PR Richie James
Wide receiver Richie James played mostly on special teams, a by-product of the 49ers’ run-first game-plan on offense. When he returned punts, he was electric, averaging 32 yards a return.
The problem was James only returned the one punt for 32 yards near the end of the first half. He constantly let the ball pass by him, calling fair catch after fair catch.
None of those times was a good decision.
Browns punter Jamie Gillan is a good player. James made him look elite. Because of good Cleveland bounces when James didn’t field the ball, Gillan had a 56.7 yards-per-punt average with four punts inside the 20-yard line.
On the only kick return of the night, James took the ball at the 6-yard line and stumbled out of bounds at the 10. Simply put, that should never happen.
Again, these are small issues which don’t matter in a blowout, but do in a slugfest the 49ers will eventually play.