As much as we've complained about the 49ers offense, there is one area where they are performing fairly well. This past week against the Eagles, the 49ers were actually 3-for-3 in the red zone with three touchdowns. While the offense certainly struggled to hold onto the ball and rack up points from outside the Eagles 20, once inside the 20 it was a done deal. In the first quarter Michael Crabtree hauled in a 7-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith. In the fourth quarter, Vernon Davis caught a 7-yard touchdown pass while Frank Gore grabbed a 1-yard touchdown pass.
When I took a look at the 49ers struggles in the red zone and Vernon zone last week, the 49ers ranked 15th overall in red zone DVOA, and were 15th in passing and 9th in rushing. The Eagles performance caused a nice rise by the 49ers as they now rank 5th overall. And it shouldn't surprise anybody that three red zone passing touchdowns have them now ranked 5th in red zone passing and 11th in red zone rushing.
This weekend should make for an interesting matchup in the red zone as the Raiders defense is fairly abysmal once the opposition gets inside the Raiders 20. The Raiders rank 28th overall in red zone DVOA, made up of a 30th ranking against the pass and 14th ranking against the run. It should be interesting to see how the 49ers elect to attack the Raiders, assuming the 49ers offense can move them into the red zone. Vernon Davis remains an optimal weapon due to his size, while Michael Crabtree can sneak his way through defenses on those impressive slant patterns down close to the end zone. If the 49ers can just move the ball on the other side of the 20 with more consistency, they could put up some serious point totals.