Cutting off Eli Manning at the (longer) pass

The San Francisco 49ers picked off Drew Brees twice on longer throws.

That came as little surprise even though Brees was riding an NFL record for consecutive postseason passes without a pick.

The 49ers, despite giving up a dozen pass plays covering 40-plus yards during the regular season, have consistently made plays on passes thrown 15-plus yards past the line of scrimmage.

This is a matchup to watch when the 49ers face the New York Giants' Eli Manning in the NFC Championship Game, as the chart lays out.

Manning has a strong arm and talented, big-play receivers. He led the NFL in regular-season attempts and ranked seventh in touchdowns out of 34 qualifying quarterbacks on passes traveling 15-plus yards downfield.

The 49ers led the NFL with 17 interceptions on these throws.

Longer strikes were a high-risk, high-reward proposition for the Saints at Candlestick Park. Brees completed 3 of 9 passes for 111 yards with two touchdowns and two picks on these throws. He completed 37 of 54 passes for 351 yards with two touchdowns and no picks on his remaining throws.

Thanks to Matt Willis of ESPN Stats & Information for the chart info. More here.


2011 Passes Traveling 15+ Yards Past Line of Scrimmage (regular season)