After highlighting the pre-game matchups to watch and post-game. Week three of the preseason is a done deal and we once again go inside the game to give you a thorough breakdown of each unit going in-depth as only we do. Let’s see what went well, and not so well, in the week three dress rehearsal for the return game/special teams.
Assessment: Week three didn’t bring as many opportunities as the previous weeks as only two total returns for a total of 38 yards were registered on the night. Victor Bolden Jr. accounted for one return for 28 yards while Trent Taylor produced one return for 10 yards. Bolden, with his display of speed and elusiveness, looks to be a good fit for a kick return specialist role and could very well sneak his way onto the final roster, or worst-case, a practice squad slot. However, don’t sleep on running back Raheem Mostert who showed some versatility with his offensive ability and has shown his ability to make an impact on special teams.
Return Stats thru week three:
Victor Bolden: 8 returns, 275 yards, 34.3 yards per average, one touchdown
Raheem Mostert: 2 returns, 42 yards, 21 yards per average
Trent Taylor: 5 returns, 58 yards, 11.6 yards per average
Assessment: This looked to be the most consistent part of this unit as they had been able to keep return yards to a minimum and not allow any significant return yardage through the first two weeks. This week, however, did not bring the same results, as the unit gave up 159 return yards on four attempts, with the chunk of that coming on a 108-yard return right before the end of the third quarter by Jerick McKinnon, giving the Minnesota Vikings life going into the 4th quarter just as the 49ers looked to be putting the game away. These are the type of back-breaking plays that swing momentum and show a lack of sustained focus and killer instinct. Special teams coach Richard Hightower must work diligently with this unit to stay disciplined and not lose focus in crucial moments in the game.
Assessment: Backup Nick Rose may find himself fighting for a starting role after nailing a 55-yard attempt with plenty of room to spare. Although Robbie Gould will still hold the keys to the 49ers job, Rose has certainly proven that he’s capable, and may have other suitors come calling if he is not kept on the roster for emergency purposes in case of injury. Brad Pinion remained solid with an average of 44.6 yards per punt.
Kicker Stats thru week three
Robbie Gould has made 2 out 3 field goals at a rate of 67% with one field goal being blocked through three preseason games.
Nick Rose has cashed in on 3 out of 3 opportunities at a rate of 100% (stats courtesy of NFL.com).
Expectations for Week Four against the LA Chargers
Week four will basically be a chance for back-ups fighting for a chance to solidify a roster spot as the regular season draws near. This will create valuable reps on the special team’s unit, as this will indeed be the last opportunity for some of the bubble players to rise to the occasion. Look for each player given an opportunity to step their performance up to the next level, looking to force an impact turnover or make that big hit to stand out from the crowd. Who will step up to the challenge and solidify their spot in the finale of the preseason? Keep your eyes wide open!
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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus, 49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author, Irvin Johnson Staff Writer at Niners Live. Content Creator, Editor Sequoia Sims.