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Breaking down the box score: Everything was clicking for the 49ers on Sunday

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Using EPA, success rate, and a few other stats that I charted to go as in-depth as it gets regarding the 49ers win over the Bengalsb

San Francisco 49ers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Last week, I threw a bunch of numbers at you. This week, I’ll cut out quite a bit of that, and only reference the team EPA and for quarterbacks, then recap how the San Francisco 49ers did by position group. That should come off a lot more digestible.

EPA compared to the rest of the league

As a refresher, here is “expected points addeddefined:

The value of any individual play can be calculated as Expected Points Added (EPA), the difference in EP before and after a given play. Having EPA as a currency allows all sorts of different play results and events to be compared apples-to-apples, taking into account the fluctuating value of yards and downs as the other changes. And this allows for really interesting analysis when applied on a holistic level. For example, EPA shows that a “staying ahead of the chains” run of 4 yards on first down is most often a negative play. The rare exceptions include plays at the outer end of field goal range.

Through two weeks, the 49ers are one of the best teams in the NFL:

Up and to the right is where you want to be. So, not the Dolphins.

Offensive Personnel Groupings

There were a total of 70 snaps for the 49ers offense on Sunday. Here are the personnel groups and the success rates for each.

11 personnel(1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WRs): 27 plays. 59% success rate.

12 personnel(1 RB, 2 TEs, 2 WRs) 6 plays. 50% success rate.

21 personnel(2 RBs, 1 TE, 2 WRs): 15 plays. 66% success rate.

22 personnel(2 RBs, 2 TEs, 1 WR) 16 plays. 62% success rate.

The 49ers used pre-snap motion on 58% of their snaps Week 1. That was a lot. This week they motioned on a whopping 71% of their plays before the snap. The constant movement had the Bengals defense all out of whack, and that led to big plays. You’d see the defense scrambling after the ball is snapped due to simple motion.

Last week, the 49ers ran out of 22 personnel six times, with an 83% success rate. It worked so well that Kyle Shanahan trotted that personnel out Week 2 an additional ten times. This is nothing new, but this further cements that the offense is better with Kyle Juszczyk on the field. His versatility makes the offense dangerous when Juice is on the field. Spreading out the defense when they’re in the base is how you get your star tight end on a linebacker that wouldn’t be on the field if you were in 11 personnel.

Speaking off 11 personnel, that number was at 23% last week. We’ll talk about Jimmy G’s accuracy in a bit, but the wide receivers were much better this week, too.

My box score

Here’s what I put together from the game. Going down the line, whether the 49ers offense or defense has the ball, the down, and distance, yard line, if the offense was in shotgun, personnel, and so on. P/A stands for play-action.

