clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

49ers third down conversions allowed them to dominate time of possession

This was critical to getting the victory.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers edged out the Chicago Bears on the scoreboard in Week 13, but the stat sheet will show a certain level of domination by the 49ers. Although the final score was 15-14, the 49ers ran 73 plays to the Bears 36. The 49ers dominated time of possession, holding on to the ball 38:47 to the Bears TOP of 21:13.

The 49ers have struggled in time of possession this season. In fact, on Sunday, they surpassed their season high TOP with four minutes left in the third quarter. The big reason for that was their efficiency on third down. The 49ers were 10/18 on third down, and that allowed the offense to give the defense much needed rest. Jimmy Garoppolo was 10 of 14 for 10 yards on third down, with seven conversions. The 49ers converted four of seven attempts on third & long (6-9 yards to go), per Pro Football Focus.

We still saw a high passing total, with 37 passes on the day, but with 34 rushing attempts, there was solid enough balance. This came even as the 49ers were really not getting a lot out of the run game. The running backs had 102 yards on 30 carries, which is good for 3.4 yards per carry. They had some key runs, with Carlos Hyde and Matt Breida both getting some key conversions. However, the pass game was the efficient unit on Sunday, and allowed them to keep the defense off the field.

The 49ers defense gave up 102 passing yards and 62 rushing yards. Mitchell Trubisky averaged 6.8 yards per attempt (Jimmy Garoppolo averaged 7.9 per attempt), and their running backs had 43 yards on 15 carries. Trubisky was accurate, completing 12 of 15 passes. I am curious how the stat sheet would have looked if the 49ers had not have been quite so efficient in converting their third downs and keeping the Bears offense off the field.