49ers red zone: The other side of the story

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49ers red zone: The other side of the story

SANTA CLARA -- How is it that the 49ers are so bad in the red zone and they're still NFC West champions with a 10-3 record?As bad as they are on offense, they've been that good on defense. The 49ers own the league's best red-zone defense."We've done a good job of playing the run," 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "Most good red-zone offenses start with a good running game and we've been able to play the run down there well. And then when it comes time to pass, we've done a good job with covering up the receivers and getting some good rush. It's just a combination of good players doing the right thing."The 49ers' defense inside the opponent's 20-yard line is the major reason the 49ers left Philadelphia with a 24-23 victory on Oct. 2. The Eagles got inside the 20-yard line seven times and came away with only two touchdowns. The run defense has led the way, allowing just 1.99 yards per rushing attempt in the red zone. The 49ers are the first team since the 1920 Decatur Staleys to not allow a rushing touchdown in the first 13 games of a season.The 49ers have allowed the opposition to enter their own 20-yard line just 28 times. The defense has given up just 10 touchdowns for a league-best defensive percentage of 35.7. Opponents have settled for 13 field goals.Most of the attention has gone to the 49ers' failures inside the red zone. And that's where the 49ers turned a lot of their own attention this week as they prepare to face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night. On a typical week, the 49ers spend time in two practices on their red-zone game plan. This week, they spent three days working on it, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said.No team in the NFL is worse than the 49ers inside the opponents' 20-yard line. The 49ers have gotten into the red zone 45 times. They've scored just 16 touchdowns -- for a lowly 35.6 percentage. (The league average is 52 percent.) But with 25 field goals, the 49ers have actually scored 91.1 percent of the time they get that far. That's tied for fifth-best in the league.Some might wonder if the 49ers' offense works against the 49ers' defense during practice. The answer is no. Once the regular season begins, the first-team offense does not go up against the first-team defense. Coaches have determined it is much more beneficial to prepare for the upcoming opponent with "scout" teams comprised of backups and practice-squad players that try to replicate what the opposition will try to do.

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman/defensive end Clay Matthews Sr. passed away on Thursday, March 23rd at the age of 88. 

Matthews originally entered the NFL as a 25th round (247th overall) draft choice by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1949 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons with San Francisco (1950, 1953-55), appearing in 45 games and registering one interception. After spending his rookie season of 1950 with the 49ers, he went on to spend two years (1951-52) in the United States Army where he served in the Korean War.

A native of Charleston, SC, Matthews attended Georgia Tech where he played guard, tackle and end while earning All-Southeastern Conference honors in 1948. In 1949, Matthews was the All-Southeastern Conference heavyweight wrestling and boxing champion at Georgia Tech.

Matthews was the first of three generations to play in the National Football League. His two oldest sons, Bruce and Clay Jr., each spent 19 seasons in the NFL. Originally selected by the Houston Oilers in the first round (9th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft, Bruce was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 after 14 Pro Bowl and seven First-Team All-Pro selections. Clay Jr. was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 1st round (12th overall) in the 1978 draft and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

Three of Bruce’s sons, Jake, Kevin and Mike, and two of Clay Jr.’s sons, Clay III and Casey, either have spent time or currently play in the NFL. Clay III is currently a member of the Green Bay Packers and a six-time Pro Bowl selection at linebacker while Jake is currently an offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons after being selected in the first round (6th overall) by the team in 2014. 

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After signing with Giants, Draughn pens long thank you to 49ers

After signing with Giants, Draughn pens long thank you to 49ers

Shaun Draughn is now a member of the New York Giants, but he won't ever forget his brief stint with the 49ers. The running back posted a long thank you to the organization and its fans on Thursday:

"I want to say thank you to the @49ers for giving my family and I a place to call home, a chance to be apart of an organization with rich history, class and a passion for family and community," Draughn posted on Instagram. "You guys gave me my first EVER NFL start on November 8,2015 and I will cherish that moment and milestone forever.

"Thank you to all the support staff, cooks(man Ima miss those crispies in the morning lol Travis and the fellas) , custodians (my man Joe keep planting those spiritual seeds my brotha), equipment (Doc, Steve, Gilby, and the crew) trainers( Ferg, ryan, Laura) pastor Earl thank you so much for your time and pouring into us spiritually. Coaches(coach Tom Rathman thank you for having a high standard for your players and forcing me to get better at my craft) and to the Niner Faithful you guys are great and very passionate about your team you made this a great experience as well!! To my teammates I love y'all like brothas and thank you for welcoming me in with open arms and making it a pleasure to go to war with y'all no matter the record!!"

Draughn, 29, averaged 3.1 yards per carry over two seasons with the 49ers, totaling 459 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. 

I want to say thank you to the @49ers for giving my family and I a place to call home, a chance to be apart of an organization with rich history, class and a passion for family and community. You guys gave me my first EVER NFL start on November 8,2015 and I will cherish that moment and milestone forever. Thank you to all the support staff, cooks(man Ima miss those crispies in the morning lol Travis and the fellas) , custodians (my man Joe keep planting those spiritual seeds my brotha), equipment (Doc, Steve, Gilby, and the crew) trainers( Ferg, ryan, Laura) pastor Earl thank you so much for your time and pouring into us spiritually. Coaches(coach Tom Rathman thank you for having a high standard for your players and forcing me to get better at my craft) and to the Niner Faithful you guys are great and very passionate about your team you made this a great experience as well!! To my teammates I love y'all like brothas and thank you for welcoming me in with open arms and making it a pleasure to go to war with y'all no matter the record!! To the @nygiants I want to say thank you for allowing me to be apart of such a first class organization!! I am excited to go to work in the quest for #5 and to the Fans I can assure you, you will get my ABSOLUTE best and nothing less, put a stamp on it‼️‼️ thank you God for ALWAYS making a way!! #Proverbs3:5-6 #BigBlue #GMen

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