Untitled

Play # O/D D&D Yard line Shotgun Y/N O Personnel D Personnel Run/Pass Success Rate Blitz Y/N P/A Gain Motion Concept
Play # O/D D&D Yard line Shotgun Y/N O Personnel D Personnel Run/Pass Success Rate Blitz Y/N P/A Gain Motion Concept
1 D 1 & 10 CIN 12 No 11 Nickel Pass No No Yes -8 No
2 D 2nd & 18 Cin 4 Yes 11 Nickel Run No No No 0 Yes
3 D 3rd & 18 Cin 4 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No No No 8 No
4 O-COP 1st & 10 SF 49 No 21 Base Run Yes No No 6 Yes Power
5 O 2nd & 4 Cin 45 No 21 Nickel Run No No No 2 Yes Jet Sweep
6 O 3rd & 2 Cin 43 No 21 Base Run Yes No Yes 5 Yes
7 O 1st & 10 Cin 38 No 21 Base Pass Yes No Yes 38 Yes Leak-TD
8 D-COP 1st & 10 Cin 31 Yes 11 Nickel Pass Yes Yes No 47 No Creeper Blitz
9 D 1st & 10 SF 22 No 11 Nickel Run No No No 0 Yes
10 D 2nd & 10 SF 22 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No No No 3 Yes C6
11 D 3rd & 7 SF 19 Yes 11 Nickel Pass Yes No No 8 No
12 D 1st & 10 SF 11 No 12 Base Pass Yes No No 6 Yes
13 D 2nd & 5 SF 5 No 12 Base Run No No No 2 No
14 D 3rd & 2 SF 2 No 12 Base Run Yes No No 2 No
15 D 1st & 1 SF 1 No 12 5-1--5 Run No Yes No 0 No
16 D 2nd & 1 SF 1 No 12 5-1--5 Pass Yes Yes Yes 1 No
17 O-COP 1st & 10 SF 16 No 21 Base Pass No No No 0 Yes Hank
18 O 2nd & 10 SF 16 Yes 11 Nickel Run Yes No Yes 14 Yes Hank
19 O 1st & 10 SF 30 Yes 11 Nickel Run No Yes No 3 Yes
20 O 2nd & 7 SF 33 No 11 Nickel Pass No No Yes 1 Yes
21 O 3rd & 6 SF 34 Yes 11 Nickel Pass Yes No No 9 Yes
22 O 1st & 10 SF 43 No 11 Nickel Run Yes Yes No 12 Yes Split Zone
23 O 1st & 10 Cin 45 No 11 Nickel Run Yes No No 6 Yes Counter
24 O 1st & 10 Cin 39 No 11 Nickel Pass Yes Yes No 39 Yes Screen-TD
25 D-COP 1st & 10 Cin 25 No 11 Nickel Run No No No -2 Yes
26 D 2nd & 12 Cin 23 Yes 11 NIckel Pass No No No 0 No Roughing Passer
27 D 1st & 10 Cin 38 No 11 NIckel Run Yes No No 4 Yes
28 D 2nd & 6 Cin 42-No play Holding
29 D 2nd & 16 Cin 32 No 11 Nickel Run No No No -3 Yes
30 D 3rd & 19 Cin 29-No play False Start
31 D 3rd & 24 Cin 24 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No No No 7 No
32 O-COP 1st & 10 SF 25-Penalty
33 O 1st & 15 SF 20 No 11 Nickel Pass No No No 0 No
34 O 2nd & 15 SF 20-Penalty False Start
35 O 2nd & 20 SF 15 No 11 Nickel Pass No No No 0 No INT
36 D-COP 1st & 10 SF 26-Penalty Holding
37 D 1st & 20 SF 36 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No No No 5 Yes
38 D 2nd & 15 SF 31 No 11 Nickel Pass No No No 0 Yes
39 D 3rd & 15 SF 31 Yes 11 Personnel Pass No No No 0 No
40 O-COP 1st & 10 SF 42 No 21 Base Run Yes No No 4 Yes
41 O 2nd & 6 SF 46 No 21 Base Run Yes No No 5 Yes Same play as before
42 O 3rd & 1 SF 49 No 22 5-2--4 Run Yes Yes No 34 Yes
43 O 1st & 10 Cin 15 No 22 Base Pass Yes Yes Yes 9 No
44 O 2nd & 1 Cin 6 No 22 Base Run Yes No No 4 No
45 O 1st & 2 Cin 2 No 22 Base Run Yes No No 2 No Power-TD
46 D-COP 1st & 10-Penalty CIn 20 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No No No 0 No Delay of Game-Defense
47 D 1st & 5 Cin 25 No 11 Nickel Run No No No 2 No
48 D 2nd & 3 Cin 27 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No No No 34 No
49 D 1st & 10 SF 39 No 11 Nickel Pass No Yes Yes 0 Yes
50 D 2nd & 10 SF 39 No 11 Nickel Run No No No 1 No
51 D 3rd & 9 SF 38 Yes 11 Nickel Pass Yes No No 14 No
52 D 1st & 10 SF 24 No 11 Nickel Pass No No Yes 0 No
53 D 2nd & 10 SF 24 No 11 Nickel Run Yes No No 5 No
54 D 3rd & 5 SF 19 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No Yes No 0 No
55 O-COP 1st & 10 SF 25 Yes 11 Nickel Pass Yes No Yes 38 Yes
56 O 1st & 10 TB 37 No 21 Base Run No No No 1 No
57 O 2nd & 9 TB 36 No 21 Base Pass Yes No Yes 7 Yes
58 O 3rd & 2 Cin 29-Penalty Holding
59 O 3rd & 12 Cin 39 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No Yes No 0 Yes
60 D-COP 1st & 3 Cin 3 No 12 Base Run Yes No No 9 Yes
61 D 2nd & 1 Cin 12 No 12 Base Pass No No Yes 0 Yes
62 D 3rd & 1 Cin 12 No 11 Nickel Pass Yes No Yes 9 Yes
63 D 1st & 10 Cin 21 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No No Yes 0 Yes
64 D 2nd & 10 Cin 21 No 11 Nickel Run No No No -2 Yes
65 D 3rd & 12 Cin 19 Yes 11 Nickel Pass Yes No No 12 No
66 D 1st & 10 Cin 31 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No No No 0 No
67 D 2nd & 10 Cin 31 Yes 11 Nickel Pass Yes No No 10 No
68 D 1st & 10 Cin 41 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No No No 0 No
