Explosive plays fuel 49ers fast start

Explosive plays. The ability to generate and take them away is key to winning in the NFL.


The 49ers have been among the most explosive offenses in the league while allowing near the fewest to start the season.


Explosive plays are defined as a run that gains ten or more yards or a pass that gains 20 or more yards.


In Brock Purdy, Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle and Jauan Jennings, the 49ers have a terrific group of playmakers. In total they have generated 24 explosive plays over the first three weeks.


With help from the San Francisco offensive line the 49ers running game has accounted for 13 runs of ten or more yards. Christian McCaffrey has led the way ripping off nine explosive runs. Among them a 65-yard touchdown in the season opener and a 51-yard burst against Los Angeles to set up the first score of the game.


Brock Purdy and the 49ers passing game haven’t been left out. Long touchdown passes to Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, along with a long pass to Jauan Jennings account for three of 11 explosive pass plays on the season. The ability of Samuel and George Kittle to make big plays after the catch has also played a key role in the explosiveness of the passing game.


On the other side of the ball, San Franciso’s defense has been excellent at limiting explosive plays. Over the first three weeks they allowed just five explosive plays, two running and three passing.


The key to stopping explosives on defense has been the guy’s up front. Led by Nick Bosa’s 15, the 49ers have generated 79 total pressures on opposing quarterbacks. Javon Hargrave is right behind Bosa with 13 total pressures, then comes Javon Kinlaw with ten followed by Drake Jackson and Arik Armstead who each have nine.


San Francisco’s ability to generate pressure has led to opposing quarterbacks going 0-8 on throws which have travelled 20 or more yards passed the line of scrimmage. By not allowing quarterbacks time to get comfortable in the pocket, the defense has been able to keep everything in front of them and hold opponents to just 42 points.

This article has 6 Comments

  1. Despite the welcome success, I think it’s a little early to crown our nines. I hope the explosion continues, but the real test will be the cowboys and an explosive team like KC.

  2. Jack,
    I’m curious can you tell me how many runs the 49ers have after 3 games that went for 2 yards or less and how many runs were for no gain or lost yardage?

  3. I agree with you , Dee. Actually I think Arizona will be a test too. Anytime you beat a tough team like the Cowboys with their #1 ranked defense, they deserve respect and therefore are not to be underestimated. You know the saying; On any given Sunday… But I still think we will prevail over the Cardinals, but it might be closer than expected. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the first game where we don’t score 30 points. That’s okay as long as we win. But the still deadly Cowboys, with their weapons like their receiving corps and Micah Parsons, are going to give us fits. That game could go either way.

    1. I think Dallas might be overrated and their D isn’t as good as the numbers show. They played two bad teams and didn’t give up many points, especially to the Giants who had 3 turnovers. I think Arizona exposed their run defense. Can’t take them likely, but I’d think the Niners will be favored.

    2. Captain, any team is a great test. Arizona will challenge them but I think the nines will expose them. The Cowboys on the other hand, now have something to prove after their loss to AZ. They come ready to show us!

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