The San Francisco 49ers have a lot of issues right now, but there are some positives to take away from what is looking like a potential lost season. Most notably, the offensive line is starting to come together. There are still mistakes to clean up, but it’s hard not to like where this unit is headed.
Pro Football Focus released their weekly offensive line rankings heading into Week 6, and they rank the 49ers No. 5 overall. PFF focused on Mike McGlinchey in this week’s comments, which makes sense. He has allowed only three hurries the past two weeks, and is the top ranked run-blocking tackle in the league (total, not just rookies). He’s on pace to earn a spot on the NFL’s all-rookie team, and is putting together a strong season regardless of rookie status.
McGlinchey aside, the line as a whole has been doing strong work in run blocking, and is improving in pass blocking. ESPN’s NFL matchup offered up this stat, showing teams ranked based on how many rushing yards they accumulate before first contact with the defense. The 49ers rank fourth in total yards and sixth in yards per rush before first contact.
If your team is on this graphic, they are RUN BLOCKING at a high level.#DallasCowboys #BroncosCountry #Jets #GoNiners #KeepPounding #LARams #DUUUVAL #GoBucs #Skol #GiantsPride pic.twitter.com/KMmkIYo1if— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFLMatchup) October 10, 2018
Pro Football Focus offered another take on it, specific to Matt Breida. According to PFF, Breida has gained 93.8 percent of his 369 rushing yards on carries he’s been first contacted 2+ yards beyond the LOS. That’s not to entirely take away from what Breida has done. Per ESPN’s NFL Matchup, he ranks ninth in the league in yards per carry after first contact. That would suggest Breida is playing behind a strong run-blocking offensive line, but he is also proving elusive in the open field.
The pass blocking had its share of issues earlier in the season, but the unit seems to be coming together the past couple weeks. Pro Football Focus ranks the 49ers offensive line No. 23 in pass blocking efficiency. However, if we narrow that to Weeks 3-5, they rank No. 10 overall.
The 49ers have a lot of work to do with Jimmy Garoppolo sidelined, but it is a plus seeing the offensive line starting to gel. It won’t fix all of the woes the 49ers currently face, but it’s a silver lining in an ugly season.
If you’re looking for a fun afternoon distraction, click on this tweet to see a thread of fun blocking from Laken Tomlinson and George Kittle.