Closer look at the 49ers' offensive personnel

September, 14, 2009
9/14/09
5:55
PM ET
49ers Personnel Group in Week 1 Snaps Pct. Yards Per Carry Yards Per Pass Attempt
2RB-2WR-1TE
16 26.2 0.2 3.1
2RB-1WR-2TE 15 24.6 2.1 1.8
1RB-2WR-2TE 15 24.6 0.3 4.9
1RB-3WR-1TE 15 24.6 -1.0 14.3
Totals 61 100.0 0.8 6.5
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

PHOENIX -- Frank Gore finished the 49ers' regular-season opener with a horrendous stat line: 22 carries for 30 yards, 1. 4 yards per carry.

Was he really that ineffective?

Yes and no. A few things stood out when I broke down the 49ers' personnel use across situations:
  • Gore gained at least 3 yards on six of his 10 first-down carries. Those carries included a 6-yard touchdown run. Not great, but good enough for a 2.6-yard average.
  • Gore carried nine times for 6 yards -- .67 yards per attempt -- on second down. That was only part of the story.
  • The 49ers ran the ball seven times in nine second-down snaps when they needed fewer than 10 yards for a first down (the two pass plays produced an incompletion and 14-yard sack).
  • The 49ers passed nine times in 11 second-down snaps when they needed 10 or more yards for a first down.
  • The 49ers converted all five third-down plays when they needed between 3 and 5 yards for a first down. They converted only twice in 11 third-down plays when they needed more than 5 yards for a first down, taking three sacks and losing a fumble on those plays. Better production on second down is critical for the 49ers to sustain drives.
  • The 49ers never used four wide receivers at a time. The chart shows their use of four primary personnel groups. The lone three-receiver group was what the 49ers used frequently on third down. I suspect they would be using more three-receiver personnel groupings if Michael Crabtree and Brandon Jones were available.

I have made available for download a full 49ers offensive personnel report (also here if you have any trouble downloading from the other link). One sheet shows each play. Another sheet shows summary information across personnel groups.

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