In this edition of 49ers Film Room, we break down San Francisco 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert’s touchdown pass to tight end Vance McDonald.
The lone 49ers touchdown of the day was surely facilitated by a trip-and-fall by Houston Texans linebacker Benardrick McKinney, but as we break down the play, we observe sound blocking and the proper execution of a familiar Chip Kelly passing concept.
The 49ers are in 11 personnel, with wide receivers Ellington, Smith, and White trips left, and tight end Vance McDonald on the line of scrimmage on the right of the formation.
Prior to the snap, running back Carlos Hyde motions to the right of quarterback Blaine Gabbert, and McKinney follows. Safety Andre Hall calls out a coverage switch with McKinney, just as the ball is snapped.
The 49ers run a zone beater to the left, with a hitch, dig, and drag route. On the right, they run a “Flat-7” (flat and corner) with the corner route as the “alert.”
McKinney is caught out of position, and is off-balance as he tries to bump McDonald. Gabbert reads the man coverage, and locks on to McDonald once he sees Hall fail to sink back to help against the corner route. As Gabbert begins his throwing motion, McKinney trips and falls, giving Gabbert an open target.
Gabbert has his offensive line to thank for a clean pocket. The Texans bring five rushers, but the line does a great job of handing off defenders on the stunt.
As the ball is snapped, center Daniel Kilgore immediately recognizes the stunt.
Left guard Zane Beadles releases his man, and turns to try block the blitzing linebacker, Max Bullough.
Left tackle Joe Staley keeps his man until he can hand him off to Beadles. Staley then turns to Bullough.
Thanks to his line, Gabbert has a clean pocket, and the time he needs to hit McDonald with the pass.
Does this passing concept look familiar? We saw the same concept from Chip Kelly back in 2014, with Foles, Ertz and McCoy substituted for Gabbert, McDonald and Hyde.