Thursday, December 22, 2011
710ESPN Seattle audio: NFC West Week 16
By Mike Sando
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin knew exactly why the San Francisco 49ers had dominated his team so thoroughly Monday night.
"I think we need to acknowledge that was 49er football tonight," Tomlin said following the 49ers' 20-3 victory. "We played the game on their terms in a manner of which they play when they play winning football. They created turnovers, they got us with a few concept plays, they controlled the ball offensively."
This statement came to mind when Dave Grosby, Bob Stelton, Dave Wyman and I discussed the Seattle Seahawks' chances against the 49ers as part of our latest NFC West conversation on 710ESPN Seattle. I compared the 49ers to a casino that wins by stacking the odds in its favor incrementally. Opponents have a chance from play to play or game to game, but the the 49ers stack the odds in their favor over the long term. They do this most subtly through their dominance of field position.
The 49ers lead the NFL in average starting field position (own 33.6-yard line on average) and in opponents' average starting field position (average starting field position (23.7-yard line). Those yardage advantages translate to points.
That was the case when the 49ers defeated the Seahawks in Week 1. The 49ers began their drives at their own 38-yard line on average. The Seahawks' average drive starts were at their own 22.