69 D 2nd & 10 Cin 41-Penalty Offsides
70 D 2nd & 5 Cin 46 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No Yes No 0 No INT
71 O-COP 1st & 10 SF 33 Yes 11 Nickel Pass Yes No No 11 No
72 O 1st & 10 SF 44 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No No No 0 Yes
73 O 2nd & 10 SF 44 Yes 11 Nickel Pass Yes No No 16 Yes Double Pass
74 O 1st & 10 Cin 40 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No No No 0 Yes
75 O 2nd & 10 Cin 40 No 11 Nickel Run Yes No No 5 Yes
76 O 3rd & 5 Cin 35 Yes 11 Nickel Pass Yes No No 7 Yes
77 O 1st & 10 Cin 28 Yes 11 Nickel Pass Yes No No 4 Yes
78 O 2nd & 6 Cin 24 Yes 11 Nickel Pass Yes No No 9 No
79 O 1st & 10 Cin 15 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No Yes No 0 No
80 O-COP 1st & 10 SF 25 No 21 Base Run Yes No Yes 39 No
81 O 1st & 10 Cin 36-Penalty Holding
82 O 1st & 14 Cin 40 No 11 Nickel Run Yes No No 15 Yes
83 O 1st & 10 Cin 25 No 22 Base Run Yes No No 9 Yes
84 O 2nd & 1 Cin 16 Yes 22 Base Pass Yes No No 13 No
85 O 1st & 3 Cin 3 No 22 Base Run No No No 1 No
86 O 2nd & 2 Cin 2 No 21 Base Pass Yes Yes Yes 2 Yes TD
87 D-COP 1st & 10 Cin 25 No 11 Nickel Pass Yes No No 6 Yes
88 D 2nd & 4 Cin 31 No 11 Nickel Run Yes No No 3 Yes
89 D 3rd & 1 Cin 34 No 11 Nickel Run Yes No No 3 Yes
90 D 1st & 10 Cin 37 No 11 Nickel Pass No No Yes -5 Yes
91 D 2nd & 15 Cin 32 No 11 Nickel Pass No No No 0 Yes
92 D 3rd & 15 Cin 32 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No No No -6 No
93 O-COP 1st & 10 SF 31 No 22 Base Run Yes No No 7 Yes
94 O 2nd & 3 SF 38 No 22 Base Run Yes No No 18 Yes
95 O 1st & 10 Cin 44 No 22 Base Run No No No 1 Yes
96 O 2nd & 9 Cin 43-Penalty Holding
97 O 2nd & 19 SF 47 Yes 11 Nickel Pass Yes No Yes 25 Yes
98 O 1st & 10 Cin 28 No 22 Base Run No Yes No -4 Yes
99 O 2nd & 14 Cin 32 Yes 11 Nickel Run Yes No No 12 Yes
100 O 3rd & 2 Cin 20 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No No No 0 Yes
101 D-COP 1st & 10 Cin 25 Yes 11 Nickel Pass Yes No No 8 No
102 D 2nd & 2 Cin 33 No 11 Nickel Pass No No No -1 No
103 D 3rd & 3 Cin 32 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No No No 0 No
104 O-COP 1st & 10 SF 18 No 22 Base Pass Yes No Yes 36 Yes
105 O 1st & 10 Cin 46 No 22 Base Run Yes No No 6 Yes
106 O 2nd & 4 Cin 40 No 22 Base Run Yes No No 7 Yes
107 O 1st & 10 Cin 33 No 21 Base Run Yes No No 20 Yes
108 O 1st & 10 Cin 13 No 21 Base Run Yes No No 9 Yes
109 O 2nd & 1 Cin 4 No 21 Base Run Yes No No 4 Yes TD
110 D-COP 1st & 10 Cin 10 No 11 Nickel Run No No No -2 Yes
111 D 2nd & 12 Cin 8 No 11 Nickel Pass Yes No Yes 7 Yes
112 D 3rd & 5 Cin 15 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No No No 0 No
113 O 1st & 10 SF 40 No 12 Base Run No No No 3 Yes
114 O 2nd & 7 SF 43 Yes 12 Base Run Yes No No 11 No
115 O 1st & 10 Cin 46 No 12 Base Run Yes No No 14 Yes
116 O 1st & 10 Cin 32 No 12 Base Run No No No 1 Yes
117 O 2nd & 9 Cin 31 No 12 Base Run Yes No No 6 Yes
118 O 3rd & 3 Cin 25 No 11 Nickel Run Yes Yes No 10 No
119 O 1st & 10 Cin 15 No 22 Base Run No No No -6 Yes
120 D 2nd & 10 SF 25 Yes 11 Nickel Pass Yes No No 8 No
120 O 2nd & 16 Cin 21 No 22 Base Run No No No 0 Yes
121 D 3rd & 2 SF 17 No 11 Nickel Run No Yes No 1 No
121 O 3rd & 16 Cin 21 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No No No 1 Yes
122 D 4th & 1 SF 16-Penalty Holding
122 D-COP 1st & 10 Cin 29 Yes 11 Nickel Pass Yes No No 7 No
123 D 2nd & 3 Cin 36 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No No No 0 No
123 D 4th & 11 SF 26 Yes 12 Nickel Pass No No No 0 No
124 D 3rd & 3 Cin 36 Yes 11 Nickel Pass Yes No No 21 Yes
124 O-COP 1st & 10 SF 26 No 21 Base Run No No No 3 Yes
125 D 1st & 10 SF 43 No 11 Nickel Pass No No Yes 3 No
125 O 2nd & 7 SF 29-Penalty Holding
126 D 2nd & 7 SF 40 No 11 Nickel Run No No No 0 No
126 O 2nd & 12 SF 24 No 12 Base Run No No No 3 No Yes
127 D 3rd & 7 SF 40 Yes 11 Nickel Pass Yes No No 15 No
127 O 3rd & 9 SF 27 Yes 11 NIckel Run No No No 6 Yes
128 D 1st & 10 SF 25 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No No No 0 No
128 D-COP 1st & 10 Cin 28 Yes 11 Nickel Pass Yes No No 4 No
129 D 2nd & 6 Cin 32 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No No No 2 No
130 D 3rd & 4 Cin 34 Yes 11 Nickel Pass No No No 0 No
131 D 4th & 4 Cin 34 Yes 11 Nickel Pass Yes No No 66 No TD

