- Mike Sando, NFL Insider
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49ers through the air: Week 16
The chart shows how the 49ers' passing game fared by personnel group during a 20-6 victory over the Lions in Week 16. Alex Smith's higher passer rating corresponds with more run-oriented personnel groups.
The 49ers had success through the air when the Lions had to worry about Frank Gore. That is pretty logical. The team could use more consistency from Smith and the passing game when opponents are not so worried about the run.
The first two personnel groups in the chart are heavily run-oriented. The last two are the ones San Francisco tends to use in passing situations.
The base offense, listed in the middle, should offer the best of both approaches. The passing game has generally struggled from this grouping, however. The stats benefited Sunday when Smith found Michael Crabtree for a 50-yard gain on a first-and-10 play. The Lions were definitely looking for the run on that play.