Johnson took control when Jimmy Raye was fired by the team Sept. 27, and two weeks later the San Francisco offense appears more potent and capable of striking at opponents in an increased variety of ways.
Keeping in tune with the run-oriented mandate of head coach Mike Singletary, Johnson is finding ways to spread the field and get more of the team's offensive weapons involved.
"I don't think we've changed it, but we've opened it up a little bit more," receiver Josh Morgan said Thursday. "We have too much talent to make ourselves one-dimensional. We're opening up and giving everybody a chance to make plays and taking advantage of all our talent instead of just relying on certain guys."
Johnson, San Francisco's quarterbacks coach before being promoted last month, settled into an effective play-calling groove during last week's narrow 27-24 loss to Philadelphia, Johnson's second game in his new role.
The 49ers moved the ball consistently throughout the evening on their way to a season high for points scored in a game. That total likely would have been higher if San Francisco had not stopped itself with five turnovers, four of them coming in Philadelphia territory.
Johnson's imprint on the attack was evident as quarterback Alex Smith connected at least twice with six different receiving targets while throwing for a season-high 309 yards and three touchdowns. It was just the second 300-yard passing game of Smith's six-year career.
"I think it's evolving," Johnson said. "As that game got going the other day, it started getting into a rhythm and a comfort zone of what we want to become. And as we go forward, there will be an evolution into the type of offense that I want to run and we want to run as an offensive staff."
The 49ers weren't getting there under Raye, whose predictable offense ranked just 27th in the NFL last year during Raye's first season with the team.
Raye's offense relied heavily on running back Frank Gore, who leads the NFC and ranks second in the NFL in total yards from scrimmage. San Francisco's offense still revolves around the two-time Pro Bowler, who has 124 touches through five games, but Johnson is spreading the ball around and giving opposing defenses more things to worry about.
Crabtree and Davis became the first pair of 49ers to record 100 yards receiving in the same game since Jerry Rice and J.J. Stokes did it in 2000.
"We want to make sure we get the ball to 85 (Davis), 15 (Crabtree) and 21 (Gore) and give them opportunities to make plays every week," Johnson said. "If we get those guys the ball enough, they're going to make plays and score points and that's going to be a big part of what we do going forward."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press