The 49ers pulled out a 33-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks thanks in large part to strong defensive pressure and in part to beastly performances on special teams. While we had plenty of positives to take from those two aspects of the game, there were a few question marks on the offensive side of the ball. The offense had its moments where we saw some excellent execution, but there were also some play-calling and execution issues that the coaching staff will likely spend a good chunk of the next week assessing.
The primary issues on offense seemed to be the performance of the offensive line and the play-calling by the coaching staff. While Frank Gore seemed a step slow for much of the game, the offensive line wasn't doing him any wonders on most of the inside runs. Alex Smith did seem to have a decent amount of time to make his reads, but in the running game it seemed like the line struggled for much of the game inside. Thoughts?
As for the play-calling, there were actually some particularly clever play-calls. My favorite was sticking Adam Snyder at the tight end position and making him an eligible receiver. When he went to go in motion Red Bryant was called for encroachment. I don't think that play works too many more times, but it shows some creativity we haven't seen in a long time.
The issue seemed to be more in calling shorter pass plays that really weren't effective at all. The passing game actually had some very nice passes down the field and yet the team did not take nearly enough advantage of that. Alex Smith completed 75% of his passes, but his yards per attempt was not particularly high in part because he was throwing quick passes to receivers or poorly attempted screens to others.
I remain convinced that the lockout plays somewhat into the inherently conservative play-calling scheme and I do think we'll see improved play-calling as they spend more time together. Or maybe I'm just being optimistic and this will all fall apart. Who knows.
If it works out as I'm hoping, the question becomes how long it takes. I am optimistic on this front in part because the staff did make some very smart play-calls. I simply view it as an issue of consistency, which is something that I believe can develop with time.