No. 2: Offensive Drive Duration
We’ve seen how this affected the 49ers defense in two of the last three games.
San Francisco’s defense tired out in the fourth quarter on the road against the Seahawks, eventually allowing the game-winning drive by Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson to happen. The Niners defense was gassed, plain and simple.
That exhaustion likely carried over on a short week into Week 3 against the Rams. San Francisco managed to force just two Los Angeles punts.
There’s a reason for this — the lack of extended drives to tire out the opposing defense and give the Niners’ own defense a rest.
Through three weeks, San Francisco’s average offensive drive duration is two minutes and 19 seconds which, coming into the weekend’s games, ranked 29th in the NFL.
While nowhere near as bad as the 2:11 mark posted by former head coach Chip Kelly’s offense a year ago, one can see how problematic this has been over the course of this season early on.
Let’s see if head coach Kyle Shanahan can engineer some drives lasting a bit longer, therefore giving his defense a bit of a rest on an already longer week.