The 49ers Best and Worst Play Calls from their Win over the Jets

Grant Cohn

Here are head coach Kyle Shanahan and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh's best play calls from the 49ers 31-13 win over the Jets.



10:01 Second Quarter. Third and 8 at NYJ 18.

Kendrick Bourne goes in motion before the snap and a Jets cornerback follows him, which tells the 49ers they're facing man-to-man coverage. If it were zone coverage, Jimmy Garoppolo might have checked to a different play, because this one is designed to beat man coverage. But the 49ers get the exact look they want to exploit. Jordan Reed runs a quick out route, and Trent Taylor runs a corner route directly into the defender who's covering Reed -- essentially a pick play. It works, and Reed scores. Nice trick by Shanahan. Call it a six-point trick.


3:45 Second Quarter. Fourth and 1 at SF 20.

This was the turning point of the game. The Jets are driving and they're in the red zone. If they gain a yard on this play, they probably will score at least three points on this drive. But Saleh does something clever. He lines up Javon Kinlaw in one A gap, then makes him jump to the other A gap after the snap. This cause the right guard to lunge and whiff as he tries to block Kinlaw, who disappears on him. Warner runs right by the lunging right guard and tackles running back Josh Adams for a three-yard loss.



8:58 Third Quarter. Third and 4 at NYJ 28.

It's third and relatively short, and Nick Mullens is the quarterback. Shanahan could call a quick, short pass to Jordan Reed, Jerick McKinnon or Trent Taylor -- he has lots of options. Instead, he calls a deep pass for Taylor which requires Mullens to throw the ball across the field. Taylor doesn't have the speed to run that route, and Mullens doesn't have the arm strength to throw it. And they needed only four yards. I doubt Shanahan would have been so aggressive if the game were close.


5:45 First Quarter. Third and 3 at SF 26.

I've been telling Saleh to call more man to man coverage for years, and he listened in this game. But it was bad advice on third and short. Sorry, Robert. Because the Jets put three receivers in a bunch formation, and bunch formations destroy man coverage. The receiver who was further inside ran a quick out route, and the cornerback covering him got caught in traffic. Easy first down. When the 49ers face a bunch formation, they always should check to "Box" quarters coverage. That's standard.

6:54 Second Quarter. Third and 3 at SF 45.

The same exact situation and the same exact result. Man coverage. Bunch formation. Easy first down. These mistakes didn't cost the 49ers against the poor Jets, but they could hurt the 49ers against a better offense. Remember Box coverage, Robert. You owe me a nickel for that suggestion.

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