49ers vs. Bills: Penalties, special teams miscues provide room for growth

Thearon W. Henderson - Getty Images

We take a look at the 49ers performance against the Bills, and the fact that there remains room for growth after a record-setting performance.

Sunday afternoon, the San Francisco 49ers put together a thoroughly dominant 45-3 victory over the Buffalo Bills. The 49ers dominated on offense and defense, en route to rolling out the most total yards in franchise history. Say what you want about the opposition, but the 49ers executed their game plan and crushed the Bills.

And yet, the 49ers could have actually done so much more. I don't want to be the wet blanket in this party, but in terms of trying to figure out how to improve, the 49ers "thankfully" have areas where they can still improve. I say thankfully because as long as the 49ers can keep improving, I think it is a good thing. They won't win 45-3 every week, but they can continue to put together improved performances.

The two issues in Sunday's win would be the first half penalties and the special teams coverage units. The 49ers obviously overcame these two issues, but they are things the team can work on heading into next week's game against the Giants.

The 49ers had seven penalties for 53 yards, with two penalties erasing 62 yards of offense. Vernon Davis hauled in 21-yard reception that was called back on a Mike Iupati holding call, while Michael Crabtree had a 41-yard reception called back on a chop block by Frank Gore. Leaving points on the field was not an issue against the Bills, but there will be plenty of other games where penalties could have a big impact.

Special teams coverage continues to be an issue for the 49ers. The Bills averaged 43.5 yards on kick returns and had a 28-yard punt return. Additionally, Leodis McKelvin had an 80-yard punt return called back on a holding call. The returns did not hurt the 49ers yesterday, but this remains an area for improvement moving forward. The 49ers coverage units remain arguably the biggest weakness on the team at this point.

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