October 22 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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This week in Inside the Playbook we look at a pass pattern that the 49ers ran twice unsuccessfully in their loss to the New Orleans Saints. The pattern I speak of is known as a seam pass, and it was used twice on the 49ers final drive. The passes were both thrown down the middle of the field to Terrell Owens.
A seam pattern is also known as a Ďgoí where a receiver will simply take off on a strait path from the line of scrimmage. The quarterbacks job is to get him the ball in stride, and usually, out in front of the receiver. Itís a low percentage pass play, but when successful nets big gains.
As mentioned, the 49ers ran this play twice unsuccessfully to Terrell Owens in the final minutes of Sundayís game. The 49ers donít typically run this pattern, but needing big chunks of yardage they were left with no choice. Terrell Owens, who is arguably the fastest player on the team, is the perfect target because of his awesome combination of size and speed.
In both cases, Garciaís passes were not where they should have been. The first pass was better than the second, but the idea behind this pass pattern is not to hit the receiver in stride but rather to have the receiver run under the ball. It is this idea of running under the ball, that gets the receiver the necessary separation from the defensive backs (he should have both the safety and corner behind him long before the ball arrives).
The 49ers offense is typically based on a high percentage passes, and this is certainly not one such pass. It is a remarkably hard ball to throw because of the timing, range and accuracy needed on the pass. It also involves the receiver having to run by two defensive backs, which is certainly not an easy task.
Donít expect the seam pass to become a popular part of the 49ers offense. In fact, donít expect to see much of the play all together. Itís a pattern the 49ers typically run when they need big chunks of yardage and are coming from behind. The team tries to avoid being in either of those positions, always.