The 49ers became the first team in the history of the NFL to both run and pass for 300 yards in a single game during there 45-3 blowout win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Before we put this one in our rear view mirror let's take a look at a few plays that stood out.
- 1st Quarter 2:23 - 3rd and 24 - Although the 49ers don't pick up the first down on this completion to Michael Crabtree, this play is an interesting play design. This play is the same one they ran in their 4th quarter game clinching drive over Detroit. Crabtree (white circle) will run and underneath route. What is interesting about this play is that if you look at the picture on the bottom you will notice that the other 4 receivers in the play are only blockers. You can see the other receivers already breaking down to block while the ball is still in flight to Crabtree.This is a one man route, the ball goes to Crabtree or no one.
- 2nd Quarter 10:40 - 1st and 10 - This play results in a nice completion to Crabtree who picks up good yardage after the catch. On this play you have Manningham (white circle in top picture) running a smash route, and Crabtree (blue circle top picture) running a 10 yard dig route. As Smith is dropping back both inside defenders ( yellow and red circles) are taking off to cover the flat route by the running back and the smash route. As you can see in the bottom picture, Smith does a beautiful job of delivering this ball on time to Crabtree, he is beginning his motion in the bottom picture before Crabtree has completed his break or cleared the LB. By getting the ball to him on time in open space, Smith allows Crabtree the ability to get turned upfield and make a play, a key to WR YAC.
- On the very next play Smith beats the defense over the top for a touchdown to Kyle Williams. In the top picture you can see Smith changing the play at the line of scrimmage following motion from Delanie Walker. He will playfake and roll to his right, with a 2 man route consisting of Williams (white circle) on a vertical route and Vernon Davis (yellow circle) on a drag route. As Smith gets to the launch point in his roll the deep Saftey (red circle) begins to react to the drag by Davis who already has 2 other defenders closing on him. This leaves Williams 1-on-1 with the cornerback who is on top of Williams. Recognizing this, Smith does an excellent job of delivering the ball to Williams on a line, forcing him to stop and get the ball. A great job here by Smith to put his man in position to make a play, which Williams does by getting into the end zone.
- 2nd Quarter 1st and 10 on Buffalo 28 yard line following Bills turnover - This is one of my favorite Smith plays of the season. On this play Smith has Manningham running an out, while Crabtree goes upfield on a corner route. What really makes this play stand out is how Smith gets Crabtree open with his eyes. In the top picture Smith is making a quick look at Manningham, and as he does this you can see the cornerback (red circle) take a step towards Manningham. This allows Crabtree to get behind him and Smith lays the ball into Crabtree on the money for a dagger before halftime.
- 3rd Quarter - Smith does a good job of recognizing pre-snap that he has man coverage by the LB (yellow circle) on Vernon Davis (white circle). In the bottom picture you can see that Smith has already delivered the ball although Davis is still well covered by the linebacker. Last week I continually hammered on Smith for throwing the ball flat on his vertical throws. Not this week, and in this example he does an excellent job of putting the ball up high, and into a place were Davis can make a play on the ball, resulting in another big play for the offense.
- 1st Quarter 5:29 3rd & 12 - The big plays were not limited to the passing game on Sunday. This is the play that followed a Delanie Walker tripping penalty negating a Kendall Hunter first down run. The design and execution of this play is tremendous. On the snap of the ball all of the offensive motion looks as though this is a downhill run to the left, when in reality it is designed to hit on the right side. Center Jonathan Goodwin (red) take a small step to his left and then gets upfield to engage the ILB, Vernon Davis (yellow) also takes a small step to the left after motioning into the backfield and then is the lead blocker getting upfield to the Saftey, and Kyle Williams (blue) does a nice job of releasing from his tight set to get to the LB at the second level and seal him off. Hunter (white) starts to the left and bends it back to the playside on the right. In the bottom picture you can see all of the blocks engaged and and Hunter is running through a HUGE hole on his was to a key first down pickup. No wonder this team is pounding out runs at a clip of 6+ yards!
- I want to leave you with one last play from the 1st Quarter. This is the long pass completion to Vernon Davis (white) that was called back due to a penalty on the offense. I picked this play out not for Davis but to illustrate the big yellow circle. That is D Lineman Will Tukuafu running open on a flat route. The big fella is wide open, and don't think that he hasn't made sure that Alex and all of the offensive coaches know it!