How many starters would you guess were listed as weak links? One? Two? We can eliminate Trent Williams, but the rest of the first-team comes with question marks. PFF actually has every starter other than Williams listed in red.
Jon Feliciano, who had a 93.3 run-blocking grade — ranking him first among all offensive linemen in Week 14 — doesn’t count since he hasn’t played enough snaps.
The problem with the offensive line is the pressure they’ve allowed. This play below is a prime example, and something that’s been a consistent theme this season:
Perhaps one of the strongest arguments you can make for Brock Purdy as an MVP candidate is his performance under pressure.
brock purdy's been under pressure on 39% of his dropbacks. that's 3% more than the next mvp candidate. he doesn't get anywhere near the credit he should for 1) avoiding sacks 2) extending/creating out of structure. he saves 2-4 possessions a game that either result in a 1st or TD— KP (@KP_Show) December 13, 2023
There are several occasions during a game when Purdy is pressured by the time he gets to the top of his drop. But there’s no panic. Instead, he calmly navigates the pocket and either scrambles for a first down or heaves it down the field for a big passing play.
George Kittle has been phenomenal as a blocker. Among players who have played at least 300 snaps, Kittle has the fewest blown blocks, per Sports Info Solutions. He’s helped stay in to block when necessary and been a big reason why the 49ers offense has had the luxury of throwing and hitting on plays down the field.
The problem is on the other side of the line. Colton McKivitz has the 15th most blown blocks of all linemen in the NFL. McKivitz has 30 blown blocks. The next closest lineman has 18 on the Niners.
Purdy was only under pressure for 32 percent of his dropbacks against Seattle, which was 11 percent lower than the first matchup. As we get closer to the playoffs, it’ll be interesting to see how aggressive teams are upfront, and they’ll elect to attack the 49ers offensive line, which is the clear “weak link” on the team.
There aren’t many stats out there that help gauge how an offensive line is playing. Adjusted line yards is as close as we have, as that measures how much an offensive line is responsible for on a carry. San Francisco ranks fourth.
But they’re also 21st in adjusted sack rate, which gives you an idea of how often, despite what the scoreboard or success of the offense, Purdy is under pressure.
As run blockers, Kittle is the only player in the NFL that hasn’t missed a block. McKivitz has missed the fewest among the linemen at four, while Jake Brendel has the most with eight.
From a percentage standpoint, McKivitz is 22nd overall, which is outstanding. Spencer Burford, Aaron Banks, and Trent Williams are all in a cluster with blown block rates of 1.7 and 1.8 percent, respectively. Anything under 2.2 percent is elite.
In pass protection, Banks has the best mark at 2 percent, while Williams is at 2.1 percent. Brendel and Burford are at 2.4 and 2.5 percent, which is below average. McKivitz’s number is alarming, and it meets the eye test — 4 percent, ranking 172nd out of 187 linemen.