No. 1: Red-Zone Offense Still Needs Work
One aspect of the 49ers, which hasn’t been in doubt for the last two seasons, is whether or not their kicking game would perform well. There was some speculation this offseason their special teams unit could take a hit with kicker Robbie Gould‘s contract status in doubt.
For a team with so many questions entering the season, one area it could ill-afford to worry with was if the kicker would be a reliable option. By re-signing Gould to a minimum two-year contract at the league deadline, the front office made sure it wouldn’t be an issue.
Gould finished the game 3-of-4 on his field-goal attempts, with his lone miss coming on a 57-yard attempt that, in hindsight, should have never been attempted. It would have made more sense for Kyle Shanahan to call out rookie punter Mitch Wishnowsky and try to pin the Buccaneers deep in their own territory.
It’s a good thing the 49ers can count on Gould to be virtually automatic again this season, as their red-zone offense appears to still be a work in progress.
Three trips inside Tampa Bay’s 20-yard line, and they only managed three field goals.
Sure, some of this can be attributed to the penalties which negated three touchdowns. But the point remains: Shanahan has to get a handle on these shooting-themselves-in-the-foot mistakes, or it’s going to be another long season in Santa Clara.