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Are the 49ers Transitioning to a Pass Heavy Offense?

Passing the ball heavily was the driving force for why the 49ers put up their most points all season long in their win against the Cardinals.

Utter domination by the 49ers over the Cardinals.

By far, that was the most complete game by the 49ers all season long. The offense easily had its best performance of the year and it was all thanks to their passing game. The 49ers, when the game was still contentious, ran the ball 20 times. Not a single runner had double-digit carries, which is absurd to see from the 49ers.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Garoppolo dropped back to pass 29 times. This is a rare occurrence from the 49ers in a game where they were in control for most of it. 38 points is the most the 49ers offense has scored all season long. The fact that they did so while utilizing the passing game heavily was revealing, but it is something I have been advocating for the 49ers to do to break their run-heavy tendency. Sure enough, it garnered amazing results as the offense looked unstoppable.  

Given how successful it was, are the 49ers transitioning to a pass heavy offense?

For now, they are. Running the ball just isn't hitting the same way for the 49ers. They are just way too predictable with what they want to do offensively. Everyone knows what is coming when facing the 49ers offense. No one is falling for their trickery with the run game. That is why when the 49ers committed to a passing attack against the Cardinals -- they found massive success. 

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Arizona was so locked into defending the run that when the 49ers flipped it on them through the air, they had no idea how to adjust. Credit to Garoppolo for playing at an exceptional level and to Shanahan for finally having a tendency breaking game. The 49ers desperately needed this, which is why I think they will operate as a pass heavy offense until defenses ease up defending the run. Garoppolo isn't having anywhere near as many low moments as he has had in the past. He's taking care of the football and keeping drives alive.

Not to mention that the offensive line is pass protecting at an elite level. The win against the Cardinals was the third time the offensive line did not allow a sack, which is tied for an NFL high. They have been great all season long. This offense has been screaming for the passing game to be tapped into more and for the run game to taper off a bit. Defenses want the 49ers to rely upon Garoppolo because he generally will lessen the efficiency of the offense.

But this season, Garoppolo has been playing his best ball arguably of his career.

Leaning on Garoppolo more to steer the offense is needed and it clearly worked when Shanahan finally let him do it. The 49ers need to do that more, especially if the running game is going to be the focal point of opposing defenses to stop. It wasn't a coincidence that Deebo Samuel took a jet sweep play for a 39-yard score. Passing helped set that up as the defense was off balance with the play calling from the 49ers. They couldn't key in on them and Garoppolo made them pay.

The 49ers are built to be a lethal passing offense. The quarterback is playing well, they are loaded with skill players, and have a high-level pass protecting offensive line. While I don't think Shanahan will maintain this offensive style, the 49ers have at least proven that their offense can win games through the air or on the ground. That makes them extremely dangerous and a side no one wants to face.