FanPost

Deeper Dive on O-Line Pass Protection Performance

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Pat's note: I'm a data-driven guy and this has things in spades. I do think the offensive line has done better as a unit, but these numbers give you a lot of good things to think about. Plus I can appreciate the time it took to get this data.

This is a deeper dive looking at the offensive line’s pass protection performance following my previous post "Ok, but What about the Offensive Line? (A Study)." In my previous post, I concluded that their performance was terrible and they showed no improvement throughout the 2018 season. However, this conclusion was based on the assumption that quarterback sacks and quarterback hits were primarily the result of poor pass protection by the offensive line. The purpose of this follow up post is to challenge this assumption.

Ideally, I would have reviewed all footage of the 2018 season so I could assess all 125 times the quarterback was hit, but I don’t have that kind of time. Instead, I reviewed the video of 42 of the 48 sacks in 2018, as shown in the table below. I managed this because almost all the sacks were easily accessible in highlight videos. This assessment assumes that the sample (42 sacks reviewed) is reasonably representative of the circumstances of the population (125 quarterback hits).

Sacks in 2018

Blame

Sack

Team

QB

RB/TE

OL

Cov.

OB

Time

Comments

1

Vikings

X

Q1 3:28

RG (68) bull rushed; did not even slow the DL down

2

Vikings

X

Q2 3:36

QB should have checked down; he stared down his primary target while his secondary target was open

3

Vikings

X

Q4 6:32

More blitzers than blockers; scheme should have had a quick route

4

Lions

X

Q1 8:25

QB held it way too long

5

Lions

X

Q1 7:41

DT beat C/LG double team and put up arm to stop the throw; allowing LDE to sack

6

Lions

X

Q2 5:38

QB held it too long; had check downs open

7

Lions

X

Q2 1:26

QB held it too long; primary was covered, but never checked down

8

Lions

X

Q4 7:54

Coverage sack

9

Lions

X

Q4 1:56

TE (85) bull rushed

10

Chiefs

X

Q1 6:31

LT (74) outside speed rush

11

Chiefs

No video

12

Chiefs

No video

13

Chiefs

X

Q4 6:40

RT outside speed rush

14

Charg.

X

Q3 14:18

RT (62) outside speed rush

15

Cards

X

Q1 5:58

QB held too long; guys were open

16

Cards

X

Q3 8:48

LT (74) outside speed rush; forced QB to fumble

17

Cards

X

Q4 4:37

C/RG double teamed DT, but RG let LB go; Bad blitz pick up; forced QB fumble

18

Cards

X

Q4 4:09

LG had to block two LBs

19

Pack

X

Q2 0:59

RT (69) miscommunication; bad blitz pickup; didn’t block his guy

20

Pack

X

Q4 4:36

QB had plenty of time

21

Rams

X

Q1 10:05

C (58) bull rushed; QB fumbles

22

Rams

X

Q1 3:29

RB (44) missed blitzing LB

23

Rams

X

Q2 13:38

C/LG double team DT, but still get pushed back into the QB

24

Rams

X

Q3 14:57

Coverage sack

25

Rams

X

Q3 3:24

RB (44) bull rushed into QB

26

Rams

X

Q4 13:42

LG (75) and RT (69) both beat

27

Rams

X

Q4 9:51

C (58) bull rushed into QB by Donald; QB pumped ball; maybe WR was covered

28

Cards

X

Q1 13:30

LT (74) bull rushed

29

Cards

X

Q1 6:02

QB held ball too long; guys were open

30

Cards

X

Q1 2:36

QB held ball too long; guys were open

31

Cards

X

Q4 2:35

CB blitz

32

Bucs

X

Q1 13:08

QB held ball too long; guys were open

33

Bucs

X

Q2 1:58

Overload blitz

34

Bucs

Q3 11:43

Goal line QB sneak up middle; run for a loss

35

Bucs

X

Q4 13:31

LT (74) bull rushed

36

Hawks

X

Q1 11:20

LG (75) misread the blitz and didn’t block his man

37

Hawks

Q1 1:15

Bad snap; QB had to drop on it; C (58) fault, but not pass blocking issue

38

Hawks

X

Q3 3:28

QB held ball too long; guys were open

39

Broncos

X

Q2 13:33

PA Pass; RG (68) to pull and pass block the RDE; hard block to make

40

Broncos

X

Q2 1:57

RT (69) outside speed rush

41

Broncos

X

Q3 11:38

RDE delay stunt inside; LG (75) didn’t pick him up

42

Hawks

X

Q4 2:04

LG (75) beat by swim move

43

Hawks

X

Q4 1:52

DTs did a crossing stunt; LG (75) didn’t pick up his guy

44

Hawks

No video

45

Bears

X

Q3 2:50

RG (69) did not pick up blitzing LB

46

Rams

No video

47

Rams

No video

48

Rams

No video

See the pie charts below for the breakdown. Or keep reading for the details.

42/48 sacks reviewed because I could not find video of 6 of the sacks

22/42 not the result of bad OL pass protection

  • The sacks that were not due to bad OL pass protection resulted from the QB not passing when guys were open, the QB not passing because no one was open, the RB or TE missing their block, or the defense sending more defenders than the offensive had blockers. Also, sacks were called on a failed QB sneak and a bad snap that went over the QB’s head.

  • QB held it too long: 9

  • No one open: 4

  • Overload blitz: 4

  • RB/TE missed block: 3

  • Failed QB sneak

  • Bad snap

20/42 the fault of bad OL pass protection

14/20 OL beat physically (blocked the right guy, but got beat)

  • LT (74): 4; not surprising given the RDE is usually the best pass rusher on the D

  • LG (75): 4, two of these were when the C/LG double teamed the DT and still got beat

  • C (58): 3, two of these were when the C/LG double teamed the DT and still got beat

  • RG (68): 2, but one of these was a really hard block (PA pass; had to pull and pass block the rushing opposite side DE)

  • RT (69): 4; not too bad for a rookie

6/20 OL beat mentally (blocked wrong guy due to misreading or not recognizing a blitz or stunt)

  • LT (74): 0; not surprising

  • LG (75): 3; twice the DE did a stunt to the inside and the LG did not slide off his man to pick him up

  • C (58): 0

  • RG (68): 1; helped the C instead of picking up the blitzing LB

  • RT (69): 2; not too bad for a rookie


Keeping the same offensive line, sacks in 2019 can be significantly reduced by:

  • QB getting rid of the ball; too often the QB stared down his primary (who was covered) while his check downs were open; QB needs to feel the pressure and react

  • Scheme an "outlet receiver" who runs a short route so the QB can dump it off if no one is open down field or if there is an overload blitz

  • QB throws it away if everyone is covered and there is nowhere to scramble

  • Run more screens and draws to slow down the pass rush

  • Second year improvement of RT (69)

  • And, of course, we will have so many offensive weapons that the defensive will be on their heels trying to figure out where the ball is headed



This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.