Paradox- 11/17/2000
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Sports fans are amazing. They really are. One week a team can score 24 points, lose and every fan will say the offense needs to be more productive. Two weeks later, the team can score three less points win, and the results will be nothing but praise for the team. Of course, the team we are talking about is the 49ers, and the comparison of the offense from the Rams game to last weeks performance against the Chiefs.

The question is obvious. What is the magic number of points? Does the offensive productivity really matter, or is it just the wins and losses? According to the reaction of the fans, points don't matter and wins do. However there are those of us, like myself who see the paradox in this equation. We need something to bank on. Something to say that, even though the team may not be scoring four touchdowns a game - even with a great wide receiver tandem, an incredible running back, and quarterback whose rating has not dropped below fifth in the league all season, the 49ers offense is still one of the greatest in the NFL.

The following stats should make opposing defensive coordinators shiver in fright and may even ease the paranoia of some fans. The 49ers are third in the league averaging 6.1 plays per drive. This number is beat only by St. Louis and Indianapolis. The team averages 2:52 minutes per drive. That too is third in the league. The team ranks second in scoring per drive. They convert 41% of drives for points. This is up from 1998 by 5%. Of that 41%, a whopping 76% of the drives result in touchdowns. Lastly, even with the past three weeks performances the team is third in the league in games per point with 29.2.

These numbers are evident of a strong offense. The team is averaging 6.8 yards on third down, effectively converting when they have too. Only 10% of their drives have ended due to turnovers, and that is 5% lower than the league average. About the only stat that is even close to the NFL average, is that 41% of the drives result in punts. This is only 3% lower than the league average.

Ok, enough stats. Here's the analysis. Anyone that believes the 49ers offense is not doing its job, not scoring enough, or simply is not what it once was, is way off the mark. The team's offensive statistics are the best of the past three, if not more seasons. Clearly, the offense is doing its job. Marty Morhinweg is doing an excellent job calling the plays, and Jeff Garcia is running the offense to a tee. The redzone offense is rated the best in the league, scoring points with efficiency unparalleled in the NFL today.

Fans don't really have reason to complain. The 15 points two weeks ago was an oddity, and after a highly efficient game last week 49ers fans should not be worried about the teams inability to perform. It is no wonder this team keeps filling up the stadium even with a losing record. Fans want to worry about the offense. They want to know why the team can't always outscore the opponent. The answer is simple: the team gets too comfortable with a lead, and does not always rack up the points, they chose instead to control the clock when in the lead. As a result, teams come back from being behind, and the 49ers canít always come all the way back. This offensive philosophy needs to be adjusted. The productivity of the team on the other should not be cause for concern.

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