The San Francisco 49ers offensive line had played well through three games. That’s a combination of play-calling, help from the quarterback, and execution upfront. Jon Kinsley of Music City Miracles keeps track of pressures by game for offensive lines, and tweets out how they stack up to the rest of the NFL.
Week 3 was the worst game for the 49ers offensive line. They allowed ten pressures. That was tied for 16th that week. It wasn’t because of rookie Justin Skule. Mike McGlinchey struggled all game in ways that I’ve never seen him before. I’ll chalk it up to him just having an off game, even with allowing ten pressures in one week, that brings the 49ers total to 13 all season.
Using totals never tells the entire story. If a team is down big, and constantly dropping back the whole second half, they’re bound to surrender more pressures. If you break it down to percentages, the 49ers are being pressured on 16% of their dropbacks. That’s tied for second with Dallas, and only four percent behind the Patriots. It’s early, but that’s a good measuring stick. I’ll be interested to see how that figure changes over the next month when the offense faces a few talented defenses that like to come after you.
If you use PFF’s pass-blocking efficiency, which measures pressure allowed on a per-snap basis, the 49ers are fourth at 91.0. A healthy Weston Richburg helps. Laken Tomlinson isn’t flashy, but he hardly ever gets beaten in pass protection. PFF has Tomlinson first among all guards in their pass-blocking efficiency rating.
The scheme helps. Heavy-play action leads to leaving in extra blockers so you can “max protect” while the routes develop down the field. When the 49ers max protect, they can lean on Kyle Juszczyk and George Kittle as additional blockers. That’s a luxury that not many teams have. If the offense can protect Jimmy G these next two games against the Browns and the Rams, we all should feel confident moving forward. I’m already there because I know who the play-caller is.