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Breaking down 49ers play-calling against the clock in Week 11

The 49ers had some issues in their Week 11 loss to the Saints, wasting two timeouts and taking a delay of game. We break down what it all means. New to Niners Nation? Sign up here and join the discussion!

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

A frequent complaint during 49ers games the last two years has been that there is a struggle to get plays off in time. The team appears to be frequently using timeouts, taking delay of game penalties, or just plain having to hurry up a play as time winds down. Even if the play gets off before a delay penalty, there is a view that rushing the play is going to decrease the chances of success.

I went back and looked at the 49ers 57 offensive plays against the New Orleans Saints. In reviewing the plays, I saw eight plays where the team seemed to have some kind of issues with the play-clock running down. Two of the plays resulted in timeouts and one resulted in a delay of game.

The first timeout came as a result of a player (I couldn't see who) apparently lined up in the wrong spot. The delay of game came as a result of Derek Carrier apparently being lined up in the wrong spot. They used a third timeout later in the second half, but that happened with time left on the clock, and Kap apparently unhappy with what he saw. I can live with that kind of timeout I say "apparently" in all of this because without knowing the specifics of the playbook, we are left to some measure of speculation.

Here are the eight plays. If you have specific questions about any of them

14:17 1Q TO #1: Player not in the right place
14:17 1Q - some kind of confusion, showed some hurry up urgency, got snap out with about 2 seconds left
8:41 2Q - out of timeouts, takes delay of game - Carrier lined up incorrectly
11:27 3Q - snap with 1 second left after all the shifting
1:35 3Q - 1st timeout of second half - audible to shotgun, called timeout as he was moving back with 5 seconds on play clock
13:31 4Q - snapped with less than a second left - Was in shotgun looking for something, hurried to get snap over final 6 seconds
7:00 4Q - 2nd timeout of second half - didn't like what he saw
2:06 4Q - Snapped with less than a second left - was making changes - started looking at defense with 8 seconds left

I can't make any grand conclusions from this because we haven't compared it with every other game since Colin Kaepernick took over. I'm tempted in the offseason to go through game by game and break down this kind of information. I suppose it would help to compare to the rest of the league, but with different offensive styles, I'm not sure what we could conclude.

After Sunday's game Kap was asked about the team's struggles getting plays off. He mentioned that "We have a lot on our plate, as far as what we're trying to get done."

Will we see some adjustments? It has felt like the team improved in this area somewhat compared to last year, but it's hard to tell with any certainty. For now, it is mostly just qualitative analysis.

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