49ers don’t get good game grades after loss to Seahawks

George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers catches the ball over D.J. Reed #2 of the Seattle Seahawks (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers catches the ball over D.J. Reed #2 of the Seattle Seahawks (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /
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Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers Special Teams, Coaching Grades vs. Seahawks

The idea the 49ers could simply outpossess the Seahawks in Week 13 went out the window, impacted by the fact the Niners couldn’t win the turnover battle either, tying the Hawks with three turnovers apiece.

That said, the missed opportunities and self-inflicted wounds, both by the coaching staff and special teams, hurt matters a lot for the red and gold.

Special Teams: F

A team with three wins should always be dangerous when it comes to trick plays, and Seattle executed a fake punt after its opening possession went 3-and-out, executing it to perfection for a 73-yard touchdown, one which San Francisco had no clue was coming:

Unreal and inexcusable. Except that wasn’t the only gaffe.

Kick returner Trenton Cannon suffered a concussion on the opening kickoff, forcing wide receiver Travis Benjamin into the role, and his fumble led to a crazy stretch of back-and-forth momentum, ultimately culminating in Jimmy Garoppolo’s safety.

That’s not it, though.

The 49ers’ coverage units surrendered a whopping 148 yards on six kick returns, which doesn’t bode well at all either and helped set up the Seahawks with more than a few favorable field positions.

And we didn’t even mention kicker Robbie Gould missing his first extra-point attempt of the season. At least he was perfect elsewhere.

Special teams won’t necessarily win games alone, but this unit can certainly lose them. That happened here.

Coaching: D

Special teams coach Richard Hightower is going to receive a lot of criticism for what happened against the Hawks, and it’s going to be deserved.

And Kyle Shanahan will also receive some criticism, too. Not necessarily because of his game plan, which essentially had to go right out the window after Seattle’s initial special teams touchdown and the Garoppolo interceptions.

Read More: George Kittle carried 49ers’ first-half efforts vs. Seahawks

But rather because of the lackluster offensive efforts in the second half, as the Niners watched the Seahawks score 16 unanswered points, and San Francisco failed to score at all in the third and fourth quarters.

A couple of stats that reveal why Shanahan didn’t bring his best game.

For starters, the 49ers went only 1-of-2 in the red zone after entering the game with a 77-percent conversion rate, and a 3-of-10 mark on third downs won’t help matters either.

Neither will those 10 penalties for 86 yards. While both teams played an ugly game, the Niners were far less disciplined in a game where they had to be.

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