Sort through the tabs and dig in. Let’s talk about the offense and defense now.

Passing game

Here is how much the 49ers had their way with the Bengals defense. The only “failed reception,” or reception that wasn’t successful, was a screen to Deebo Samuel on 3rd & 16. That was on Jimmy Garoppolo’s last attempt in the fourth quarter. Saying that out loud doesn’t make much sense, but that puts this game into perspective. If the pass was complete, it was either for a first down or put the Niners ahead of the chains.

Garoppolo was accurate on 20 of his 25 passes. The other two he threw away. The game-plan was great, and he executed it. That’s all he needs to do, execute. I thought he did an excellent job of hanging in the pocket under pressure and keeping his eyes down the field. The interception was ugly, but thankfully, the defense bailed him out. Here is a look at Jimmy G’s completion percentage above expected, and EPA per play. He, too, is trending in the right directon.

The only pass that wasn’t completed to Deebo Samuel hit him in a bad spot, his hands. He and Jimmy G were on the same page, which is promising. On Monday, coach Shanahan said that the first route in the third quarter was the best route Deebo has run since he was a 49er. Here it is.

Samuel had a few routes were he created big-time separation. He is getting better and getting better in a hurry. Last week I complained that I’d like to see him use more tempo in his routes, the route above is a great example of that. Watch how Jimmy doesn’t flinch and delivers a strike with bodies around him. That’s what this team needs out of him.

Garoppolo and Richie James couldn’t seem to get in sync with each other, and that was due to a few different factors. I do like how Shanahan is using James. In the slot and on out-breaking routes. That seems to be the easiest way to get James open.

George Kittle? Still good.

We’ll miss you, Joe

Garoppolo was hardly under pressure during Week 2. That was due to a combination of scheme and good blocking upfront. Garoppolo dropped back to pass 27 times, and there were a combined five blown blocks all game. That’s really good, and had a lot to do with how well the offense executed, of course.

Staley’s holding penalty was site decorum. He didn’t do anything. Usually, players react, either on offense or defense when there is a penalty. Neither Staley or the defender he was blocking reacted, yet the zebras threw a flag.

The “plus blocks” column had plenty of action this week, and Staley led the way. He had a couple of blocks where let’s say, for example, he and his man start on the hashmark, and the defender ends up three yards to the right. He is very, very good on “down blocks,” where he blocks down on the defensive tackle. I knew the offense would miss Staley, but man, after Sunday I may have underrated how much they’ll miss him.

