SANTA CLARA – On a phone call last Tuesday to fullback Kyle Juszczyk, 49ers run game coordinator Mike McDaniel told him the misdirection run play “14 Suzie” would be part of the team’s game plan against the Cleveland Browns.
McDaniel also made a promise.
“We went over it, and he said it was going to be an absolute gash,” Juszczyk said after the 49ers' 31-3 victory over the Browns.
Coach Kyle Shanahan on Sunday night shared with the offense that he planned to open the game with the run play to Matt Breida.
“You’re always hoping when you get the right (defensive) call, it will be about 20 yards, but Breida did the rest and made a house call,” Shanahan said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.
After the 49ers’ defense forced the Browns to punt on their first offensive possession, the offense took over at their own 17-yard line. Eleven seconds later, Breida completed an 83-yard touchdown run to give the 49ers a 7-0 lead.
Powered by the first offensive play of the game, the 49ers cruised to a 31-3 victory over the overmatched Browns on Monday night.
“You want to come out and start fast, and that’s about as fast as you can start,” 49ers center Weston Richburg said.
The run play starts right with both backs moving in that direction. Then, the play veers to the left with Juszczyk making a cut block of Cleveland defensive end Olivier Vernon while left tackle Justin Skule rode defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson to the inside.
Left guard Laken Tomlinson got 3 yards downfield, where he took Browns rookie linebacker Mack Wilson completely out of the play. Tight end George Kittle, who lined up next to Skule, peeled back to block cornerback T.J. Carrie.
“Juice kicks out the end and leaves me one-on-one with the corner, which is usually an easy block for me,” Kittle said. “When you have speed like (Breida), he hits that downhill and the safety takes a bad angle.”
Richburg won his one-on-one block against defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi. Right tackle Mike McGlinchey kept Myles Garrett from pursuing from the back side, and right guard Mike Person walled off safety Morgan Burnett.
“We got some backs who can run and we also have some guys who can block,” Shanahan said. “So when you get guys out of a gap by (Juszczyk) cutting their nine technique (Vernon), you’re going to be one-on-one.”
All Breida had to do was get past Browns deep safety Demarius Randall, which appeared quite simple. Breida reached the speed of 22.3 mph, according to NextGen Stats. He breezed past Randall, who took a poor angle and did not have the speed to catch up.
“You always want them to go the distance, so looking up and seeing Matt run down the sideline was awesome,” said Skule, who added he kept imagining that play over and over leading up to the game.
After the game, Richburg said he was not even sure which running back scored on the play. That’s the kind of balance the 49ers feel they have with their running backs, as each is capable of turning in a big play.
Breida gained 114 yards on 11 rushing attempts, while Tevin Coleman gained 97 yards on 16 carries. The 49ers gained 275 yards rushing as a team against the Browns.
“We have a lot of guys in the stable of running backs who can do the job,” Richburg said.
Said Tomlinson, “Can’t wait to re-watch that on film. ... The way he runs like that, he’s hard to catch. It was awesome to see.”