I just watched the replay of Kyle Williams' 94 yard kickoff return, and I noticed something strange about the formation. Apparently Brad Seely had added Daniel Kilgore, Will Tukuafu, and Demarcus Dobbs to the kick return team, approximately 900 pounds of special teams fullbacks. And that's before you add in two actual fullbacks on the field, Bruce Miller and Anthony Dixon. But none of those guys are fast enough to actually do anything, right?
The return team gets into position. Blue - DT/TE Demarcus Dobbs. Red - TE Delanie Walker. Orange - KR Kyle Williams. Yellow - G Daniel Kilgore. Green - DT/NT Will Tukuafu.
Wrong. Kilgore and Tukuafu, who both started on the center-right side of the formation, end up running about 35 yards to the left sideline to lead the attack. How many linemen can do that?
WIlliams returns the punt deep out of the end zone, behind a Kilgore/Tukuafu wedge and Delanie Walker at fullback. The rest of the return team pushes the Vikings to the center of the field, setting up an outside return.
Kilgore, Tukuafu, and Dobbs all land their blocks against Vikings who are 5-7 inches shorter than they are, and 70-100 pounds lighter.
The forward return team walls off everyone but two members of the coverage team, with key blocks from Larry Grant (top center) and Demarcus Dobbs (center). The 6'4", 293 lb Tukuafu (bottom center) swallows up the 5'10", 175 lb Vikings defender Marcus Sherels. Daniel Kilgore's gunner (bottom left) falls to the ground in an attempt to go around him -- it does not work.
The hole they open is so big, in fact, that Kyle Williams and Delanie Walker run through untouched. Walker finally lands a block at the Niners' 40 yard line, adding another 40 yards to Williams' return.
The return team opens up a 6 yard hole in the middle of coverage unit, with Tukuafu (left, seen locked up on his man) and Dobbs (right, seen violently throwing his defender to the ground) holding the edges.
Personally, after the Green Bay game I was doubting whether Seely could put together an elite special teams unit again this season. But I'm not worried anymore. It takes a certain kind of genius to put 3 linemen on your return team, and its clearly been effective.