San Francisco Preview Part 2: Hashes to Hashes

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Nate takes a look at SF’s passing attack, both briefly and in detail. At the same time.

It’s getting closer and closer! We’re only a day out from playing in the Super Bowl. With the team making final adjustments and revisions, I’m just going to highlight two plays that I feel are important in San Francisco’s passing game. Enjoy!


I’ve already mentioned the running backs and offensive line, so go read my previous piece if you any idea of their skills.

At quarterback, the 49ers employ Jimmy Garoppolo. In simple terms, Garoppolo is an Alex Smith who’s willing to take risks. He doesn’t want to throw outside the numbers very much, but in the middle of the field, he’s deadly accurate. You can bait him into bad interceptions though, so we have potential to get a few INTs.

At wide receiver, the 49ers are full of burners. Emmanuel Sanders has played against us a lot, and he still has the speed to make you pay in the middle of the field. Deebo Samuel is a burner, used as someone to stretch the field. For a young guy, he runs really good routes as well. Kendrick Bourne is their 3rd receiver, but he’s only used on 3rd downs. He’s got speed, but he’s not somebody that’s going to burn you consistently.

At tight end, the 49ers have George Kittle. While he’s not Travis Kelce in terms of route running, his ability to collect yards after catch is scary good. Kittle’s hard to tackle, and he has a lot of speed in the open field. If we should be concerned about anyone in San Francisco, it’s Kittle.

Film Review

San Francisco utilizes a lot of play action, taking advantage of over-pursuing linebackers in the middle of the field. They use a lot of over routes in their scheme. This gives Garoppolo a quick read, and an ability to lay it over the linebackers.

Eye discipline is key this week, and if our slot corner gets depth on that over route, then we may be able to bait Jimmy G into quick interceptions. We have to be prepared to defend the middle of the field this week though.

The Niners like to use the middle of the field, especially against man. Quick slants, especially out of a 6-1 front, can give Jimmy G a quick read. Emmanuel Sanders and Deebo Samuel have enough explosion to get a good release, and it’s an easy pitch and catch. Inside leverage may be the main technique we use this week, in order to take away the middle of the field.


This game is going to be difficult. Kyle Shanahan excels at finding weaknesses in your defense and exposing them. The 49ers have a lot of team speed at all 3 levels, and don’t shoot themselves often.

If we trust our fundamentals, we’re going to be able to win. I trust Steve Spagnuolo and Brendan Daly, with two weeks to prepare, to be able to establish a gameplan that confuses Jimmy G. Give me Chiefs, 38-31. For Andy…

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This game is going to be difficult.



Just a passing question that comes to mind…maybe slightly off the beaten track as no one really wants to have to see the answer to this question in-action during a Super Bowl or really any game: Q. We know who our KC backup QB is for the “just in case” or the “unthinkable should happen” scenario, but who is the backup QB for SF? If it should be necessary for the SF backup QB to play, what would we expect from him? 99% handoffs/running plays?


I think it’s a very interesting question, actually. As far as being “off the beaten path” goes, I think my stance on thoughts like that is pretty clear. Just sayin’. 😉


thanks…appreciate the reply and input


Short answer is that it’s hard to say, and neither Mullins nor Beathard has played a meaningful snap this season. In previous seasons their performance has been unspectacular, shall we say. Links for reference:


So, I gotta wonder…the sports commentator who asininely suggested that the 49ers put a hurtin’ on Mahomes to affect the outcome of the game, why didn’t he make the same comment about the Chiefs defense?…put a hurtin’ on Garoppolo given that SF doesn’t then play with a proven backup…they’d be stuck with one of two unproven QBs who hasn’t played a snap all year. Why didn’t he see that angle if he’s looking for grotesque angles? Not that any of us would try to understand the mindset of such a mentally-disheveled individual who just happens to have been given a media platform to speak whatever comes into his warped mind.

Ironically, the Chiefs actually still have a decent chance to win with Matt Moore. I don’t think the 49ers have much of any chance to win with Beathard or Mullens.


I’ve done some thinking along those lines, and while I’d rather that it didn’t happen this way, if it came down to Moore vs. Mullens/Beathard, Moore has a big advantage. Namely, it’s that Moore had success under center while seemingly half the team’s starters were in the hospital. He may not have been spectacular, but success in the face of adversity’s something that’s in the back of the whole team’s minds. The other two don’t have any of that, not from this season.

And because of that I think you’re right, if the worst happens and Moore has to finish the game, I think they’ll still have a decent chance to win, for the very reason I described here: If Pat goes down, they won’t collapse the way some teams do. They have a backup they know they can trust.


Stumbled across this while surveying the twits just now, it’s interesting and kinda fits in with Nate’s piece. In the converse sense, that is:


The 49ers have not had a sack all season when an opponent used pre-snap motioning.


Bit of a fun story from up here in Paul Bunyan’s back yard. Guy who lives across the street from the front door of this place, he and I never talked, really – until yesterday. He’d noticed I’m a Chiefs fan, and wanted to talk some SB while we smoked outside our respective residences. Nice conversation, and he wished us luck, too. Makes me wonder, though; how many people know “the Chiefs fan” by sight in this two-horse town, beyond those I talk to on the regular?


Couple of squirrels and some chickadees, maybe, word gets around.


No chickadees around here this time of year, but maybe the pigeons are carrying the news.