I’ve been watching the coaches’ film of the 49ers 13-6 win over the Seattle Seahawks this morning. I’ve been looking for the Y-Stick and the Y-Stick Lookie.
Those are basic pass plays designed for the tight end – Vernon Davis. He runs a quick hitch in the middle of the field. The quarterback takes a three-step drop from undercenter and throws the ball to Davis. It’s an easy way to get him involved in the pass game – something the 49ers couldn’t do against the Seahawks.
Although the tight end is the primary receiver, the quarterback has the option to throw the ball to the other receivers in the pattern, especially the “go” route if the cornerback is playing bump-and-run coverage on the flanker and the QB likes the matchup of his WR against the DB.
Those plays were staples of Jim Harbaugh’s offense at Stanford, but I haven’t noticed the 49ers run them recently.
Yesterday, I asked Harbaugh why they haven’t made it into the game plan and he said I was incorrect. He said they did run the Y-Stick and the Y-Stick Lookie against the Seahawks.
I checked those coaches film’ and discovered Harbaugh was right. Greg Roman called those plays in the second quarter.
With 11:18 left in the second quarter, the 49ers faced second and seven from their own 19 yard line.
Roman called a Y-Stick. Alex Smith noticed Richard Sherman was giving flanker Michael Crabtree a 10-yard cushion. Smith, without ever looking at Davis, took a three-step drop and fired a short pass to the sideline. Smith expected Crabtree to run a quick out, but he ran a “go” route up the field and the pass fell incomplete.
I don’t know who takes the blame for that busted play, because I don’t know if Crabtree was supposed to change his route.
On the next play Joe Staley was flagged for a false start, and then the 49ers faced third and 12. Roman called another Y-Stick play – this time from a spread shotgun formation. Davis lined up as a receiver in the slot right next to the right tackle. He ran a quick stick route and was open, but Smith didn’t throw it to him. Instead, Smith stepped up in the pocket and threw a 2-yard check down pass to Frank Gore, and then the 49ers punted.
It appears to me Roman called at least two stick plays in which Vernon Davis was the primary target, but Alex Smith decided to throw to other receivers.