No. 1: 49ers must force Jared Goff’s hand under pressure
The Niners know Jared Goff well, thanks to those eight games he played against them when he was with the Los Angeles Rams. And during that stretch, Goff has a 3-5 record with a career 88.2 passer rating against San Francisco.
One element Goff thrived in with the Rams was utilizing play action. His career completion percentage on these plays is 67.3, whereas Goff’s percentage on non-play-action attempts is a notably lower 62.7.
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It’ll be interesting to see how much offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn utilizes play-action passes. Historically speaking, Lynn’s offenses have been mesh-able to the talent he’s had available, so one might recognize why the Lions will use it a lot because of Goff this season.
That’s where taking D’Andre Swift out of the game will help, though.
Goff, like many veteran quarterbacks, has honed his abilities to respond well enough to blitzes. But when facing pressure, Goff’s passer rating dropped to 50.0 from 106.0 without it in 2020, according to Pro Football Focus.
It’s a good thing the 49ers seem to have an elite four-man pass rush again, although this will be a strength-versus-strength matchup against arguable Detroit’s top unit, it’s offensive line.
Whoever wins that bout likely winds up being on the right side of the win column.
The Niners and Lions kick off on Sunday, Sept. 12 at 1 p.m. ET from Ford Field.