November 7 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers have done an amazing job of sustaining drives this season. Keeping the ball moving, and the clock for that matter has played a big role in the teamís ability to deflate opponents and build to a 6-2 record half way through the season. This past Sunday the 49ers put on a display of 30 consecutive offensive plays in the fourth quarter and over time. This is something that is regarded as never happening before (no official stat is kept), and is a true testament to the production of the 49ers offense.
Part of the reason for the success is Jeff Garcia who is the most efficient quarterback in the NFL on third downs. Couple that with the hard rushing of Fred Beasley and all of a sudden the 49ers become the most efficient team in the NFL on third downs converting 54.8% of their third downs into first downs.
This season the 49ers have had 16 drives of ten plays or more. Six drives have added up to 6 minutes or more, and seven drives have gone for 75 yards or more. They have also had one scoring drive of 99 yards. This comes from a team, that a few years ago, could only score from short yardage situations, and had no chance of controlling the ball.
Against the Raiders the 49ers put together their most time consuming drive, going 8 minutes 49 seconds it was also the most consecutive plays in one drive for the 49ers this season, who had 17 offensive plays on the one drive.
The 49ers have found that they can sustain drives, and keep the opposing offenses off the field. Being able to do so was big part of their ability to defeat the Raiders, and will play a big role in future games.