Analysts, "experts" and pundits continue to call the San Francisco 49ers a run-first team. However, their assessment has not been consistent with anything I have seen of the 49ers since last year. True, in the beginning of the 2011-2012 season the 49ers were still very much a run-first team. Such was understandable, as it had only been their first year under the West Coast Offense system. As the season progressed, however, they became far more confident in their passing game. In this 2012-2013 season, to me they appear to be a pass-first team; whereas, they use the pass to setup the run in most games.
Unlike most people, I do not judge "run-first" or "pass-first" based on the conventional means of assessing how many yards a team has earned running or passing. Those are deceiving. What I have observed is a consistent short to intermediate passing game that sets up fewer run attempts that happen to yield greater yardage. Case in point, it looks balanced on paper if you judge the total yards running or passing, but when you watch the game, you see a lot more passing.
I understand that many people call it "running the ball" when the team passes behind the line of scrimmage. But to me, a pass is a pass and a run is a run.
Am I wrong for calling this team a pass-first team? I'm interested in hearing others' opinions.