Week 8 was a complete mismatch between teams, and the end result showed.
Yet one of San Francisco’s biggest strengths this season had been its special teams units. For the most part, this group performed well enough, aside from that fourth-quarter field-goal attempt.
As far as head coach Kyle Shanahan and his staff? Well, it’s hard to dial up a game plan while dealing with so many key injuries. But it’s pretty clear the defense is massively ahead of what Shanahan’s offense wants to do.
Punter Bradley Pinion’s leg sure was busy during the contest, punting X times during the contest.
The Eagles managed to return two of these for 14 yards, so at least the Niners coverage units did their job enough.
But, of course, we can’t overlook the blocked field goal early in the fourth quarter:
Just another insult for the Niners.
Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh gets some points for having an injury-riddled defense holding tight for the vast majority of the contest.
Things started to get out of hand for San Francisco late, especially after the Niners offense couldn’t get anything going.
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One of the bigger areas of concern for Shanahan might be why he’s dialing up longer routes for his receivers on first- and second-down plays, especially with his quarterback, C.J. Beathard, struggling with both accuracy and pocket presence.
Maybe Shanahan adjusted later, as we started to see more screens and high-percentage passes, but this was too little, too late.
On a positive note, the Niners were penalized six times for 69 yards. That makes two weeks in a row where yellow flags haven’t been the story for San Francisco.
The Niners limp home after their fourth road contest in five games, this time to host the 3-4 Arizona Cardinals, who are coming off their bye week and will be without quarterback Carson Palmer (arm).
Week 9 might be the best chance San Francisco has had to win this season.