The San Francisco 49ers haven't allowed a ton of sacks to this point, but that's got a lot to do with the fact that Colin Kaepernick is great at escaping pressure. It also has a lot to do with the fact that the offensive line has performed well as a whole for about half the time they've been on the field in three games. The big problem is the other half.
You know the one: the second half.
So much has gone wrong for the 49ers in the second half. Almost as frustrating as the terrible penalties is the fact that the 49ers go on and shoot themselves in the foot enough to totally overshadow the penalties. Nobody is complaining about the fact that penalties set the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals up to win the football game because the 49ers rolled over and let them do it.
The offensive line has struggled big time in the second half of each game. The right side of the line, primarily Jonathan Martin, has struggled in particular. Against Chicago, Martin gave up two sacks on the potential game-winning drive. Against the Cardinals, Martin had a very stupid penalty, but other than that, I thought he got kind of a bum rap from folks (in other words: he was fine). I'll have a deeper post on Martin later, but first, we're going to talk about the allowed sack.
Each week, I break down the sacks allowed and each week I do kind of a gif request/dump thread and talk about a few random plays. Since there was only one sack, I'm going to combine those posts. Here's the one sack allowed:
Fourth Quarter: 4:57, 2nd and 10 at SF 19: Kaepernick sacked for -9 yards
We can talk day and night about which players likely missed an assignment here or who another player was supposed to be blocking but at the end of the day, that's information we simply do not have. What's clear here, at least to me, is that Alex Boone seemed to hesitate with his man, or at least he didn't turn inside enough to see what was going down. Martin didn't need the help, though that can be attributed to hindsight. Carlos Hyde actually gets his man pretty well, which is good to see.
Whatever the case, Kaepernick took a hard shot (the crown of the Arizona player's helmet seems to go right into Kaepernick's gut, by the way) and we can't have that. Folks have been requesting I include some looks of the 49ers' receivers on plays where Kaepernick is sacked and I have that below as well:
Nobody runs a deep route on this play so it's unclear why Kaepernick is dropping back after taking the snap and it's unclear why it looks like he's taking so long to set. But it's not like he had all day to throw.
Below, we're going to look at some other randomness I observed ...
Don't Do This, Jonathan Martin
Kaepernick is fast. He's a fast dude and always has been. I personally think he's got that Arizona defender beat, but Martin throws the block that he has to know, 100 percent, is going to get called by the officials. There was literally a zero percent chance that penalty wasn't called. It was his worst moment of the game and a significant mental slip-up. Just one in a game filled with 'em.
Guys, This Is Why The 49ers Don't Run Screen Plays
What the heck even is this? If you didn't know, one receiver motioned from the left side to the right side before that play started. Kaepernick probably knew he should have just thrown that ball away. His blockers really didn't know what they were doing, and the guys that probably should have been in front of him were ... on the other side of the field. Just not sure what they were going for with this play. This is why we can't have nice things.
Pressure Is A Big Deal, Too
This one probably should have been a sack. Kaepernick is immediately harassed and he only escapes because he's some kind of wizard or something. That was easily the most overwhelmed I've seen the offensive line to this point.
Alright ... I lied. This one was way worse. The 49ers were just totally unprepared for this kind of thing happening ... might have had a better chance at it if Kaepernick didn't take so long to get the 49ers up to the line of scrimmage. This was ugly, ugly, ugly.
Balls That Should Have Been Picked Need More Attention
This is the exact play the 49ers have run a few times in each game thus far, and every time, it's went into or off the hands of the defender, the player that Kaepernick never, ever looks at. Not only is he locked in to Michael Crabtree on this play, he doesn't even pretend like he's going anywhere else. That defender and everybody in the stadium knew exactly when and where Kaepernick was going to throw that football and it's a miracle it wasn't intercepted.
Here's another angle:
The defender obviously wanted that one back.
How About Something Good For A Change?
Carlos Hyde is going to be very, very good someday very, very soon. I firmly believe this and legitimately have no doubts as to the kid's talent. This is an average run, I just wanted to include it because it's obvious how badly he wanted to get to the end zone. He made a solid cut and a solid decision, and though I didn't capture it in gif form there's an awful lot of him looking like he was pretty upset about not breaking that one away.
Yes, it's probably safe to say that Hyde isn't going to shy away from contact any time soon. That little cut at the end and that dive into the defender reminds me a lot of Frank Gore, though Hyde was quite a bit faster getting around the outside than Gore ever was, obviously. Thought we should at least close on something positive, you know?