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49ers beware: Schaub can be a crafty one

10/24/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Eagles' Donovan McNabb averages a league-high 17 yards per attempt on play-action passes this season. The Rams' Marc Bulger, running the same offensive scheme without the same personnel, averages 5.2 yards per attempt.

Hank Gargiulo of ESPN Stats & Information passed along a spreadsheet listing NFL quarterback stats in play-action situations. I noticed the disparate numbers for McNabb and Bulger before noticing something else: 49ers opponent Matt Schaub has put up excellent numbers after faking the handoff. I then asked Hank how the 49ers' defense has fared against play-action passes this season.

The answer appears in the chart below. So, when you're watching the 49ers and Texans on Sunday, keep an eye on that aspect of the game. The Texans' zone blocking scheme lends itself to selling the run up front. And when Schaub plays along by faking the handoff, opponents can be fooled.

No peeking in the backfield, Nate Clements.