49ers news: A “perfect storm” is brewing for the Niners to rediscover their offensive identity
As the 49ers prepare to take on the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night, a storm is coming to Santa Clara both literally and metaphorically. With the weather forecast predicting a more than 90% chance of rain between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m., throwing the soccer ball could be a challenge, which could ultimately work in favor of the 49ers throughout this game.
Running the ball has always been the basis of Kyle Shanahan’s attacking plan, and for several reasons the 49ers haven’t had the success we’ve grown used to in ground play so far in the 2021 season. The 49ers currently rank 14th in the league with 4.3 yards per carry, a number that has improved in recent weeks after going under four yards per carry.
In a game that should be a muddy mess that will likely end up being a slugfest in the trenches, the 49ers have the perfect opportunity to get back to their roots. It’s as easy as playing 60 minutes of relentless football powered by a level of physics and football dominance that we haven’t seen for a full 60 minutes so far this season.
The reduced depth at the running back position has played a major role in the lack of an explosive ground attack so far. The 49ers offensive line is currently ranked 5th overall as a race blocking unit (by PFF), while running backs occupy 21st place in the ground race. There have been plenty of times the holes have been there to go through, but plays just aren’t executed in all areas in a way that would increase efficiency on the pitch.
It probably has a lot to do with a lack of experience in the position and within the program, as the 49ers have been forced to give significant litters to several rookies as well as a few players who have started the season outside of the organization of the 49ers on another team practice team. However, things could get better this week, as Elijah Mitchell is still a week away from a shoulder injury, and JaMycal Hasty’s potential return from Injured Reserve could give the offense a blow. inch much needed.
At first glance, the Colts’ defense looks solid, as they currently rank 11th in the NFL in points allowed and 20th in yards allowed. Additionally, Indianapolis currently ranks 11th in yards per rushing allowed, which would normally indicate strong ground defense, but if you dive deep into the numbers, overall that reveals a unit ready to be attacked by an attacker. potentially explosive attack, which we know the 49ers are capable of if they shoot all cylinders.
Across six games here, the Colts rank:
Defensive DVOA: 23rd
Yards per trip: 27th
Points per trip: 26th
Drive success rate: 28th
3rd conversion rate down: 14th
Red zone conversion rate: 23rd
These numbers suggest that this Colts defense could provide the perfect opportunity for Shanahan and this offense to get into some sort of offensive rhythm and provide a spark coming out of the off week that gives the 49ers a solid starting point as ‘they’re trying to make a run for a playoff berth down the home stretch this season.
Despite their 2-3 record, the 49ers still rank in the top 10 in overall DVOA, and the metrics advanced also corroborate what I’ve seen with my own eyes. The 49ers are a GOOD team. They just need to put everything in place and stay out of their own way by reducing the glaring number of self-inflicted mistakes they’ve had to start this season.
What better way to get things done than a vintage victory over the backs of their racing game and defense, winning a war of attrition over the course of 60 minutes under a torrential downpour at Levi’s Stadium. It’s the kind of victory statement that lets opposing teams know ‘We’re here’, and a assertive performance like that could be exactly what the 49ers need to build momentum as this team does. a run for a playoff spot on the home stretch this season.