Killed On Third Downs
October 20 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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All week Iíve alluded to the 49ers third down misery, experienced on Monday night. But just how bad was it? Well, offensively the team wasnít terrible. 7-12 or 58% on third downs is actually pretty average numbers - though the 49ers who typically boast a strong offense should be better than that.
It was defensively, where the team gave up 10 of 15 third downs for conversions or a whopping 67% that was ultimately the disappointing aspect of an otherwise pretty solid defensive showing. The inability to stop the Seahawks on third down was due in large part to some big holes in the middle of the field that the 49ers will have hoped to seal before this weekend. It was also do to a rather minimal amount of pressure applied to the Seahawks quarterback.
The third down efficiency rating is a good way to analyze a defenses performance. The 49ers made a few key turnovers, which is what ultimately kept them in position to win this game, and in many cases in the lead. Still the team gave up 334 yards of total offense, 211 of which were through the air. The 49ers would like to see an improvement in this area to under 300 yards of total offense, and to achieve that, they will have to be better defensive on third downs.
In improving third down efficiency on both sides of the ball, it gives the offense more time to make plays, and of course helps the team win the time of possession battle. Keeping the 49ers hurt defense off the field will be central today against the Saints, and so improving in third down efficiency will be ever so important.