Stats & Info: Ahmad Brooks

Biggest plays this season for 49ers

January, 25, 2013

John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports
NaVorro Bowman (53) celebrates after breaking up a pass to send the 49ers to the Super Bowl.

For the San Francisco 49ers, what plays were the most important in winning games on their way to the Super Bowl?

Here are the 10 plays that most improved their chances of winning through the regular season the playoffs.

Later today, we'll have the list for the Baltimore Ravens.

1. NFC Championship at Atlanta
4th and 4, 1:13 left in 4th Quarter
NaVorro Bowman breaks up pass intended for Roddy White

With the Atlanta Falcons driving for a potential go-ahead touchdown, the 49ers' defense makes the biggest play of their season to essentially lock up a trip to New Orleans. Bowman's pass breakup resulted in a turnover on downs.

49ers' win probablility pre-play: 65.9%; post-play: 97.4% (+31.5%)

2. Week 12 at New Orleans
2nd and 10, 0:31 left in 2nd Quarter
Ahmad Brooks intercepts Drew Brees and returns it for a touchdown

Ahmad Brooks
Already trailing by a touchdown with the New Orleans Saints nearing field-goal range to potentially take a two-score lead into the locker room for halftime, Brooks picks off Brees' pass intended for Jimmy Graham and goes 50 yards for a tying touchdown.

49ers' win probability pre-play: 18.4%; post-play: 47.0% (+28.6%)

3. Week 10 vs. St. Louis
Kickoff with 8:40 left in 4th Quarter
Darcel McBath recovers fumble on kickoff return

Just after the 49ers had cut a 17-7 deficit to 17-14, they forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. Tramaine Brock knocked the ball loose from the St. Louis Rams' return man, Isaiah Pead, and McBath picked it up and returned it to the Rams' 20. One play later, Frank Gore took it the rest of the way to give San Francisco a 21-17 lead in a game that would ultimately end in a tie.

49ers' win probability pre-play: 31.3%; post-play: 57.1% (+25.5%)

The rest of the 49ers' top 10:

Colin Kaepernick
4. Colin Kaepernick's 50-yard scramble with 2:28 left sets up a game-tying FG vs. the Rams in Week 13 (+23.8%).

5. Kaepernick's 56-yard TD run vs. the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Playoffs (+19.8%).

6. A 38-yard TD pass from Kaepernick to Michael Crabtree breaks a 31-31 tie at New England in Week 15 (+18.8).

7. Kaepernick's 49-yard pass to Crabtree swings the division-clincher vs the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17 (+17.1%).

8. C.J. Spillman recovers Marcus Thigpen's muffed punt in a Week 14 win over the Miami Dolphins (+17.0%).

9. Aldon Smith recovers Falcons' fumbled snap in the NFC Championship Game (+15.6%).

10. Donte Whitner returns an interception for a touchdown to give the 49ers the winning points against the Saints in Week 12 (+14.2%).

Giants must stop 49ers golden pass rush

January, 17, 2012
AP/ESPN Stats & Information
Roll over each icon to see why the 49ers dominate 3+ wide receiver formations.
Key matchups to watch for in the NFC Conference Championship will be Eli Manning’s ability to handle the 49ers’ ferocious four-man pass rush and the 49ers’ efforts containing the Giants' explosive receivers. So which team has the edge in this battle for a ticket to Super Bowl XLVI? Let’s take a closer look.

The pass rush
The San Francisco 49ers have a dynamic four-man pass rush and use it often. They sent four or fewer after the quarterback on 80.9 percent of snaps during the regular season, the second-highest rate in the NFL. They held opposing quarterbacks to the third-lowest QBR (49.9) and recorded 31 sacks (t-fourth in NFL) when dropping at least seven into coverage.

The 49ers tighten up even more when the opposing offense substitutes backs and tight ends for receivers. They posted 32 sacks (t-fourth in NFL) in formations that contained at least three wide receivers, with Aldon Smith (13.0), Justin Smith (5.5), Ahmad Brooks (4.0) and Ray McDonald (3.5) combining to record 81.3 percent of them. When sending four or fewer against such formations (83.8 percent of the time), San Francisco boasted the league’s second-lowest opposing QBR (32.8) and third-highest sack total (23).

Eli can hurt defenses with the deep ball
Eli Manning was a middle-of-the-pack quarterback this year when facing four or fewer pass rushers. His 64.4 QBR in such situations ranked only 16th among qualified passers, his 19.2 PAA (Points Above Average) ranked 14th, and his 67.1 PAR (Points Above Replacement) ranked 13th.

When Manning was under duress against minimal pass rushes his numbers became even more grim: 26.4 QBR (19th), -4.3 PAA (23rd) and 1.9 PAR (19th).

But given time to throw, Manning can hurt the 49ers, especially when throwing downfield. On throws of 15 yards or more when facing four or fewer pass rushers, Manning boasts a 97.0 QBR (11th), a 27.4 PAA (seventh), and a 39.2 PAR (seventh).

The numbers are even more gaudy when Manning goes deep with his three wide receivers on the field. With three wideouts on the field, Manning led the league in attempts of 15+ yards (96), completions (44), yards (1,234), and the second-most 30-plus yard completions (12).

Victor Cruz led all players in yards (1,064) in three wide receiver formations and was tied for the most 30-plus yard catches (8). NFC Divisional hero Hakeem Nicks recorded the eighth-most receiving yards (726) and five catches of at least 30 yards.

If the New York Giants are able to protect Manning and allow him to connect with his receivers, the 49ers will have a difficult time keeping up with this offense, but if Aldon Smith and company can get to Manning, the Giants could be in for a long day.