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49ers just outside bottom five in ‘explosive’ offensive plays through Week 3

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The 49ers took a big step forward in Week 3. Now we see if they can build on it in Week 4.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers offense has had a lot more downs than ups at times this season. Carlos Hyde has had the most success, but the team had not been able to build much on that initially. In Week 3, we finally saw the offense really take a step forward. It was not enough to get a win, but it felt like a step in the right direction.

As the 49ers prepare to face the Arizona Cardinals this weekend, ESPN’s NFL Matchup program had an interesting tweet about explosive plays.

NN Twitter follower Geoffrey Keck gave me a heads-up about this, and NFL Matchup replied saying that the 49ers had 18 explosive plays through the first three games. That would put them just outside that bottom five. They describe an explosive play as a pass play of 15 or more yards, and a run play of 11 or more yards.

I did some searching through play-by-play logs to get a rundown of the 49ers explosive plays. I came up with this list below. It’s 17 plays, not 18. There were some 14-yard pass plays and 10-yard run plays, so it is possible there was some confusion there. But either way, the 49ers are just outside the bottom five. Here are all the explosive plays from each week.

Week 1 vs. Panthers

Carlos Hyde 12-yard run
Carlos Hyde 18-yard run
Pierre Garçon 21-yard reception
Pierre Garçon 22-yard reception

Week 2 @ Seahawks

Carlos Hyde 61-yard run
Carlos Hyde 27-yard run
Matt Breida 11-yard run

Week 3 vs. Rams

Carlos Hyde 20-yard run
Carlos Hyde 11-yard run
Pierre Garçon 30-yard reception
Trent Taylor 15-yard reception
Kyle Juszczyk 34-yard reception
Pierre Garçon 18-yard reception
Pierre Garçon 19-yard reception
Aldrick Robinson 17-yard reception
Marquise Goodwin 50-yard reception
Pierre Garçon 59-yard reception

The obvious point here is the number of explosive plays against the Rams compared to Weeks 1 and 2. The 49ers had seven explosive plays the first two weeks, and ten in Week 3. The first two weeks saw the 49ers facing strong defenses, so that is certainly worth noting. The Rams have a very solid defense, even with Aaron Donald working his way back into shape from his holdout.

The 49ers face a solid Arizona defense this Sunday before traveling to face an atrocious Indianapolis Colts defense in Week 5. We’ll see if the 49ers can build on their explosive plays from Week 3.