49ers Special Teams, Coaching Grades
Just like so many other issues the 49ers have dealt with this season, 2021 is proving to be a season of extremes.
Both for Kyle Shanahan and DeMeco Ryans.
That in of itself might not be a good thing. But what is good is the fact Shanahan reversed the narrative he doesn’t have his finger on proper play-calling this season.
Special Teams: A+
It might have been easy enough to give the Niners’ special teams unit an A-grade without having to do much, particularly noting kicker Robbie Gould made all his extra-point attempts and successfully converted a 50-yard field goal.
Yet one of San Francisco’s best moments on this third phase came when Talanoa Hufanga and defensive tackle D.J. Jones sniffed out a fake Rams field-goal try. And while Jones traveled a great distance to make the tackle, watch Hufanga redirect himself to take down punter/holder Johnny Hekker:
That alone was the reason why it’s still super easy to give this unit the A-grade.
Shanahan got back to his roots, running the ball, and Ryans did his best to put his best position group, the linebackers, into position to make plays.
Los Angeles was going to do damage through the air, and one might argue the Rams committed more problems for themselves than anything the 49ers defense did.
A few things here, though.
The Niners forced the Rams to go 3-of-10 on third downs, while Shanahan’s offense converted 8-of-14 third-down attempts and had a perfect 5-of-5 mark to start the game. And on one of those failed third-down conversions, Shanahan called for a fourth-down try that resulted in a Deebo Samuel touchdown.
Whatever Shanahan’s goal was for Week 10, it worked and then some. Now, it’s time for San Francisco to maintain that kind of intensity.