Top 49ers Offensive 49ers Plays in 2020
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San Francisco 49ers’ fans and organization might rather forget the 2020 season. A year where they once again started three different quarterbacks (never a good sign), three different running backs, a seemingly always reshuffled offensive line, and a wide receiver corps that never new who was going to eligible to play due to injury or phantom COVID test results. The team was brought back down to earth after coming half a quarter of football from becoming Super Bowl Champions.
Most of the games didn’t end in the outcome they wanted. They were still in the playoff hunt until the last couple weeks of the season. They still boasted one of the best rosters in the NFL, and easily the best team on IR ever assembled. With all that talent, it isn’t surprising that they team still put up some plays and individual performances on the field.
Here is a countdown of my top five offensive plays for the 49ers during the 2019 season.
Just like Spider-Man says, “Everyone gets one,” and Jerick McKinnon made one everlasting play in his tenure with the 49ers. In Week 2 against the New York Jets, with the 49ers on a third-and-31 from their own 11-yard line and leading 21-3, “Jet” McKinnon lined up in the “I” formation behind All-World fullback Kyle Juszczyk and a strong side right formation. McKinnon took the toss from quarterback Nick Mullens, broke through the line, made a Jets linebacker fall to the ground with a cut to the left of the field, picked up a block for wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, and raised down to the opposite 35-yard line. One cut, a good block from Aiyuk, and an explosion up the sideline gave the 0-1 49ers hope that McKinnon would finally produce explosive plays like this for a full season.
Week 12 against the Dallas Cowboys was a must-win game for the 49ers if they wanted to get into the playoffs. After seeming like they might pull it off, they lost the game. At the closing of the game, quarterback C.J. Beathard and receiver Kendrick Bourne produced this nice little gem of a play though. Down 41-27 with seven seconds left in the game the 49ers lined up at the Cowboys 49-yard line in a single-back, trips-right formation. Bourne started located at the point of the trips triangle. Beathard took the shotgun snap and retreated right to his own 37-yard line before launching the ball downfield. Bourne, surrounded by six Cowboy defenders, high-pointed the ball and came down with the meaningless touchdown. A great play. If only it had come with a closer score or more time on the clock.
Four minutes and fifty-five seconds into the season, during the Week 1 game against the Arizona Cardinals, Raheem Mostert reminded everyone why the 49ers were going to run it back against the league. The 49ers offense lined up on their own 24-yard line with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the shotgun, Juszczyk to his right, Mostert to his left, Bourne flanked out right, Aiyuk left, and tight end George Kittle inline on the right side. Everyone released, with Mostert running a shallow slant out of the backfield. Arizona rushed five and Mostert caught the simple slant and his speed did everything else that was needed. He outran everyone on the field, not even needing any down field blocking. Oh, what the offense could have been without injuries.
On the first play from scrimmage in Week 2 against the New York Jets, Mostert showed again just how dangerous he can be. Lined up in an “I” backfield and both wide receivers split left while TE Ross Dwelley was again lined up inline on the right side of the line, Mostert took the pitch to the right side of the field and followed the blocking of Juszczyk, Dwelley, and Bourne (who had gone in motion to the right side of the field pre-snap) and raced up the right sideline for an 80-yard touchdown run. He picked up a nice downfield block from right tackle Mike McGlinchey on the way, but he probably would have made the play without it. It was a simple toss sweep, but man does it look exciting with Mostert’s speed.
In Week 4 against the Philadelphia Eagles, George Kittle went off for 183 yards receiving and a touchdown reception. The 49ers went into the contest 2-1, and they would have left it 3-1 if it weren’t for a boneheaded Mullens interception throw in the fourth quarter that sealed the game for the Eagles. Earlier in the game, with 21 seconds left in the first quarter and lined up at the Eagles 38-yard line, Aiyuk showed everyone why the 49ers took him in the first round of the draft. The 49ers lined up in a three-receiver set, with Bourne flanked to the left and Aiyuk and another 49er receiver lined up to the right. Mullens ran a slight play-action fake to McKinnon, who was lined up to his right, and Aiyuk stepped back to receive the pass in the flat to Mullens’ right. Mullens barely got it past a rushing Eagles defender and into Aiyuk’s hands. Aiyuk picked up some great downfield blocking from his lineman and then hurdled Eagles safety Marcus Epps. A pass play that was technically a run, it showed Aiyuk’s athleticism and gave 49ers fans something to look forward to for years to come.
So, what do you think? Were these five plays worthy of the list or did I miss one of your favorites?
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