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Tuesday, October 1, 2013
49ers having trouble sustaining drives

By Bill Williamson

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- One of the biggest problems for the San Francisco 49ers in the first quarter of the season has been its inability to get into a rhythm on offense.

ESPN.com's Mike Sando came up with a telling statistic: The 49ers gave gone three-and-out on 43.1 percent of their offensive series. It’s the fourth highest percentage in the league.

Getting into an offensive rhythm was a big problem in San Francisco’s two losses to Seattle and Indianapolis. They scored a combined 10 points in the two games. Their offensive production improved in Week 4 during a 35-11 win at St. Louis. While they were able to run the ball well against the Rams, the offense still sputtered at times because of a lack of receiver depth.

But San Francisco's defense has forced three-and-outs 39.6 percent of the time -- tied with Dallas for the fifth most in the league. That is strong work and it is another indication that the 49ers' defense has not been the problem as they sit at 2-2.

The defense has sagged at times, but it has happened late in games because of the offensive issues. If San Francisco can start sustaining some drives, it should help both sides of the ball.