Special Teams and Coaching
49ers kicker Robbie Gould didn’t have a field-goal opportunity, but was perfect on his three extra-point attempts. Both San Francisco punters ate their Wheaties prior to the game, as Bradley Pinion averaged 48 yards per punt while Jeff Locke‘s lone punt was a 50-yarder. The 49ers’ punt coverage unit was quite effective, but the team allowed a 30-yard kick return, and a 63-yard kick return in the closing minutes which sealed the game for Los Angeles. Victor Bolden had a poor day as a returner, while James had a 23-yard punt return to go along with two shorter returns.
Simply put, Shanahan dodged a bullet last night — and it’s concerning that he didn’t learn his lesson from a week before. A healthy Foster shouldn’t have been on the field yesterday — and certainly not in the second quarter of the game. Given the fact that Foster was recovering from a concussion from just five days prior, Foster had no business playing in the 49ers’ final preseason game.
Foster also shouldn’t have been on the field in the third quarter of last week’s game, and the linebacker paid the price by sustaining a concussion. While it’s true that Foster won’t play for the next two weeks, he’s not the type of player who needs recent game action to maintain his edge; all Foster needs is to be healthy.
Imagine if Foster sustained a season-ending injury in the second quarter of the 49ers’ fourth preseason game. It’s a matter of risk versus reward, and the reward is difficult to determine; it’s likely there is none.
For anyone who’s studied Shanahan, it’s clear that he’s one of the brightest young minds in the NFL — but he wasn’t particularly bright today.
With the preseason complete, the San Francisco 49ers begin the 2018 regular season against the Minnesota Vikings next Sunday, September 9, 2018, at 1 p.m E.T.