Late-season trend sustainability: 49ers

June, 20, 2012
6/20/12
4:00
PM ET
The second of four posts examining the likelihood of a positive trend carrying over from last season, this one for the San Francisco 49ers.

The trend: Vernon Davis' late-season surge. Davis amassed 18 receptions for 244 yards over the final three regular-season games, his most productive three-game stretch of the season. Davis then caught 10 passes for 292 yards and four touchdowns in two playoff games. His yards per reception rose from 10.9 in the first half of the regular season to 12.6 in the second half and 29.2 in the postseason.

A few things to consider: As the playoffs approached, offensive coordinator Greg Roman said Davis' increased familiarity with the offense was making a big difference.

"He's played well all year, but he's just one step ahead of things now," Roman said as the 49ers prepared to face New Orleans in the divisional round. "It's not that he wasn't totally comfortable with it, but we'll do things new every week. We'll change some things up. Now, it's just, 'Bam.' Once you say it to him, he totally sees the big picture of what you're doing. I think not having an offseason probably affected that."

One knock on Davis earlier in his career was that he relied too heavily on his raw speed, at the expense of becoming a more polished route runner. But as coach Jim Harbaugh said last week, Davis has been all about the details this offseason. Having the same coaching staff and offensive system has helped after years of instability.

"If I’m matched up one-on-one, man-to-man, and I’m just running the route and running out of it because I know I’m fast, that is not being detailed," Davis said. "Being detailed is giving your guy a move at the top of your route. Don’t just run out of it and let him trail you. Give him a move so you can create more separation. And when you do that, it makes things a lot easier on the quarterback."

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