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Controlling Third Down
September 09 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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Despite winning their first game of the season, and only permitting thirteen points, there was still lost of room for improvement on both offense and defense. The 49ers redzone offense was only successful one out of five times, a dismal percentage by any standard. That however was largely due to the team inability to convert on third downs. The team was 4/12 on third down, thatís only 33%.

Clearly the 49ers need to be able to sustain longer drives in order to score points, and to do that, they need to convert on third downs. Teamís that win, convert on third downs, and control the clock, the 49ers did neither in their first game of the season.

The defense had a similar lack of success on third down. It failed to stop the Giants 7/16 times on third down. The nine conversions allowed the Giants to move the offense against the 49ers and rack up 361 yards. The Giants ability to move the offense allowed them to control the clock, another staple of winning teams. The Giants had nearly five more minutes of possession time.

As the 49ers progress into the season they will have to get better on both sides of the ball particularly on third downs in order to live up to the expectations they have of themselves and that the league has of them. The 49ers lacked in their first games in many of the categories this game that are typically related to winning teams. Time of possession, redzone efficiency, and the ability to convert on third downs are all areas that contending teams excel in, and all areas that the 49ers simply couldnít shine in during week one. The 49ers will look to shore up these weaknesses at they begin preparing for the Broncos.

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