All things were sailing smoothly for the 49ers special teams — that is until they weren’t. Backup kicker Nick Rose nailed a 55-yard field goal, and starting kicker Robbie Gould made all three of his extra point attempts.
But the kickoff unit failed miserably — Minnesota running back Jerick McKinnon returned a kick 108 yards for a touchdown. That kind of play is what dooms teams.
Finally, a game with few penalties. All preseason, it’s been something the 49ers have struggled with. In total, the team had nine penalties versus the Vikings, but only two with the starting units.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan got back into his offensive groove again, appearing to dive a bit deeper into his playbook than he has this preseason. San Francisco gained 471 yards as a team, an indicator of productive football. Shanahan is showing himself to be a master of offense.
Despite the loss, it was a much more positive performance put on by the 49ers. The starters, in their time spent on the field, made an impact. It’s a nice confidence booster for the first-team units as the regular season draws closer.