Pro Football Focus passed along their gradebook for the San Francisco 49ers 31-17 victory over the St. Louis Rams, and I thought I would share some of the more interesting information to come from that. You can also read their "Re-Fo" article on the game. Thanks to Jeff Deeney for passing this information along.
If you have any questions about PFF grades or stats, let me know. I can't go in and copy and paste all their content here because they make a living off that information. However, I can provide some details. And if you have any questions about their process, let me know and I can talk to Jeff Deeney, who is available to answer questions as best he can.
Usual disclaimer: No one stat or grade or measurement is the be-all, end-all when analyzing performance. However, each stat can provide a little something extra to figuring out the bigger picture. If you get a minute, I highly recommend reading this 2-part series (Part 1, Part 2) at our Eagles blog, taking a look at their system.
Blitzing the QB
The St. Louis Rams blitzed Colin Kaepernick on a mere 7 of 37 pass plays Monday evening. This is notable because previously, the Rams had been blitzing on 45 percent of pass plays. On Monday, Kap had a 119.6 passer rating when blitzed, and 118.7 when not. Through seven games, Kap has a QB rating of 117.3 when blitzed, and 88.2 when not blitzed. He benefited from a shaky Rams secondary, but even still, it is good to see him excel in both situations.
The 49ers blocking was inconsistent to some degree. Whereas normally the 49ers are strong in run blocking, and weak in pass protection, this time it was the opposite. PFF graded Jonathan Martin as -2.7 in pass protection, but otherwise everyone was a positive. In run blocking, Vernon Davis and Joe Staley graded out at -3.8 and -3.1 respectively. Jonathan Martin and Vance McDonald had the only positive grades with a 0.4 and 0.8, respectively.
The run blocking was seen in the struggles of the backs. Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde combined for 52 yards on 27 carries. In runs to the left of center, normally an area of success, the 49ers rushed 16 times for 18 yards. The also combined for 18 yards on 14 carries outside the tackles.
The 49ers offense figured things out against the Rams secondary, but they had a troubling trend at times. The 49ers gained 2 yards or less on 15 of their 26 first down plays. You might not be able to establish the ground game sufficiently when you're facing 2nd and long and 3rd and long. I'm guessing part of this came from the Rams loading up against the run.
The 49ers brought some extra rushers against Rams QB Austin Davis, although it was not quite as much as it seemed. The team blitzed Davis on 13 of 50 dropbacks (26 percent of the time). Previously, the 49ers had blitzed 17.7 percent of the time. They pressured Davis 44 percent of the time, which was a season high for them.
Perrish Cox gave up some passes, allowing 5 receptions on 8 targets for 64 yards. However he had a couple pass breakups that netted him a 1.1 coverage grade. Chris Culliver gave up 4 receptions on 7 targets for 67 yards and a touchdown. He finished with a -0.3 coverage grade.
On the season, 49ers opponents have completed only 10 of 44 attempts of 20+ yards downfield on the season (22.7 percent). The 49ers have allowed a passer rating of 57.0 on those attempts.
I thought I would throw out a few rankings for the 49ers.
- Among 3-4 defensive ends, Justin Smith ranks third, and Ray McDonald ranks 13th
- Antoine Bethea is the top ranked safety
- Ian Williams ranks 8th among defensive tackles
- Perrish Cox is 5th among cornerbacks, while Chris Culliver is 46th (out of 103)
- Aaron Lynch and Dan Skuta rank 11th and 13th, respectively, among 3-4 OLBs, while Ahmad Brooks ranks last (45th).
- Stevie Johnson is No. 1 in yards per route run (3.03) among wide receivers with 25+ targets