SF 49ers vs. NY Jets: 5 Week 2 X-factors for Kyle Shanahan

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Kyle Shanahan, SF 49ers
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /

No. 1: Figuring out the SF 49ers’ third-down woes

Teams that want to win ballgames should focus on two factors: scoring touchdowns in the red zone and converting a good number of third-down conversion attempts.

San Francisco did neither particularly well in Week 1.

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Kyle Shanahan’s offenses have, for whatever the reasons, never been good in the red zone. They have, however, been great on third downs, especially last season when they converted over 44 percent and ranked fifth best in the league that year in this category.

Against the Cardinals, though, Shanahan’s offense went a measly 2-of-11 on third-down attempts, and one could easily make the argument that was a chief reason why the 49ers are 0-1 instead of 1-0.

Fortunately, getting back to the .500 mark shouldn’t be too difficult if Shanahan wants to refocus on this specific category. Last week against the Bills, the Jets surrendered seven third-down conversions for a first down on 11 attempts, a mark of 50 percent allowed.

Last year, New York was a middle-of-the-pack defense in this particular aspect, giving up first downs on third-down tries 39.1 percent of the time, good for 15th best. While the early evidence doesn’t suggest the Jets will come close to that mark again in 2020, it’s still going to be the Niners’ responsibility to ensure their third-down attempts on offense are successful.

They weren’t in Week 1. They need to be in Week 2.

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The 49ers and Jets kick off on Sunday, Sept. 20 at 1 p.m. ET from MetLife Stadium.