We used a 3-3-5 (3DL, 3LBs, 5DBs) on 3rd and longs in an attempt to confuse and deceive:
The above formation had Jonathan Allen (R.I.P.) at linebacker depth. He’s going to vacate his zone and rush the QB:
The RB runs to where Allen left and gets an easy catch. Meanwhile, we tasked Kerrigan to play zone coverage; he takes off to cover a spot on the field without even checking to see where the RB is going.
So that’s a pass rusher playing zone coverage and a defensive lineman lined up as a linebacker, and for what? If anything we just helped a rookie QB make an easy throw on 3rd and 8.
We have done this 3-3-5 look almost every week going back to the Joe Barry days. Preston Smith is usually the deceiver–lined up at middle linebacker instead of being at defensive end–and it usually fails. Please shelve this.
In exotic formations that did work:
That’s Ioaniddis and Jonathan Allen lined up over the Right Guard. Ion bull rushes the guard, while Allen gets a push on him with his free hand: that’s 1 and 1/2 men vs 1 and it sends the guard backpedaling into the QB’s lap:
It’s a formation that confuses the blocking scheme and doesn’t ask guys to play out of position. We ran that same concept again, this time with Allen (circled) slanting into the right guard, freeing up Ioannidis to get another sack:
(Brown sees the same route that Garcon got an offensive Pass Interference on late in the game–the one he posted to his Instagram–notice how Brown avoids Garcon on this play.)
The Allen-Ioannidis combo will be missed.
Substitution Notes: Moreau and Dunbar split snaps opposite Breeland, with Dunbar getting the clear majority. After Breeland went out, it was Moreau and Dunbar on the outside. After Moreau went out, Holsey took over at slot and Fuller bumped outside. Good grief.
At safety, DJ is the only safety asked to play in the box against the run AND in man-coverage. Nicholson is strictly at deep safety. Usually we ask both safeties to play all styles (in the box, man-to-man, and deep) but it appears other than DJ, no safety is coached up on the linebacker and corner reads needed to play every style.
The Niners tried to make due with the fact they had no passing game by playing formations with multiple tight ends, hoping to gain angles and leverage in the run game. Our front 8 responded with stunts and linebackers knifed through the zone blocks.
We ended up ceding 3 points which turned into 7 after a penalty by Swearinger (who swung at Garcon for celebrating a hit that did this to Nicholson.)
Pressure was sacrificed for coverage as we asked our defensive ends to jam receivers at the line before they rushed the quarterback. Starting quarterback Brian Hoyer was forced to hold onto the ball and make throws into tight coverage. After two missed throws to ‘out’ routes run to the far hash, Shannahan yanked him and put in the rookie CJ Beathard.
After fixing the QB issue, the next issue was how to replace their injured fullback. First they tried with a TE:
But that didn’t work so they went with 2 running backs in the backfield yielding mixed results.
In the second half they successfully targeted their runs at Breeland, but were not able to score a touchdown until Vernon Davis fumbled and gave them the ball at the one yard line.
Working against the clock, San Francisco had to ditch the run and start throwing. After Breeland went out with an injury they marched down the field by targeting Moreau and Nicholson.
The last drive saw Moreau leave the game with an injury and our secondary was barely recognizable with rookies at two spots and slot CB Kendall Fuller playing outside. Zach Brown bailed us out by drawing an offensive pass interference call that put the 49ers in a hole they couldn’t dig out of.
|Ioannidis||5||0||5: pay the man?|
Allen and Ioannidis’ pass rush combo were discussed above.
Stacy McGee turned in his best performance yet. He usually lines up against tackles and tight ends, kept away from shorter guards and centers that are more apt to win the low-man leverage battles.
He was able to reset the backside edge when Kerrigan went too far up field and left a gaping hole behind him. On this counter-run, he was able to stand up the center, shed and hold the RB until #91 could recover:
When they ran away from him, he was able to slant and get under the tackle:
Level of competition was low but these are difficult tasks–set the edge and chase down runs away from you–when you’re a 341 pound big man, regardless of opponent.
[After the JUMP: Linebackers, DBs, the 45 Yard TD and predictions]