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49ers offensive snap count vs. Browns: Daniel Kilgore gets work, Bruce Miller doesn't get enough

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Why did Brian Leonhardt play more than Bruce Miller?

The San Francisco 49ers were thoroughly embarrassed by the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, and the search for answers continues. The snap count does not reveal everything, but we can make some pretty specific inferences based on it. We'll start with the offensive side of the ball (Gamebook PDF). I decided to mix up that format with a little help from our friends at Dawgs By Nature (enjoying quite the celebration this morning, I imagine).

Quarterback

Pos Player Plays % Stats
QB Blaine Gabbert
56
100% 18-of-28 (64.3%) for 194 yards, 1 TD, 9 sacks, 3 carries for 19 yards

The nine sacks says plenty, but the 194 yards and touchdown are a bit deceiving. Gabbert did not surpass 100 yards passing until midway through the fourth quarter, and 72 of the yards and the touchdown came on the team's final drive that set the 24-10 final score. We saw an assortment of passes short of the sticks on third and long, continuing a trend this season. Blame can be split between Gabbert, Geep Chryst and the coaching staff, and a terrible offensive line.

Running Back

Pos Player Plays % Stats
RB Shaun Draughn 41 73% 11 carries, 43 yards, 3.9 avg. 2 catches, 8 yards (3 targets).
RB Travaris Cadet
15 27% 2 carries, 6 yards, 3.0 avg. 2 catches, 28 yards (2 targets)
FB Bruce Miller
13 23% 1 carry, 3 yards (first down conversion)

The only difference between Draughn's performance against the Browns, and his other performances was the lack of significant opportunities in the passing game. His rushing performance was pretty much a repeat of previous performances. It was slightly better in terms of his yards per carry, but we'll have to go back and see how much of that came when the Browns had a two score lead.

The problem was Bruce Miller got little work. As you'll see below, tight end Brian Leonhardt got more work than Miller. That's just not going to cut it when the team is short on tight ends. In previous weeks when the team has been short-handed at the position, that has resulted in Bruce Miller getting more work. And as Matt Barrows pointed out, when Miller is near or surpassing 40 percent of the snap total, good things happen. I don't think that's a coincidence.

Wide Receiver

Pos Player Plays % Stats
WR Anquan Boldin 50 89% 2 catches, 22 yards (3 targets)
WR Quinton Patton
32 73% 5 catches, 46 yards (9 targets).
WR Torrey Smith 27 48% 1 catch, 17 yards (2 targets).
WR Bruce Ellington 19 34% 0 catches, 9 yards (1 target dropped)
WR Jerome Simpson
13 23% 2 catches, 20 yards (4 targets)

Torrey Smith was dealing with back and toe issues this week, and it cut into his work. If he had been healthy this week, he would have gotten the work Patton got. Instead, Patton was Blaine Gabbert's leading target, and Boldin was not targeted until the third quarter. I really don't know why Gabbert was not looking Boldin's way a little more frequently.

Tight End

Pos Player Plays % Stats
TE Blake Bell 56 100% 3 catches, 49 yards (3 targets)
TE Brian Leonhardt 14 25% 1 catch, 4 yards (1 target)

It was the Blake Bell show at tight end. He was in on every play, and made a few nice plays. Brian Leonhardt was mostly just a body out there. He struggled in blocking, and still managed more snaps than Bruce Miller. That baffles me.

Offensive Line

Pos Player Plays % Stats
OL Joe Staley 56 100%
OL Andrew Tiller
56 100%
OL Erik Pears 56 100% 1 holding penalty declined
OL Daniel Kilgore 42 75%
OL Marcus Martin 41 73%
OL Alex Boone 29 52%

It was not a pretty performance. Blaine Gabbert will get blame for a couple of the sacks, but the offensive line was kind of a train wreck. Daniel Kilgore was back in action, and the coaching staff went to a rotation for much of the game. Alex Boone suffered a knee injury, at which point Marcus Martin took over at left guard to finish out the game. Boone is having an MRI on Monday to figure out the extent of his injury. If he is going to miss any extended time, it would seem likely that Kilgore would start at center and Martin would start at left guard.