What made the offensive lines performance so impressive was that the Bengals knew the 49ers were going to run the ball late in the game. They’d load the box but still weren’t able to stop the run. If I had to rank each offensive linemen by performance Sunday, I’d go:

Staley

Tomlinson

Richburg

McGlinchey

Person

Person struggled with the Bengals quicker defensive tackles. McGlinchey was fine, but when he messes up, it looks pretty bad, usually with him on his back. Richburg seems healthy again, and he’s close to regaining his Pro Bowl form. I’ll be interested to see how Shanahan “hides” Justin Skule if he does indeed end up starting.

This is where Kittle and Juice shine. They are tremendous blockers, and I don’t want to understate that. They’re good, strong athletes. But it’s their effort that truly sets them apart. Kittle literally throws guys around:

The running backs were equally as impressive. Matt Breida forced three missed tackles. Raheem Mostert forced six, which is silly. Even Juice forced one on his lone rushing attempt. I thought they were all decisive, including Jeff Wilson. Instead of bouncing runs, and risking losing yards, each runner showed discipline and kept it north and south. It was a great outing for the 49ers ball carriers.

Ronnie was ridiculous

The Bengals offense had a success rate of 34%. That’s laughable, as that number includes garbage time. This was not a good matchup or time to be down starting offensive linemen. It wasn’t like Robert Saleh was bringing the house on every down. The 49ers only blitzed 10% of the time. It was a talent problem. The defensive line won their 1-on-1’s, the linebackers were fast and flowed, and the secondary locked it down for the large part of the game.

Whatever Ronald Blair had for breakfast Sunday, he should have that every game day. Anything over four wins is usually a good indicator that you played very well. That’s expected from Nick Bosa and DeForest Buckner. After two games, Arik Armstead should be lumped in that group as well. What I did not expect was Blair to show up the way he did. He wasn’t going against Andrew Whitworth, but good players beat up on bad players all of the time.

Because this doesn’t paint a picture for how well Kwon Alexander played, these are the plays he made...in the second quarter.

His reaction after each play is everything. It’s his hustle, and ability to secure tackles in space that’s the most significant difference at the position from a year ago.

As a run defender, K’Waun Alexander is excellent. He does a great job at slipping blocks and getting into the backfield to blow plays up. In coverage...

Witherspoon spectacular again

The defensive scheme has evolved to where Sherman has become a predominant zone corner playing off coverage, while Witherspoon is doing the heavy lifting on the other side playing press, and often has man-to-man responsibilities. Witherspoon has taken on the challenge and then some. Using FootballOutsiders data, Witherspoon has a 70% success rate in two weeks. That’s eighth-best in the NFL. He’s allowing 3.5 yards per pass, which is fifth-best. It’s still early, but Witherspoon is feasting in the current role he’s playing in. There have been some spectacular plays, that may not have netted a stat, but it’s the kind of play that makes your defensive coordinator feel comfortable with leaving you on an island. Check this play out:

Witherspoon is lined up to the bottom of the screen, and the 49ers are in Cover 3. One of the main Cover 3 beaters teams use is bringing a receiver across the field from the other side of the formation. Witherspoon recognizes the play and shuts it down.

Here are the coverage numbers from Sunday:

I’m torn on Williams. He is the ideal slot cornerback in terms of being physical and aggressive against the run. In coverage, he is replaceable. He gave up two “big plays,” which are plays over twenty yards, as well as a touchdown near the goal line.

This finishes the picture I was trying to paint for Kwon. Failed receptions are what we want. Let the offense catch the ball underneath, and the defense needs to make sure they’re able to tackle them, and that’s what the defense did.

Some of the angles Tarvarius Moore took need to improve. It caused him to miss some tackles.

Richard Sherman could have easily given up a touchdown on the same play Williams did. He fell for the play-action and was beaten pretty badly, but he wasn’t targeted. There were two plays where he was in press-man against the speedy John Ross and was able to run stride for stride with Ross. That was encouraging. Sherman had an 80 PFF grade, while Witherspoon had a 72. Witherspoon outplayed Sherm, and it wasn’t even close.

We are seeing the defensive line simply out talent opposing offensive lines after two weeks. We’ve also seen the linebackers fly around and make plays, while the secondary, for the most part, has kept the two offenses at bay. It’s been a promising start to the season.