety closing in on the play.

Same moment in time as pic above. Because the blue safety is closing fast, VD hears footsteps. He reaches for the pass, but doesn't lunge for it. His arms are telling him to go for it, his legs are telling him to pull up.


It's a nice throw from Kap, but VD was unable to corral the pass. Bring on the FG unit.
[ Edited by thl408 on Jun 25, 2014 at 11:46 AM ]
Btw, great thread I have a funny feeling I know where I'm gonna be spending my time til training camp starts
Originally posted by crake49:
One thing you have to say is that this is a tremendous defense they're playing here; the discipline of not following the crossing pick, the speed at which the linebackers converge; really good defense. If the NIners can figure out how to score on this defense, they can score on anybody.

Yeah, they are no joke when it comes to disciplined coverage and team defense. I hate those guys just as much as you, but I have to tip my cap to them. Combine the disciplined coverage with that ferocious pass rush and it's easy to see why they had so much success defensively last season.
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BTW I didn't see any failed RZ opportunities in the IND and STL game. That's why there's nothing from weeks 3 and 4.
3rd down on post #8 (HOU). I really do not like the route ran by Baldwin (bad play design). He needs to threaten vertically in order to hold the safety on that side of the field. Because he didn't threaten vertically, the safety was not obligated to honor his deep zone, was able to roam over and ended up influencing VD into alligator arming that pass. It's tough to tell, but it seems like that safety breaks towards VD before Kap even starts his throwing motion. I don't think the safety does that had Baldwin threatened that safety's deep zone.
Originally posted by Niners816:
That 3rd and 3 vs Seattle with the 2x3 set is something we seem to run a lot. I'm almost wondering if it becoming sort of a tell for us. I believe Delanies GW td vs Detroit in '11 was on that play and I also thinks boldin's first td vs gb was on a similar play.

I just wish there was something else we could tie to the rub/slant route, maybe like a whip route by one of the "rubbers" on the trips side. That way if the under is taken you have a quick whip route creating a horizontal stretch.

Good point. It's a bit surprising how often they go empty backfield (3x2) in the red zone. They did it again versus HOU post#8 on 3rd down. I have a hunch we'll see more of it.
VD and some lazy route running
Originally posted by thl408:
3rd down on post #8 (HOU). I really do not like the route ran by Baldwin (bad play design). He needs to threaten vertically in order to hold the safety on that side of the field. Because he didn't threaten vertically, the safety was not obligated to honor his deep zone, was able to roam over and ended up influencing VD into alligator arming that pass. It's tough to tell, but it seems like that safety breaks towards VD before Kap even starts his throwing motion. I don't think the safety does that had Baldwin threatened that safety's deep zone.

I agree....That's was a very lazy route on his part. How the hell do you roll into a hook.
Originally posted by thl408:
There's no arguing that one of the areas the 49er offense must improve upon is getting touchdowns inside the Red Zone instead of settling for field goals. According to this (MMaiocco) article and this (EBranch) article, the 49ers were ranked 11th best (percentage wise) at scoring TDs in the RZ. From Branch's article:

"The 49ers have graduated from awful (30th in 2011) to below average (21st in 2012) to OK (11th in 2013) in scoring touchdowns in the red zone since Harbaugh arrived.
On Wednesday (5/28/14), though, quarterback Colin Kaepernick said the 49ers' performance near the goal line last year – they scored touchdowns on 31 of 55 red-zone trips (56.4 percent) — still left plenty to be desired. Harbaugh estimated they've spent 35 to 40 percent of their time in the red zone this week during OTAs, slightly more than last year."


According to this chart, they were 15th percentage wise (53.03%). My guess is this chart includes the playoffs, not sure.

I wanted to get a better understanding for what the point of failures were when they had to settle for FGs inside the red zone. It will be a slow developing thread since there are a lot of plays to look at. I'll cut these up in chronological order, hoping not to miss any set of downs. The goal is to understand why the 49ers seemed to struggle and what areas, in specific, they can improve at to score more TDs and less short FGs. Shown are the set of downs leading up to a turnover or FG.

This is not a feel good thread so get ready to see things you won't like. To see red zone successes, this touchdown thread will show the times they scored a touchdown.

I would love it if we were #1 in the redzone. But, we ARE better than average. All offenses have to sometimes settle for field goals.