November 9 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers offensive system is designed around picking up big gains after making a catch. Breaking tackles and taking a short pass through a defense is at the heart of the West Coast Offense. This season, the 49ers are making a living gaining yards after initial contract.
The 49ers have gained 1202 yards after initial contact this season. At 46.7% of the offensive yards, nearly half of the teamís total offensive production has come after the initial contact. The production after the catch has been paramount in the 49ers winning this season. In the teams two losses they have averaged just 37.7% of their offense after initial contract, a considerable drop off.
Three players that make a big difference in this area of football for the 49ers are Garrison Hearst, Terrell Owens and Kevan Barlow, each contributing their own specialty to the mix.
Hearst has gained a team leading 61% of his yards gained after initial contact. His patience lets players get close to him at the line of scrimmage, and then, he breaks loose.
The receiving core has gained 49% of the teams offensive yards after initial contact, but itís Owens that is making the difference. Owens has more yards after the catch than any player on the team.
Finally Kevan Barlow leads the team in average gain after initial contact. When Barlow runs through tackles heís nearly impossible to bring down.
YAC yards are instrumental to the 49ers ability to perform on offense this year. If these three players can continue on this pace, it should be good news for the 49ers offense.