Last week, Andrew Tiller performed better than Jordan Devey in every facet of the game. Against the Baltimore Ravens, the San Francisco coaching staff led with the same strategy. Jordan Devey started and Andrew Tiller rotated in every quarter. While Week 5 provided a clear winner, Week 6 was a closer battle.
The game plan coming in was to lean heavy on play action. Colin Kaepernick used play action on 45.2% of his drop-backs, tops in the league for Week 6. On the first couple drives, Jordan Devey benefitted from the heavy play action, especially the boot action plays.
This was the 49ers first real explosive gain of the game, and you can see Devey simply carrying the play zone run play action to the offenses's left.
These plays end up being a positive on the grade sheet for Devey, but he was definitely helped by the scheme. Even then, Devey did have positive plays in the pass blocking department, including on the deep out to Torrey Smith.
In the run game, Devey continued to underwhelm. He wasn't terrible, but didn't excel. If there is one thing Devey does moderately well, it's pull and lead block on power runs. This is the second week in a row where Devey has met expectations as a pulling guard.
Many will cite this failed red zone play as a prime example of Devey's shortcomings as a run blocker. The blame, however, falls squarely on Marcus Martin. It is a tough reach block for Devey, and Martin doesn't even pretend to help before moving to the second level. This blocking scheme should involve a combo block at the point of attack.
Against the Giants, Tiller's hand fighting was exceptional. This week, Tiller's technique lapsed at times. Matched up one-on-one against Timmy Jernigan, Tiller allows the defender to get into his chest, then leans over and gives up all leverage.
Even with lapses in pass protection, Tiller exhibits key qualities you want out of a starting guard. His quick feet at the snap allow him to shift laterally and prevent Brandon Williams from getting to Colin Kaepernick on the quick swing pass.
He also performed well on the boot-action plays the 49ers love, getting a pancake block on the deep pass to Bruce Miller.
The battle this week was much closer, but there was a clear winner. While Devey is playing better, and Tiller had a couple allowed both a pressure and a QB hit in pass protection, Pro Football Focus graded Tiller out as the better performer.
Overall, Tiller is still outplaying Jordan Devey. But ultimately, what matters most is what the coaches think. And based on their snap count late in the game, we might be seeing the scales tip definitively towards Andrew Tiller.