After every 49ers (and Raiders) game, I pour over Pro Football Focus‘ game charting stats. It is something of a religious experience for me. You know, uncovering hidden truths, finding reasons for catastrophe and good fortune. This fine-tooth combing of statistics has lead to such (short-lived) crazes as #Rally30, and … well, that’s about it. But, hey, one isn’t half-bad.
Sunday’s victory further proved my #Rally30 theory (That a home playoff team needs to score 30 points to win). Sure, the theory was always an obvious one–tautological, even. But the best theories always are.
The following stats are obvious in nature as well. That is, you don’t need numbers to tell you that the 49ers secondary played poorly. You witnessed it. You also don’t need numbers to tell you that winning on the road in the playoffs is difficult. You probably assumed as much. But what stats can give you are specifics and nuance.
The first stat I want to highlight: The 49ers became the first team since 1957 to win a road playoff game after allowing the home team to score 24 points in the first half. Road teams had previously lost 53 straight playoff games under the same circumstances as Sunday’s. The last road team to win was the Detroit Lions in 1957. The Lions would beat a 49ers’ team lead by Y.A. Tittle and R.C. Owens 31-27, after being down 17 points at halftime.
Not bad, 49ers. Not bad. What is bad: This victory is just their third ever in a road playoff game and their first since 1989. Jim Harbaugh is of course 1-0 in road playoff games. And the 49ers are now 18-0 when they score over 25 points in the Harbaugh era. They’re 23-1-1 when they score over 20. So how did Harbaugh get his first road playoff victory, you ask? Great quarterback play, even greater play by a running back, and perhaps the greatest performance by an offensive line, ever.
- Colin Kaepernick was blitzed on 14 of his 23 dropbacks. On those 14, he completed 9 of 12 for 129 yards and 1 TD. That’s a quarterback rating of 137.
- Despite blitzing him on 60% of his drop backs, the Falcons managed to pressure Kaepernick only four times.
- All four pressures were given up by Mike Iupati. No other offensive lineman allowed a pressure.
- Kaepernick was the most accurate quarterback on Sunday. He completed 76.2% of his passes, three of which were knocked down by defenders and one of which was kind of dropped by Chad Hall.
- Kaepernick hadn’t completed more than 60% of his passes in a game since Week 14, when he completed 78.3% against Miami.
- Kaepernick finished with 11.1 yards per attempt, a career high.
- Vernon Davis was targeted six times, only five of which were catchable. He caught all five for 106 yards.
- Statistically, Davis had an nearly identical game to Week 5’s match up against Buffalo.
- In that game, he also caught five of six targets for 106 yards.
- Michael Crabtree saw his fewest targets (7) since Week 12 against New Orleans.
- The last time Crabtree fumbled was in Week 8 of 2009 (his rookie season).
- Delanie Walker didn’t have a drop, which ended a three-game streak.
Against the run:
- The Falcons ran it toward Justin Smith’s side on only two of their 23 total rushes. They gained 10 yards, nine of which came on one run.
- Justin Smith had three tackles, one assist, and three stops (which are defined as a failed play for the offense).
- This is the same exact stat line that Smith put up against the Green Bay Packers last week.
- The Falcons ran it to Ray McDonald’s side eight times. They gained 33 yards on those runs.
- McDonald had five tackles and three stops.
- Isaac Sopoaga registered only 12 snaps against the run. He still managed two tackles and one stop.
- The 49ers pressured Matt Ryan on 14 of his 44 drop backs.
- This means Ryan was pressured on 31.8% of passes, the most of any quarterback this past weekend.
- Aldon Smith recorded seven of those pressures, none of which went for sacks.
- Even without the sacks, Smith’s seven pressures was his most since Week 11 against Chicago.
- McDonald had three pressures.
- Sopoaga had two, the most since Week 14 of 2011.
- Justin Smith, Ahmad Brooks, NaVorro Bowman and Ricky Jean-Francois all had one pressure each.
- Tarell Brown was targeted 14 times in coverage. He allowed 11 receptions for 126 yards, one touchdown and two passes defensed.
- Chris Culliver was targeted seven times in coverage. He allowed five catches for 65 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception.
- Carlos Rogers was targeted four times in coverage. He allowed three catches for 41 yards, zero touchdowns and one pass defensed.
- All three of his allowed catches came while Rogers was in the slot, which is significant given that Rogers will likely be responsible for covering Anquan Boldin in the Super Bowl.
- Perrish Cox was targeted once, which he allowed for a catch of 24 yards.
- Dashon Goldson was targeted four times in coverage. He allowed four catches for 92 yards and one touchdown and zero passes defensed.
- Donte Whitner was targeted only once in coverage. He did not allow a catch.
- Bowman was targeted three times in coverage. He allowed zero catches for zero yards and one pass defensed.
- One of those targets was to Roddy White.
- Patrick Willis was targeted six times in coverage. He allowed six catches for 48 yards and one touchdown and zero passes defensed.
- Both Aldon Smith and Brooks dropped into coverage six times. Neither was targeted.
- David Akers missed his only field goal attempt.
- All five of his kickoffs were held for touchbacks.
- It was the first time since Week 8 that Akers did not allow a kickoff return.
- Andy Lee averaged 50.3 yards per punt, good for a net average of 48.3.
- LaMichael James averaged 21.3 yards per kickoff return, a career low.