Thanks to the number one rated defense, a mistake free offense, good special teams, and punter Andy Lee, the 49ers have won the field position battle in almost every game this year. Usually by a whopping margin.
This helps the team win games, but it deflates the offensive stats, making it seem less potent than it really is. A thirty yard drive for the opposition team results in a punt from the fifty yard line. A thirty yard drive by the 49ers results in a David Akers field goal.
It’s easier to gain yards on your own side of the fifty. Once your team enters opposition territory, the yards are much harder to come by. In a normal 49er game, the other team is going to gain 300 of its yards just getting to the fifty yard line (10 offensive possessions * 30 yards). QBs love these stat padding gimme yards.
The 49ers, on the other hand, routinely get the ball at or around the fifty. From this spot, a mere twenty yard drive is excellent and usually results in points acquired off the toe of Akers. But the 49er offensive yards stats are lower than the opponent. Quality yards vs pre-punt big deal Tony Romo yards.
Now, this treatise could just be a pile of horseshit, or it could help explain why the 49ers are 11-3 and possess a far better offense than people give them credit for. 330 yards from Ben Roethlisberger fetched 3 points. 187 well placed yards from Alex Smith reeled in 20. I rest my case, horseshit or not.
This is not to say the 49er offense is a juggernaut. Ho ho ho and a no no no. It would be better if Braylon Edwards was Braylon Edwards, and not some guy deactivated in favor of Brett Swain. It would be better if Alex Smith could figure out how to complete those long sideline passes instead of chucking them ten yards out of bounds. It would be better if the offensive line played as well on the road as it does at home. It would be better if Delanie Walker, Frank Gore, and Ted Ginn stopped dropping every other pass heaved their way.
But it’s tough to complain when your team is 11-3 and has just pancaked the Steelers on Monday Night football. This is one stellar flight’s distance from last year’s game 14, which was a 34-7 butt tromping by the San Diego Chargers that left the team with a 5-9 record. Which led to Troy Smith vs the Rams, which led to Get Out of Town, Mr. Mike Singletary.
Last year’s game 15 against the Rams was a must win game to sneak into the playoffs with a 7-9 record. This year’s game 15 against Seattle is a must win contest to achieve the number two seed in the playoffs and a first round bye. However this game turns out, one thing is for sure. We will not being saying Good Bye, Mr. Jim Harbaugh anytime soon. Coach of the Year. Nobody’s even close. Nooooooobody.