Last week, a lot of fans wanted to blame Kyle Shanahan for putting the offense in bad situations. I wonder how much of that is on the quarterback. By that, I mean before the play even starts, does Jimmy Garoppolo have the ability to change the play? Well, we didn’t need to find that out this week. Here is how well the offense played on Sunday. They ran 68 plays, and only nine of those were on third down. For reference, the Bengals ran 65 plays and had 18 first downs as well as two fourth-down attempts.
If you win on early downs, you don’t have to worry about converting third downs. That’s what the best offenses around the NFL do. Mike McGlinchey shared his thoughts on that:
“When you stay in front of the chains like we did today, Kyle gets to use his whole book, which is dangerous for everybody else in the NFL. We controlled the chains today, we controlled the ball, we controlled the line of scrimmage, and that’s all we want to do. We were able to stay in our base stuff and didn’t have to panic or anything like that, and that’s why we had a lot of success today is because we came out on first and second down and executed well and got the job done.”
Think about the plays we saw on Sunday. Reverses, throwback screens, the throwback touchdown to Marquise Goodwin, Shanahan put a lot on tape that defenses will now have to prepare for. The Bengals had no shot at stopping the 49ers offense.
“It’s not hard, but it’s just nerve-racking,” Garoppolo said. “Because you’re like, ‘If I miss this one, I’ll be on SportsCenter Not Top 10.’” That quote was in response to throwing to Goodwin, who didn’t have a defender that was within 13 yards of him, using NextGenStats.
Everyone’s job is easier when you are ahead of the chains. Here is more of Jimmy G on Shanahan’s play-calling:
“It makes my job very easy. His mind is incredible, just how he thinks. He’s two plays ahead while we’re running the current play and it makes everything so easy. And when he gets in a rhythm like that, it just puts everyone in a good position.”
I thought he dialed up some great calls last week, and the team didn’t execute. Whether that was because of a penalty, or a missed block, this week, the execution was about as good as it gets. Bengals CB William Jackson said the 49ers “used every trick in the book” and “he clearly plays some Madden.” If you can’t stop one trick play, a good play-caller is going to keep coming back to them. That’s what happened on Sunday. Also, let’s not act as 572 yards came off gimmick plays. The Bengals couldn’t stop the Niners when they ran it directly at them late in the fourth quarter.