FanPost

Niners are the best blocking team in the league -- but what's their YAB?

The Niners were able to dispatch the Jaguars rather easily in London. I re-watched the first half and noticed something that most of us already know about: Niners are very likely the best blocking team in the league!

And one play in particular is stuck in my mind as evidence of our prowess:

Late in the first quarter with 2:44 remaining on the clock and Niners leading 7-0, Kap kept the snap and rolled left for a 12 yard TD run. On that play, Staley took out an overmatched DB, and Gore took out 2 LBs with one magnificent block! This got me wondering: what is the overall YAB -- Yards After Blocks - total for a typical Niners game? Of all the yards gained by the Niners offense, how many of them are a direct result of good blocking? Instead of looking at the job the OLine does in traditional pass protection situations, YAB could focus on other types of plays. For example, it would be more interesting to know the YAB totals in situations where either a RB gets the carry, or when a QB keeps the ball, or when a WR/TE/RB has caught the ball and is in the act of gaining YAC (Yards After Catch).

Basically, how many yards did the ball carrier gain because the other offensive players delivered blocks in front of, around, and behind him? Is there a way to quantify how much impact blocks have on the result of a given play?

On this specific play, Niners had 7 players at the Line of Scrimmage (LOS) but a total of 8 possible blockers when we include Gore. Jaguars had 9 defenders within 5 yards of LOS, but only about 7 of them were in position to make a play on the ball. By the time Kap had started rolling left, Iupati & Kilgore had already combined to seal one of the DT who could have obstructed the play. And by the time Kap was turning the corner, Staley & Gore had taken out 3 other defenders, and so Kap only had to out-run 1-2 other guys to get the TD.

So on this particular 12 yard TD play, we could count as many as 15 yards as YABs. For instance, if Iupati & Kilgore don't get the initial block, the DT would have been able to stop Kap for a 3 yard loss. After that first successful combo-block, Staley's individual block occurred at the 13 yard line, and Gore's dual-block happened between 9-11 yard-lines. After Gore's block, Kap gained the remaining 9 yards while outrunning one other defender who could have realistically stopped the TD at the 2 yard line.

On a complicated play like this (and most plays are similarly complicated), what should be the YAB for the Niners offense? Is it the regular 12 yards that Kap gained, or the 15 yards where the tackle-for-loss would have happened, or where Staley made his block, or where Gore made his block, or where Kap out ran the final defender?

I think the YAB total on this play should be 15 yards because that is the most likely result if our offense had not made the first successful block. But what do you guys think? Have you seen any stat like this from another source that could help us prove that we are indeed the best blocking team in the NFL.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.

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