49ers Week 9 Special Teams, Coaching Grades
Week 9 marked the first time the Niners were able to play inside a dome, yet the field-goal services from kicker Robbie Gould weren’t needed.
So much for completely rectifying some of his field-goal woes from this season.
Gould made all four of his extra-point attempts, and the hope is he’s redeveloped the specialist battery with long-snapper Kyle Nelson, who returned from his 10-game suspension last week.
Punter Mitch Wishnowsky was busy, punting five times, which marked a game high in his young career. San Francisco’s coverage units gave up some decent returns to Cardinals return specialist Pharoh Cooper.
From the offensive vantage point, Kyle Shanahan dialed up a phenomenal game, particularly with Jimmy Garoppolo and the pass attack.
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And while the ground game wasn’t working to perfection, it at least picked up chunk yards late in the first half, when the 49ers were looking to pad what was then shaping up to be a comfortable lead.
Give kudos to Shanahan for helping engineer San Francisco’s third-down success, too. Going a perfect 2-of-2 in the red zone, an area where Shanahan and the Niners have struggled this year, also bodes well.
But defensive coordinator Robert Saleh had some gaffes, particularly on the long touchdown to Andy Isabella. Saleh called for man coverage, where zone would have likely been preferable. And the failure to adjust to Arizona’s uptempo offense in the second half is a bit concerning moving forward.
Thankfully, Shanahan and the offense bailed out whatever defensive struggles Saleh and his side of the ball may have had.
And the 49ers can take an extra bit of a break to figure out the shortcomings before they host the two-loss Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football in Week 10.