How Kyle Shanahan analyzed Seattle’s protection within the NFL playoffs

San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was the champion on Saturday.

Throughout the 49ers 41-23 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, the coach discovered methods to emphasise Seattle’s protection each on the bottom and within the air. Rookie quarterback Brock Purdy posted a strong efficiency in his first playoff sport, finishing 18-of-30 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns, surpassing the playoff debuts of two San Francisco greats Joe Montana and Steve Younger .

San Francisco gained 505 whole yards within the victory and averaged 7.9 yards per sport.

Diving a bit into the efficiency, check out how profitable Purdy was on Saturday afternoon:

Purdy averaged .72 anticipated factors added per sport on Saturday, with a median goal depth of practically 12 yards. The assault as a complete impressed, particularly when casting for early falls:

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Going again to what it was like on the court docket, Shanahan hit the Seahawks with an virtually dizzying vary of strikes and presnap strikes, discovering varied methods to position San Francisco’s spectacular offensive expertise into favorable positions.

Let’s take this sport from the start of the sport the place Purdy pairs up with Brandon Aiyuk within the again room:

Consider the whole lot the Seahawks had to determine earlier than the snap. San Francisco breaks out with a “21 Offensive Personnel” grouping with two runners, two extensive receivers and a decent end.

Nevertheless, quotes for 21 offensive personnel are there as a result of listed here are the gamers in that group: Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Kyle Juszczyk, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk. You may as properly name this 31 offensive employees and designate Samuel because the breakaway, or 12 offensive employees, with Juszczyk because the tight finish.

The issue is the employees itself.

They initially ally themselves with Purdy within the shotgun, Samuel and Juszczyk on the precise, Kittle and Aiyuk on the left, and McCaffrey within the again room. However then they begin to transfer. Kittle strikes throughout the formation to the precise. Samuel then strikes to the again, flanking QB together with McCaffrey. However then McCaffrey strikes again outdoors to the precise, matching up with the group with Kittle and Juszczyk.

That is the formation when the ball is snapped, giving the 49ers 4 threats from one aspect of the sector.

So after all Purdy throws his butt to Aiyuk on the opposite aspect of the formation.

Shanahan additionally discovered a number of alternative ways to focus on Seattle’s single-zone protection schemes, typically by excavation routes. Following this end from Purdy to Aiyuk in direction of the top of the second half, Shanahan picks up a variation on his Burner idea, which is an motion sport design that mixes a deep nook route with a kick route. Right here, the 49ers do not use motion play, however a deep bend route from quick Danny Grey takes post-safety, together with a defender to his aspect of the sector. Samuel, positioned within the wing on the left, hits the sting defender earlier than working a route sitting over the soccer. Kittle and McCaffrey launched into residences:

Outcome? The routes create house for the excavation route from Aiyuk, which is extensive open within the center:

Shanahan additionally took benefit of vertical routes and the specter of passing downfield to create house for receivers working beneath. On this sport, from the beginning of the second quarter, the 49ers take 4 vertical routes, together with McCaffrey from the again room. Once more, the Seahawks are single excessive vary and this vertical idea is an issue for these vary constructions.

Like Kittle beneath on a shallow route:

Maybe one of many worst tasks Shanahan selected got here early within the fourth quarter. With the 49ers main 23-17 and battling 2nd and eleventh in Seattle, Shanahan referred to as for motion play utilizing the surface space as bait. Purdy targets Jauan Jennings on a round route:

Why is it simply imply? Few causes. First, the state of affairs. With San Francisco dealing with 2nd and eleventh, Seattle can count on a breakaway with the 49ers seeking to discover themselves in a manageable third down place. You’ll be able to see this in defensive lineup because the Seahawks verify cowl and have ten defenders inside 5 yards of the ball.

Secondly, they present the outer zone to the border, on the left aspect of the formation. Throwing a round lane out of sight is one thing the 49ers have completed earlier than, however often on the precise aspect of the formation the place the quarterback has a better throw. Right here, Purdy wants to tug off a trick, flip his hips shortly, and put together a hall for a downfield throw. This isn’t what you count on from an assault.

These are all of the the reason why it really works.

However maybe the perfect instance of how spectacular Shanahan was on Saturday afternoon is watching two performs. First, this run from the primary quarter, a throw to Samuel:

Once more, you see among the presnap strikes mentioned earlier. The 49ers break by with 21 offensive personnel: Aiyuk, Kittle, McCaffrey, Juszczyk, and Samuel. McCaffrey, Juszczyk and Aiyuk begin the sport on the precise, with Kittle leveled on the left and Samuel within the again. However Juszczyk then switches to full-back in entrance of Samuel within the again whereas Aiyuk strikes throughout the formation to a decent left-back place.

Samuel will get the pitch and goals for the left edge, and Juszczyk takes him outdoors. That is a 22-yard acquire, with the important thing block presumably coming from Juszczyk, who meets Ryan Neal within the alley, who he is defending.

Early within the second quarter, the 49ers present the Seahawks the identical fundamental look – with the identical presnap transfer – however promote the Seahawks on the sector earlier than the snap as Juszczyk strikes in direction of the attacking left. Solely there is no leap coming. As an alternative, Purdy fakes a pitch and throws a diagonal highway to McCaffrey on the precise of the assault. As this sport unfolds, watch as Seattle’s protection reacts to the specter of the pitch and the way that response creates room for a diagonal route:


Purdy actually makes headlines, and for good motive. His rise from “Mr. Irrelevant” for a playoff-winning quarterback is a unbelievable story, and rookie QB is taking part in very properly.

However a coach’s job is to place his gamers in the perfect place to achieve success, and that is precisely what Shanahan does with this assault. With the unbelievable expertise he possesses – together with a number of completely different gamers who can thrive in a wide range of attacking roles – Shanahan emphasizes protection and creates alternatives for achievement for his budding quarterback.

So whereas praising Purdy for his meteoric rise this season, we also needs to take a while to reward Shanahan, who finds alternative ways to emphasize the protection in each sport, each quarter, and even each climb.

Placing Purdy ready that can succeed.

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