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The 49ers in 2009 by the numbers: Offense

Now that the season is over, while many want to look straight to the future, we obviously need to assess what has passed since that will obviously affect the decisions of the offseason.  While we'll begin looking at positional reviews in the coming days, I thought we'd start out with a broader look at the 49ers this season through the stats.  Since everybody has a different view of different stats, we'll include both traditional counting stats and DVOA.  Florida Danny is working on his season recap of DVOA but we'll provide some basics here.  For those who don't know, the DVOA percentages are the percentage better or worse than a completely average team.  NFL rank is included in parenthesis.

Total YPG
: 290.8 ypg (27th)
Passing YPG: 190.8 ypg (22nd)
Rushing YPG: 100.0 (25th)
Points Per Game: 21.2 (22nd)

Total Offensive DVOA: -10.6% (23rd)
Passing DVOA: -9.2% (22nd)
Rushing DVOA: 1.3% (14th)

Even though the team switched to the shotgun and throwing the ball more, the final numbers certainly weren't pretty in the passing game.  That's obviously not shocking, or new to anybody, but it's still worth considering one more time.  One problem with these stats as they are is that they are season long numbers and don't speak to the change from Shaun Hill to Alex Smith (combined with the addition of Michael Crabtree).  At Football Outsiders they provide some quick info in their premium section that I can call upon fairly quickly.  For the traditional stats I'd have to go back through each box score and manually add it up, which I might do at a later date.

FO has a chart breaking down passing offense DVOA by weeks 1-9 and weeks 10-17.  Smith took over Week 7 during the Houston game, so it's not perfect, but it gives a starting point.  For weeks 1-9, the 49ers passing DVOA was -8.3% and ranked 23rd.  For weeks 10-17, the 49ers passing DVOA was -9.2% (so slightly worse) and ranked 22nd.  One thing to keep in mind is that the weeks 1-9 includes the one half Alex Smith lit up the Texans for one of his best (if not the best) performances of his career.

After the jump we look at a host of other stats

Total: 98 (t-19th)
Total Yards: 758 (14th)

So penalties is more just an overall statistic since it includes offensive and defensive penalties.  However, as this shows, the 49ers weren't exactly a well-oiled machine.  I'm curious how a team improves in this area?  One would think they have the right coach to clean this up.  Here's a rather crazy little stat.  Including this past season, the last three years have seen the 49ers finish with 98 penalties in 2009, 98 in 2008, 97 in 2007 and 93 in 2006.  The league leader in fewest penalties this season was Jacksonville with 70.  Any ideas on how the 49ers can bring down the penalty number?

Pass Protection
Sacks: 40 (22nd)
Sack Yards Lost: 241 yards (18th)

Considering the 49ers gave up 50 sacks last season, this is certainly an improvement...or is it?  The 49ers ran a Mike Martz offense that opened up J.T. O'Sullivan and Shaun Hill to a fair number of sacks.  Although, JTO was sacked 32 times in 7.5 games and Hill was sacked 23 times in 8.5 games (and 68 more pass attempts).  I mention all this so that we can try and get a better idea of the 49ers "improved" sack total.  Clearly the offensive line had numerous struggles.  How do folks think the o-line compared to last year since the 2008 sack numbers might be skewed a bit due to the Martz offense?

Total Giveaways: 24 (14th)
Interceptions: 14 (t-12th)
Fumbles: 10 (t-12th)

The 49ers weren't exactly awful in giving the ball away, but it always felt like their turnovers came at the worst possible times.  Of course, I wouldn't be surprised if fans of most other teams said the same thing.  For the 49ers you're talking about something like the Frank Gore fumble against Seattle, or the Delanie Walker fumble against the Eagles, both of which happened deep in the opponent's territory.  Of course, in 2008 the team gave the ball away an NFL-leading 35 times.  So they improved, but as we discussed above in sacks, did the Martz offense skew the numbers last season?  It's hard to tell.  In 2008 the 49ers had 19 interceptions and 16 fumbles.  In 2009 they had 14 interceptions and 10 fumbles.  It's only a 5 interception difference so take that for what you will.

Third down conversions: 29.8% (29th)

I don't have the info in front of me, but it always seemed like the 49ers ended up with 3rd and long most of the time.  No matter what combination led up to it (run/run, run/pass, pass/run, pass/pass) it seemed like the 49ers were consistently putting themselves in a position to fail.  Nowhere was this as big an issue as the second Seahawks game.  The 49ers badly needed a win and killed their chances by going 1-for-13.  There are numerous areas to point to for the 49ers offensive struggles, but this is definitely one that jumps out at you.  Let's take a look at this from another angle....

Third down DVOA
Third and short (1-3 yards to go): 48.0% (3rd)
Third and mid (4-6 yards to go): -9.7% (19th)
Third and long (7+ yards to go): -43.5% (26th)
Combined third down DVOA: 5.9% (16th)

So the 49ers were extremely successful on third and short, about 10% below average on third and mid, and fairly awful on third and long.  But, if you are willing to go a little further with DVOA, we can actually pinpoint the problem when we look at first and second down DVOA:

First down DVOA
Total first down DVOA: -9.5% (24th)

Second down DVOA
Second and short (1-3 yards to go): -18.0% (28th)
Second and mid (4-6 yards to go): -1.6% (18th)
Second and long (7+ yards to go): -34.6% (31st)
Combined second down DVOA: -23.9% (32nd)

That might be the best answer you're going to get.  And it's not exactly a shocking bit of information.  The team actually performed better on third down generally than it did the rest of the time.  But when you're put in such a huge position to fail following second down, it's not a surprise.