49ers

Chip Kelly reveals why 49ers going with slower-paced offense

Chip Kelly reveals why 49ers going with slower-paced offense

Chip Kelly's offense with the 49ers is his slowest-paced version of his four NFL seasons.

Why?

“I think that’s what fits with this group of guys we have on the offensive side of the ball,” Kelly said this week.

Kelly did not expound on that thought. But it could be safe to assume his thinking is the same reason why it does not make sense to enter a Ford Pinto to race against pro stock dragsters.

The 49ers’ offense is running more plays this season. The 49ers snap the ball every 24.4 seconds on offense. That’s down from 26.1 seconds last season, and 29.7 seconds in Jim Harbaugh’s final season in 2014.

Last season in Philadelphia, Kelly’s team snapped the ball every 22.6 seconds. In Kelly’s final season at Oregon in 2012, the Ducks snapped the ball every 20.5 seconds.

“I don’t think we’re playing fast right now,” Kelly said. “So if someone said, ‘How are you playing offensively?’ I don’t think we’re playing fast offensively. I think we’re just not going back (to huddle). We’re saving seven yards of run time for our offensive line because they don’t have to run back in the huddle, get a play called and then do it.

“We’re just calling it at the line of scrimmage. So I think it’s a lot of what Denver used to do when Peyton (Manning) was there. But there’s a lot of times that we’re under 15 seconds when we’re snapping the ball and getting the play off. So we’re not playing fast and we’re not calling tempo-type plays in those situations. We’re just calling plays.”

Kelly said part of the problem is that the 49ers are not converting third downs. The team has a 36.3 percent success rate on third downs, which is actually an improvement over the 30.5 percent success of last season.

But the 49ers’ overall lack of offensive success this season cannot be camouflaged.

The 49ers are averaging just 4.5 yards per play. The 49ers have not averaged fewer than 5 yards per play since 2007, when Alex Smith sustained a shoulder injury and was replaced by Trent Dilfer.

While the 49ers are running more offensive plays than it has in the past, so is the opposition. The 49ers have averaged 64.3 plays per game. The 49ers have defended 69.9 plays per game – only 2.3 more plays than last season but 8.1 more plays than in 2014.

The biggest problem for the offense has been its run defense. The league’s worst run defense has surrendered 185.1 yards per game and is on pace to give up 2,962 yards this season, which would be the most in the NFL since the 1980 New Orleans Saints yielded 3,106 rushing yards.
 

49ers-Seahawks flexed out of Week 13 Sunday Night Football slot

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AP

49ers-Seahawks flexed out of Week 13 Sunday Night Football slot

The 49ers were revealed to be prime-time darlings when the NFL schedule was announced in the spring.

But, ultimately, the 49ers played themselves out of two of their scheduled five nationally televised prime-time games.

The 49ers’ Week 13 game at the Seattle Seahawks, originally scheduled for Sunday night, Dec. 2, was demoted to a 1:25 p.m. kickoff, the NFL announced on Wednesday. The game will be televised on FOX.

The 49ers enter their bye week with a 2-8 record. The Seahawks are second place in the NFC West with a 4-5 record. The only attraction to the game was the return of 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman to Seattle, where he played his first seven NFL seasons.

The Los Angeles Chargers (7-2) at the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2-1) takes over in the prime-time slot for the nationally televised game on NBC. 

The 49ers previously were moved out of the flexible Sunday night slot for their Week 7 game against the Los Angeles Rams.

The 49ers played three prime time games this season, including a mandatory Thursday night game in Week 9 against the Raiders. The 49ers also played two Monday night games, losing to the Green Bay Packers, 33-30, in Week 8, and to the New York Giants, 27-23, earlier this week.

Richard Sherman proving he's still got it, despite 'Uncle Sherm' nickname

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AP

Richard Sherman proving he's still got it, despite 'Uncle Sherm' nickname

SANTA CLARA -- 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman showed he still has a lot left in the tank. His performance in the 27-23 loss to the New York Giants was one of his best of the season. 


The acquisition of Sherman after surgery on his Achilles was one of the biggest stories of the 49ers offseason. Would he be able to return to the level of play that made him a rarely-targeted, shut-down corner? On Monday night, Sherman answered that question. 

Up until Week 10, Sherman has been quietly putting together a solid season but his value off the field has been more recognized. He has been a role model and coach for the young secondary and a leader in the locker room.

Facing the Giants, the 30-year-old showed that he’s more than his nickname, “Uncle Sherm.” He was targeted twice, allowing two receptions for a total of 10 yards. He made three solo tackles, two of which were off Giants running back Saquon Barkley. 

Coach Kyle Shanahan spoke about Sherman’s performance facing the Giants. 

“I thought Richard had one of his best games last night,” Shanahan said in his Tuesday morning post-game availability. “I thought it was probably his best game of the year. I don't think it was a coincidence that it followed his best week of practice of the year.”

[RELATED: 49ers 'want' Sherman next season]

It has taken some time for him to get back to his old self -- getting more time off after the Thursday night game against the Raiders on Nov. 1 helped.

“I think Richard went through a big offseason of some big injuries he was overcoming,” Shanahan said. “And he battled hard to get through those. Had a number of setbacks and in training camp, when he did have that, that made it hard to practice a bunch." 

“He got himself ready for Week 1 and played. I know he had to miss a few weeks as those injuries crept back. And he played through a bunch of stuff these last few weeks.”

The 49ers head coach also explained how leading by example through his injuries is another valuable quality that Sherman brings to the table.

“The thing that's been great about Richard, just showing other guys how you can play through things when you're not 100-percent," Shanahan added. "And when you do, you've got to still play at a high level that helps you win, and he's done that in a number of situations.”

The cornerback's physical ability is obviously a key component to his success, but Shanahan explained that there’s more to it than meets the eye. 

“I think people say that because Richard is very talented and things like that,” Shanahan said. “But, that's not what separates him from other people. Richard's game has a lot to do with what's upstairs. He's thinking a lot. He understands route combinations. It's hard to beat him on the same thing twice. You can get him once, but usually the second time it's a pick."

“That allows him to, I think he's in his eighth year. He's played seven years. By no means do I think he's at that stage yet where we're talking about him being old. But, as he does get there, and you start to lose a couple steps -- which happens to everybody -- the guys that have been successful because of more than just their ability are guys that usually can still play at a high quality even though their skills diminish. But, I don't think he's there yet.”