Sharp Football Stats creates a statistic to track the percentage of explosive plays of each NFL team. This stat can be misleading as it doesn’t necessarily correlate to total offense or points scored. However, this stat correlates well to how exciting it is to turn on a game and watch the team. Offense is the reason we brought Kyle Shanahan in to run this team. He has a unique ability to scheme people wide open. Having lost Jimmy Garoppolo, Jet, Garcon, and others, how did he do in creating these explosive plays with his backups on the field?
Our run game was supposed to star Jerick McKinnon with the fear of Jimmy G tearing apart defenses on the play action. Instead, we were all given the opportunity to watch Beathard and Mullens handing the ball off to Matt Breida, Alfred Morris and Jeff Wilson. It would not have been a surprise to see us rank near the bottom of the NFL when looking back at our 2018 starters. However, our rushing offense had the 4th highest percentage of explosive plays (runs of ten yards or more). Shanahan found a way to create openings even without his starters. The real question is how explosive will our run game be when Mckinnon and Coleman are behind the line? Will motioning Hurd from WR to RB yield even more?
So if our run game was so explosive, what about our passing game? Were we anemic in this area? We didn’t have Jimmy G. We lost Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin, and Dante Pettis for parts of the season. The only active WR for the entire season was Kendrick Bourne. Fortunately, we did have Kittle to save us in this regard. But from the players we trotted out each Sunday I would not have been surprised to see us rank near the bottom of this stat as well. Yet, somehow Shanahan created the 3rd highest percentage of explosive plays (15 yards or more). This is an amazing job considering the talent at QB and WR. I am excited to see what he will be able to do with Deebo Samuel, Hurd, Tevin Coleman, and Mckinnon added to the list.
These stats lead to two conclusions most fans realized when watching the games last year. One, Kyle Shanahan is an amazing offensive mind who can create consistent mismatches no matter who he has to use as weapons. Two, our offense is able to move under the tutelage of Shanahan but our red zone numbers must improve. We have the explosion to get down the field, now we need to utilize that same explosion around the goal line. Hopefully the addition of Samuel, Hurd, and Coleman along with the return of our injured players can create enough mismatches to improve our red zone percentage.
On to the links....