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49ers-Falcons film breakdown: 3rd Down and Wrong

Currently Ranked 28th in 3rd down Conversion, We’ll review some conversions and misses from Sunday’s blowout

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Although the San Francisco 49ers have lost 13 straight games, this one seemed different. Most games this season have been gut-wrenching due to the fact that we’ve actually been competitive for a good portion of the game, but then the wheels come rolling off as we crash and burn. Sunday’s game was a blowout from the coin toss. It was 21-0 before you could finish your first beer. In today’s film breakdown, you’ll get a chance to see some positives, obviously some negatives, and also some head scratchers.

So here we go 3rd and 1 to go on our own 32. Play action opens up a huge piece of grass for Jeremy Kerley to run across the middle. It also causes the defender covering Kerley and an extra aggressive linebacker to collide. Seems like an easy pitch and catch, however Colin Kaepernick sails the pass over Kerley’s head.

Our next 3rd down comes later in the 1st quarter. It’s a 3rd and 11 to go. Chip Kelly has a double slant route called. Kerley clears out the middle of the field, Aaron Burbridge is set to slide in behind him for the conversion. Initially in reviewing the play it looks like another miss by Kap, however if you watch Burbridge closely on his route, when he breaks in, he stops momentarily, and then continues across the middle. If Burbridge plants his foot and accelerates through his break, which is what I believe Kap was anticipating, the conversion attempt looks to be more successful. There was some pressure coming in which also hurried the throw.

Into the 2nd quarter we have another 3rd and long, 3rd and 14 to be exact. Our longest 3rd down conversion of the game. Falcons by now are up a few touchdowns, along with the distance to gain, they spread out into a deep zone. 3 man rush, and some how the Falcons are able to generate a pass rush. Vic Beasley was borderline unblockable the whole game. When he wasn’t forcing Kap out the pocket, he played the spy role and kept Kap from breaking loose. On this play his pressure forced Kap to break out to his right. This movement causes the Falcons zone to break down. Bell does a good job of making himself available on the scramble and runs into the void. He then gets tackled and ends up on IR, smh. We can’t catch a break.

Next 3rd down in the 2nd quarter is a 3rd and 6. We’re on our own 42. There’s a bunch set to the top of the field. Kerley looks to be the primary read and runs a quick shake and bake and then out towards the first down. Kap, stares down the route, but for whatever reason fails to pull the trigger. The backfield view also gives you a look at the Falcons using Beasley as a spy, and he is FAST. He runs down Kap in less than 2 yards. THROW IT!

Our next 3rd down, still in the 2nd quarter, bring us another conversion. 3rd and 11 to go. This play shows a great set up and execution in all phases. Kelly draws up a good play, the receiver runs a crisp route, and Kap steps up in the pocket and gives Burbridge a shot on the catch and run. We pick up the first down as the stack/rub combo works to perfection. Side note, someone tell the rook to either go out of bounds, or get down and protect yourself. Keanu Neal tattoos him at the end here.

2 minutes before the half ends we see another flash of execution. It’s 3rd and 8. The play design itself shows some of things we expected from Kelly’s offensive mind. Now there’s something to be said at this point because the score is 21 to something, so maybe the Falcons had there foot off the gas a little but I’ll take it. Harper runs an excellent slant and out. I would imagine Chris Harper, coming from the Patriots practice squad, had to watch Julian Edelman and Co. run this route to death. In the face of a daunting 3 man rush (sarcasm font), Kap stands in and delivers a rocket, no sarcasm. First Down!

Into the 2nd half, Beasley continues to blow by our tackles. This time Zane Beadles gets taken for a ride and barely gets a hand on him. It’s 3rd and 7. When the defender is the backfield this fast, doesn’t matter what route anyone is running. It’s a loss from the snap. Kap manages to give Carlos Hyde a shot with a back shoulder on his wheel route, but Hyde fails to bring it in. I think he could’ve made more of a play for his QB in distress. We punt.

4 minutes left in the 3rd, and we’re facing a manageable 3rd and 6. On this play I see it a few ways; Initially it looks like a late read by Kap. You can see a similar route combo from earlier in the game. Double Slant from the 2 WRs, and the TE is running a fade up the seam. On the previous play, Kerley was the decoy, Burbridge was the primary. Kap does a good job here in looking off the safety by checking the TE up the seam. He then snaps to the opposite side. At first I thought he was just staring down Kerley, and not throwing it. On second glance you have to look close at the back field view but he’s checking on Harper to get open, but he can’t seem to break free. Kap then tries to hit Kerely late and force one in, bad idea. We punt once again.

I’m going to put this failed 3rd down on the coaches. Here’s why, it’s 3rd and 2 and we call an out pattern to the short side of the field. I’m also curious as to what sort of play action speed turn Kap performed on this play. I’m not sure if that was by design or a mistake. After seeing it a few times, The very first video we ran a similar route combo, but in the opposite direction. It could be that Kap confused which side of the field we were going to. Hyde looks to be the primary but he’s blanketed early. Kap continues to roll and actually hits Hyde in the hands on the sideline pass, but it’s dropped.

The game’s pretty much out of hand at this point, but we keep gunning. It’s 3rd and 4, and the Falcons move to zone coverage. Kelly makes the right call and draws up a flood to beat the zone, you’ll see 3 players converge in the middle of the field to squeeze in the zone, and then 2 of them break out, the 3rd WR Burbridge stays put and is left wide open as the defenders follow the out routes. Kap navigates the middle line stunt by stepping up and delivers the ball where the WR can catch and run.

Our last 3rd down is a big let down. It’s 3rd and 10, we’re down a million. Why on earth is anyone running a 5-yard route? That’s my first gripe. My second gripe is Kap. There’s some pressure (John Theus gets beat bad), but hold the ball some. TE Garrett Celek is about to break in and he’s actually past the sticks, possibly he gets open. I do see the safety creeping down to combat the TE route, but he maybe we break out to the left and Celek bypasses the safety and we convert one on a scramble play. It just seemed like such a cop out.

Like I said earlier, this game was a blowout. We were already starting third and fourth stringers when the game started, we ended the game playing fifth and sixth string talent. I thought we were going to have to suit up coordinators. Hey, maybe we could call the league office and see if we can get some of our draft picks in advance, it’s slim pickings on this side. Go Niners!