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Breaking down NFC West quarterbacks

10/14/2010

The San Francisco 49ers keep losing despite putting up some impressive stats.

Their offense has converted 14 of its past 25 chances on third down over the past two games, while scoring touchdowns on all four red-zone possessions. The 49ers have scored touchdowns on their past seven red-zone possessions dating to the second half of their Week 2 game against New Orleans.

These types of stats provide the basis for coach Mike Singletary's almost weekly statements about how the 49ers are improving, getting closer, about to break through, etc.

As the first chart shows, the 49ers' red-zone success shows up in quarterback Alex Smith's stats for those plays beginning inside the opponents' 20-yard line. Those numbers caught my eye when looking through numbers from ESPN Stats & Information. They suggest the 49ers are in some ways functioning more efficiently than an 0-5 team might be expected to function. We could read this as evidence the 49ers' record will even out, and as more evidence that the coaching staff isn't getting the most from the available talent.

2010 NFC West QBs: Red zone (min. 10 attempts for ranking)

The second chart shows stats for NFC West quarterbacks on passes made from within the pocket. Check out Sam Bradford's weaker numbers on these throws.

2010 NFC West QBs: Inside the pocket (min. 50 attempts)

In the next chart, take a look at Bradford's numbers throwing from outside the pocket.

Bradford throws accurately on the move.

The St. Louis Rams have built in designed rollouts, as when Bradford found Laurent Robinson for a touchdown against Arizona on fourth-and-goal from the 1.

2010 NFC West QBs: Outside the pocket (min. 6 attempts)

The next chart shows how well NFC West quarterbacks have fared throwing from the shotgun formation. Quarterbacks can sometimes have a better feel for coverages working this far behind the line of scrimmage.

2010 NFC West QBs: Shotgun formation (minimum 30 attempts)

The next chart shows how NFC West quarterbacks have fared on play-action pass attempts. Matt Hasselbeck's stats in this category were probably going to improve anyway, but adding Marshawn Lynch to the Seattle Seahawks' backfield figures to help.

2010 NFC West QBs: Play-action passing (min. 10 attempts)

The final chart ranks teams by highest percentage of dropped passes. The Seahawks have dropped 10 passes in 125 chances, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The resulting percentage ranks second-highest in the NFL behind the 9.2 percentage for New England (the recently traded Randy Moss leads the NFL with five drops).

2010 Dropped Passes: Highest percentage