49ers playbook, Week 6: The toss crack

In this week’s installment of 49ers playbook, we break down the toss crack from week 6 against the Redskins.


Trailing 17-10 late in the third quarter, the San Francisco 49ers faced a 3rd-and-1 on a crucial drive. The drive would end in a missed field goal, and the 49ers would ultimately lose by two points again. But not before head coach Kyle Shanahan would yet again put his team in a position to succeed.

With 5:54 left in the quarter, the 49ers lined up in 21 personnel. Running back Raheem Mostert was split wide right and motioned into the backfield three yards behind fellow back Carlos Hyde and eight yards behind center.

The play was a called “toss crack,” and Mostert picked up 16 yards and a first down.

The “toss crack” is an offensive running play that is characterized by a “crackback block” executed by a player split out wide (who motions in) or in tight to the formation who then executes a “crackback” on the edge defender when he turns to follow the play, effectively sealing him off.

The crackback block must engage a defender above the waist and not be a block in the back.

To the playside, one or more offensive linemen will pull out and lead the running back around the sealed edge.

To the inside, the interior and backside linemen will seal off the rest of the defensive front from pursuing the play:

The running back out on the edge will follow his blocker(s), who typically will kick out an alley defender, usually an outside linebacker, defensive back or safety.

By flooding the perimeter with blockers, an offense can often outsize a defense, pitting offensive lineman and tight ends against smaller cornerbacks and safeties at the second level.

At the snap, Hyde’s movement toward the back side succeeds in freezing the movement of the front seven just enough for the offensive line to step laterally and seal off the interior from pursuit.

Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin also execute their crackback blocks on the edge defenders, sealing them inside and allowing a ball carrier to turn the corner and follow left tackle Joe Staley out to the edge:

With Garcon and Goodwin sealing off the edge defenders, Staley gets out around the corner and attacks the approaching cornerback while Mostert accelerates around the earlier blocks.

Staley initiates contact on the defensive back and takes him out with a well-executed block, sprining Mostert for a 16-yard gain on 3rd-and-1.

All gifs and images courtesy of the NFL.