Grades, analysis from SF 49ers walloping by Josh Allen, Bills

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) gets away from San Francisco 49ers defensive end Kerry Hyder (92) Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) gets away from San Francisco 49ers defensive end Kerry Hyder (92) Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /
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Kyle Shanahan, SF 49ers
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan with side judge Bob Waggoner (25) Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

SF 49ers Special Teams, Coaching Grades vs. Bills

Did Bills head coach Sean McDermott and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll outcoach Kyle Shanahan and Robert Saleh?


Were there things Shanahan and Saleh could have done differently? Yes. Is it solely a matter of bad coaching in Week 13? Not necessarily.

To be fair, not even mentioning all the injuries, let’s admit the move from Levi’s Stadium to State Farm Stadium for an undetermined length of time probably had more of a negative impact on the SF 49ers than anything positive. Shanahan and Saleh wouldn’t ever use that as an excuse, but it’s pretty clear the exodus from Santa Clara County isn’t a good thing.


Kicker Robbie Gould was perfect on his lone field-goal try and made all three of his extra-point attempts. That’s a bonus.

And San Francisco might have something in a good return specialist, Brandon Aiyuk, who had a nifty 16-yard return.

But if you’re hoping special teams would be the difference-maker in Week 13, you were wrong.


Players make the plays. Coaches can only prepare them.

Yes, the SF 49ers have a shortage of impact players this season because of injuries. That’s true. But there were more than a few questionable decisions by Shanahan and Saleh throughout the game.

San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers /

San Francisco 49ers

Granted, Saleh tried moving away from zone coverage in the second half after Josh Allen was picking it apart with ease. Yet that was too little, too late. The lack of a pass rush gave Allen far too much time, too, although blitzing was going to come with its own risks. Perhaps some more strong-side blitzes would have worked, forcing Allen to his left. Yet those were few and far between.

More questionable decisions could loom from Shanahan’s perspective, though.

For starters, hurry-up offenses seemed to work after halftime, as the Bills had their own difficulties adjusting to San Francisco’s uptempo work. It’s a wonder why Shanahan didn’t try going that route earlier.

It’s also a wonder why Deebo Samuel had just one touch in the first half after enjoying a career-best game the week before against the Rams. 49ers players after the game seemed to suggest Shanahan had an excellent game plan for Week 13, only they didn’t execute. But one has to question some of the actual coaching decisions for the bout, too.

And for the most part, they weren’t overly good. At all.

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At 5-7 now, the SF 49ers are looking much more like they’ll be sitting at home this January instead of participating in the playoffs. It might not be a terrible thing, after all, as it would have been tough for them to make it into the postseason very far.

Still, this loss was an absolute gut punch.