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Golden Nuggets: The 49ers Are The Best In Football’s Most Important Stat

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Thursday, October 17th, 2019 edition of the Golden Nuggets, a daily compilation of San Francisco 49ers links from the Internet

San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Well, this is my bye weekend. Looking at the schedule, this wasn’t by accident. I’m taking off to a bachelor party in San Diego tonight and will be back Sunday night. Please, I’m begging you, don’t kill each other.

According to 538, the 49ers are the best team in football. Not because they’re undefeated, but because they’re winning the net passing yards per pass play stat. This stat is where you outgain your opponent on passing yards minus sack yards lost per play.

has been well known in football circles since the 1960s, when it was introduced to the world by the late Bud Goode, a TV executive with a passion for math and statistics who shared his work with a number of teams and coaches. The statistic, along with turnover differential, is one of the most predictive of success in football.

By net passing yards per pass play alone, the San Francisco 49ers, not the New England Patriots, are the best team in football. After their 20-7 demolition of Jared Goff and the Rams on Sunday in Los Angeles, their performance, according to the metric, is at a level of excellence rarely seen in the NFL over a full season.

Behind Jimmy Garoppolo’s passing and a stout defense, the 49ers are 3.1 yards per pass play in the black, well ahead of the second-place Patriots and more than twice as dominant as 27 other teams. They held the Rams and Goff to 48 net passing yards on 28 pass plays, or 1.7 yards per pass play, while gaining 6.6 yards, for a difference of 4.9. The 49ers, by the way, lost the turnover battle 2-to-1.

The article charts net passing yards per pass play gained on offense and allowed on defense for all teams in the NFL through Week 6. The 49ers difference is 3.1. New England is second at 2.9. The next closest is Dallas at 2.3. Per the article, teams with a positive differential of at least 2.0 are 22-7. Teams with a negative differential of 1.0 or worse are 12-31-1. That’s a stark difference.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, only the 2001 Rams had a better differential than the Niners, though St. Louise, at the time, did it for a full season. Thee Rams also went 14-2 that season, and would eventually lose in the Super Bowl.

Now that there’s no point in playing the rest of the season, here are some links:

The 49ers Are Legit—and They Have Room to Get Even Better (Danny Kelly)

The 49ers and Seahawks are rivals again with Richard Sherman in new uni (Field Gulls)

Mike McGlinchey talks ‘tough deal’ of watching 49ers at home ... (KNBR)

49ers’ Kyle Shanahan Rips Redskins When Asked About Coaching in Washington (Bleacher Report)

Watch mic’d-up Breida pump up 49ers’ D in win over Rams (NBC Sports)

Rams’ Jalen Ramsey trade is good news for 49ers, Seahawks and Cardinals (Sporting News)