4 stats where 49ers were shockingly bad during 2021

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Josh Norman, San Francisco 49ers, Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Josh Norman (26) is called for pass interference against Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 1: 49ers had bottom-3 ranking for penalty yards

Typically, poorly coached teams or teams with new coaches are the ones most prone to getting hit with a lot of penalties.

When thinking about 2021, the Dallas Cowboys and their league-high 127 penalties against over the course of the regular season comes to mind.

With 102 penalties against, San Francisco doesn’t exactly seem to have had a problem in the yellow-flag department. But, when one looks at the nature of those penalties and the sheer number of penalty yards they created, the outlook is bad.

The 49ers were hit with a whopping 1,066 penalty yards over the course of the regular season, third worst in the league and only trailing the Cowboys (1,104) and the Las Vegas Raiders (1,103).

But what truly stands out is the kind of penalties that hurt the Niners the most: defensive pass interference and defensive holding.

These kinds of automatic first-down calls plagued San Francisco all year, particularly with cornerback Josh Norman being hit with seven such calls over the course of 2021. In terms of pure pass-interference calls, though, no team came close to the 49ers’ 20 DPI flags between Weeks 1 and 18.

That’s six more than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had in the next-highest slot.

Perhaps bidding farewell to Norman this offseason will help, but this issue was nevertheless a challenge the Niners must resolve entering 2022.

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