SF 49ers vs. Bills: 5 biggest disappointments from Week 13 loss
By Peter Panacy
Disappointment No. 2: Robert Saleh not adjusting SF 49ers defense
In fairness to Robert Saleh, there was almost nothing he was doing, schematically, that seemed to work with any sort of regularity against Buffalo’s defense.
When Saleh called for zone coverage, Josh Allen simply found the soft spots and picked up chunk yards. When the SF 49ers played man, there were wide-open Bills pass-catchers to torment the secondary. The Niners’ blitzes didn’t particularly work either, as Allen simply evaded pressure and extended plays with his legs, then picking on slower, less-experienced San Francisco defensive backs like Dontae Johnson.
In a sense, when Saleh zigged, Buffalo zagged.
Still, that deserves a good deal of criticism in itself. Saleh did go to more man coverages later in the game, but it would have been wiser to make the switch earlier. And perhaps his cornerbacks should have employed more press coverage against sub-200-pound wideouts like Cole Beasley and Stefon Diggs instead of allowing them free releases.
Whatever the case may be, Saleh’s ascending stock value as a potential head coach someday certainly took a hit for his game-planning efforts in Week 13.