After highlighting the pre-game matchups to watch and the post-game, Niners Live now takes you on a journey inside the game and gives you a thorough breakdown of each unit going in-depth as only we do. Let’s take a look at the week three match-up against the Los Angeles Rams for the return game/special teams.
Assessment: This was hands-down the best and most impactful performance by the special teams thus far this season. It was clear that Special Teams coach Richard Hightower had this unit on their P’s and Q’s last night and ready to make their presence felt in this game forcing two turnovers and recovering an onside kick. Some special players stepped up to the plate and made some big plays to give the team some momentum and put them in a position to recover from a deep hole late in the game and almost come away with an improbable victory.
- Brad Pinion, the punter, accounted for two punts for 83 yards for an average of 41.5, with two pinned inside the 20 and his longest being 51 yards, allowing the coverage team to make plays on the ball. Overall another solid performance.
- Robbie Gould went 2 for 2 and his longest came on a 48-yard attempt, establishing a 100% conversion rate. However, his missed extra point early in the 4th quarter would end up coming back to haunt the 49ers in the end and cost them an opportunity to tie the game after a late touchdown.
- Raheem Mostert came up big late in the 4th quarter after a touchdown and missed a two-point conversion by the offense. He showed his great awareness and hands coming up with a huge recovery after a perfectly executed onside kick by Robbie Gould.
- Victor Bolden Jr. had two kick returns for 36 yards at an 18-yard average with an 18-yard return being his longest, however his biggest play of the game came late in the fourth quarter after the offense scored a touchdown to bring the 49ers within a score. Bolden made a textbook hit on the ball forcing Rams kick returner Pharaoh Cooper to fumble, which was recovered by wide receiver Aldrick Robinson to set up a potential game-tying score.
- Trent Taylor returned one punt for nine yards.
- Kyle Nelson had a fumble recovery on a heady play in the second quarter after a Brad Pinion punt that was muffed by Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin.
Expectation for week Four versus the Arizona Cardinals
The 49ers will come into week four desperately needing a win to stay afloat in the division and avoid losing three straight division games. With the improved play from the special teams, look for a heightened presence from this unit in this game and for the rest of the season going forward to make big plays and give the team that extra momentum it needs. The 49ers will rely on a few big plays for this unit every week to give them an opportunity to be competitive this season.
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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.