Why the Red Zone Is So Important to the 49ers
It’s kind of cliche — heck, the red zone is important for every team — but the 2017 49ers are going to need to execute here as effectively as possible.
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Perhaps even overachieve.
San Francisco is a long ways away, personnel-wise, from fielding a good-to-elite offense. Even with Kyle Shanahan calling the shots, it’s a skilled-players league. And Shanahan won’t have a dynamic QB-WR tandem like he did with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones in Atlanta.
A year ago, the Falcons averaged 4.2 red-zone scoring attempts per game, per TeamRankings.com. That number was second in the league and led way to the Falcons boasting the NFL’s best scoring offense in 2016.
In comparison, the Niners averaged just 2.8 red-zone attempts per game, which was 28th. So while San Francisco was good at converting, the scoring chances came few and far between.
The 49ers aren’t going to field a prolific offense like Shanahan had with the Falcons a year ago. Therefore, it’s likely the Niners are going to be much closer to the 2.8 average than the lofty 4.2 seen by Atlanta last year.
Also worth noting is San Francisco’s defense, which was historically bad a year ago. While improved, the Niners defense is far away from being able to bail out its offense on a regular basis.
So if Shanahan and Co. struggle to find success in the red zone as often as possible, the 49ers’ 2017 campaign is going to be a tough one, to say the least.