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SANTA CLARA -- Offensive coordinator Greg Roman said the 49ers have tried to get to the ball to tight end Vernon Davis in the red zone.
Davis, who caught 13 touchdown passes last season, had two scoring receptions in the first quarter of the 49ers’ first game of the season. Since then, Davis has been shut out. And the 49ers rank 31st in the NFL with a 39.4-percent touchdown rate on trips inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.
“He was the primary last week on a couple, but the defense a lot of times down there will basically put a bunch of people inside and leave the outside single-covered or do things to take him away, top him with a safety, etc.,” Roman said on Thursday.
“But he’s definitely been involved in the plan. Coverage has taken the quarterback away from him sometimes. But Vernon is a guy we want active in the red zone. And (we) actively work to do that.”
Roman added, “I got to do a better job of getting him the football.”
Officially, the 49ers were 0-for-4 on trips inside the Giants’ red zone last week. Frank Gore fumbled to end the first drive. The 49ers settled for field goals on the next two red-zone possessions. And the 49ers ended the game with a kneel-down to run out the clock after the Giants failed on a fourth-down play at their own 19-yard line.
“Certainly, last week wasn’t our shining moment,” Roman said. “But that’s just something we got to improve on. We’ve been up and down in the red zone this year. New Orleans, great. Last week, not-so great.”
When asked if he wants Kaepernick on occasion to try to force the ball into Davis regardless of the coverage, Roman answered, “I don’t know about that.”
The Giants came into the game with 13 interceptions. Gore’s fumble was the only 49ers turnover.
“They baited people into interceptions,” Roman said. “Another thing that was good about Colin was not getting baited into those things, things other people did. And that was a huge difference in the game.”
The 49ers’ offense, which ranks 18th in the NFL in total yards per game, scored just three points on the five interceptions the defense grabbed against Eli Manning. But Roman said it was not all bad. He pointed to six of the team’s 10 drives in which the 49ers gained multiple first downs and at least 30 yards to change field position.
“Point production, obviously, we got to produce more points,” Roman said. “We know that. And when you really look at it, we just had too many negative plays. I got to do a better job of coaching. And we do a better job of executing. There was a lot of things, beyond the point total, that were very, very positive form that game and much-improved from prior games.”