49ers Special Teams and Coaching Grades
Kicker Robbie Gould converted his one short field-goal try, and booted through all three extra points. Punter Bradley Although Pinion didn’t allow a kickoff return, both of his punts were returnable, likely due to his 49.5 yards-per-punt average. Luckily, both were returned for negligible yardage. The 49ers’ return team didn’t see much action during the game, as Los Angeles didn’t give the Niners an opportunity to return any of their three punts. San Francisco was only able to return one of the Rams’ eight kickoffs, which James returned for 25 yards.
It’s hard to tell what Shanahan had planned for Sunday’s matchup with the Rams, as his game plan went out the window after San Francisco turned the ball over four times in their first five possessions, which allowed the Rams to build a sizeable lead. At least Shanahan made the conscious effort to keep feeding Kittle in the game’s closing minutes. In Week 14, Shanahan forgot about his top offensive weapon during the entire second half, after his tight end nearly broke the NFL’s single-game record for receiving yards by a tight end in the first 30 minutes of the contest.
After weeks of improved play thanks to increased quarterback pressure, Saleh showed us how bad his defense can be if his front four fail to keep the opposing quarterback out of rhythm. During his two years as a defensive coordinator, Saleh has gained both knowledge and experience, but he still lacks the ability to make necessary in-game changes. Given how dependent Saleh’s defense is on a strong pass rush, the 49ers should add as many pass-rushing pieces as possible over the offseason.
Overall, the 49ers played poorly on Sunday, but with the talent level of the players on the field, San Francisco’s coaching staff deserves somewhat of a pass for the team’s final game of 2018.
The San Francisco 49ers officially finished the 2018 NFL regular season on Sunday, but the NFL football season never truly ends. Stick with us here at Niner Noise as we continue to bring you breaking news and analysis throughout the year.