49ers offensive review vs. Jets: Third-down struggles

49ers offensive review vs. Jets: Third-down struggles
October 2, 2012, 5:54 pm
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EDITOR'S NOTE: Matt Maiocco's offensive player-by-player review vs. Jets will be broken up by position. Stay logged on to CSNBayArea.com throughout the day for the breakdown on each position group.

The 49ers destroyed the New York Jets 34-0 on Sunday, but the offense certainly was not perfect.As was the case a year ago, the 49ers struggled on third downs, converting just one of their first six opportunities, and 4 of 12 overall. That's 33 percent. And that matches the 49ers' conversion rate through the first four games. They rank 23rd in the NFL.
Here's a breakdown of each of their third downs:--First quarter, third and 5 from SF 39 (0-for-1): On the opening drive, quarterback Alex Smith's pass was on target to Michael Crabtree on a slant pattern. The ball glanced off Crabtree's hands. It was difficult to tell if cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who undercut the route, deflected the ball just before it arrived to Crabtree.--First quarter, third and 7 from NYJ 45 (0-for-2): It was a third-and-long situation after Colin Kaepernick threw incomplete to Randy Moss on first down and Frank Gore gained 3 yards on second down. On this play, Smith threw long, out of Mario Manningham's reach 25 yards down the left sideline. Manningham immediately complained to officials that cornerback Kyle Wilson held him. Wilson appeared to impede Manningham by grabbing his hand in the middle of the route.--Second quarter, third and 6 from NYJ 7 (1-for-3): With Kaepernick at quarterback, he got good blocking as he ran a sweep around the left side into the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown to give the 49ers a 7-0 lead.--Second quarter, third and 13 from NYJ 32 (1-for-4): The Jets rushed five men, and Smith did not pull the trigger to anyone underneath. When he spun away from a defender, he had the ball in his left arm as he scrambled to his left. Outside linebacker Calvin Pace quickly tracked him down for a 5-yard loss. Smith took back-to-back sacks, losing 9 yards, and David Akers missed a 55-yard field goal.--Second quarter, third and 8 from SF 25 (1-for-5): Crabtree avoided the jam from Wilson and had a couple steps on him down the left sideline. Smith badly overthrew Crabtree by a yard or two.--Third quarter, third and 3 from NYJ 22 (1-for-6): Smith's pass might have come out a little early, and it hit Delanie Walker in the face mask. Walker could not hold on. If he caught it cleanly, Walker should've been able to make it for the first down before Wilson got there for the tackle.--Third quarter, third and 4 from SF 46 (2-for-7): Given two choices for play calls, Smith stayed with the first option, giving the ball to Hunter on an inside handoff. The blocking up front, especially from right guard Alex Boone, was outstanding and Hunter gained 8 yards.
--Third quarter, third and 13 from NYJ 49 (2-for-8): Manningham did a stutter move on Wilson and slowed down as he looked back. He gained separation as he sped up down the left sideline with the ball in the air. Smith's pass was thrown to a spot, and it was very catchable. But Manningham tried to make a one-handed catch instead of attempting to get both hands on the ball. The ball hit Manningh's right hand and fell incomplete. Immediately, Manningham looked back at the official behind him as if to see if an illegal contact call had been made. No flag was thrown.--Third quarter, third and 1 from NYJ 2 (2-for-9): Using Will Tukuafu in the backfield, Frank Gore was stopped for no gain over the left side. The 49ers went for it on fourth down and scored for a 17-0 lead.--Fourth quarter, third and 1 from NYJ 33 (3-of-10): With the 49ers' jumbo package in the game, Gore went through a hole Daniel Kilgore opened with a takedown block on Calvin Pace to pick up 2 yards and a first down.--Fourth quarter, third and 1 from NYJ 22 (3-of-11): Cromartie timed it perfectly to break up Smith's quick slant throw to Crabtree on the right side of the 49ers' formation.--Fourth quarter, third and 2 from NYJ 2: This does not count in the stats, but it was a third-down conversion nonetheless. Jets linebacker Bart Scott was called for defensive holding against intended target, fullback Tukuafu, to give the 49ers a first down at the 1-yard line.MAIOCCO: Smith applauds Kaepernick's contributions in 34-0 win--Fourth quarter, third and 4 from NYJ 33 (4-of-12: On a designed run, Kaepernick took the snap under center and made a sprint around the right side for a 30-yard gain and slid at the 3-yard line rather than score another touchdown in the closing minutes.
49ers offensive review: Quarterbacks