No Short Field? Still Need To Score
September 30 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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In the 1998-99 season I wrote an article with the same title. After the team revived its ability to drive the distance of the field, I felt I could ‘retire’ the concept. It seems however that heading into the 49ers fourth game of the season, I need to once again harp on the 49ers inability to put large drives together.
This is of particular concern considering that the 49ers have only had good field position off of tremendous defensive play. When they are forced into kick returns of hard punt returns, the special teams rarely does anything to help the offense. This of course, only emphasized the importance of being able to drive the field.
Truth of the matter is that the 49ers only success in putting long drives together come in the two minute drills, and thus don’t take up much time. To date, the 49ers final drive against the Redskins, is really there only one that has gone the distance… They took the knee rather than put the ball in the endzone, but the drive sucked the life out of the opposition which is what the 49ers need to do more of.
It’s not that the team needs to consume over ten minutes per drive, in fact I’d rather them not do that, as it would mean too many short offensive plays. Rather the team should be looking to hold on to the ball for about six minutes, driving the length of the field and putting points on the board.
To do this, the team needs to start hitting their receivers for first down receptions, and picking up ten yards at a time. The 49ers average yardage per offensive play is down quite a bit this season, and that is not encouraging. If they can put together a few longer drives together, coupled with their capitalization on good defensive play, they may be able to reach the next plateau.