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Jim Tomsula wants more attacking on defense, as team punts too much on offense

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The San Francisco 49ers defense was thoroughly run over on Sunday, giving up a franchise record in rushing yards, and letting Russell Wilson pick them apart on three separate touchdowns. A big problem was in the tackling, or lack thereof. The team could not seem to tackle anybody on the first try, and second chance yards killed them.

On Monday, head coach Jim Tomsula suggested the team needed to be more aggressive, and attack more, particularly when tackling:

"Yeah, I think it was a common thread, it was almost, I got the feeling, and again watching the tape, I use the term, ‘Don't play not to make a mistake and don't tackle being afraid to miss the tackle.' Be more attacking. And I felt like that's what our problems were. We weren't, go get ‘em."

That puts this more on the players than the coaches, but it is a little difficult to take that entirely seriously when the team is playing overly conservative in the closing minutes of the game. The 49ers used their timeouts like they wanted to get stops, but some of their punting decisions were curious at best, and awful at worst.

The team punted with 5:45 to go, and again with 3:09 to go. They faced 4th and 13 on their 25 and 4th and 8 on their 11, respectively. On Sunday, Tomsula talked about wanting to get the stop and get a chance to cut into a two-score lead, rather than blow the 4th down conversion and turn it into a three score game.

On Monday, he was asked again about the decision to punt, and if he would do it again.

"The two that we had discussions on on the sidelines that I was contemplating was 5:40-5:45, we punted, I think we were on the 23 and it was a two score game. Going into it we're thinking, OK we've got to get two touchdowns and two two-point conversions. That's the way we've got to play this right now. And then, when it got to the, I think it was three minutes, or 3:09, it was right around three minutes and we had two timeouts and at the five minute we still had the three timeouts. So, we had the two timeouts and the two minute. So, my point was if we were close, if we got that thing up there in a 4th-and-short then there was going to be a decision for me. But, after we got backed up there it was 4th-and-13 I think, we're on the 11-yard line and we're going to punt that ball. If you go for a 4th down right there, we are going to go make it a three point, if something happens it's a three possession game. So, we wanted to punt it, use the two timeouts, get to the two-minute drill and onside kick and try to win the game. That's what I thought. That's what I still think. I would have done that in that area of the field."

I can wrap my head around the punt with just under six minutes left. I still think you go for it, but I can at least get it. But down two full possessions with 3:09 to go, I just don't see how that makes sense. Thomas Rawls had run over that defense all day, so right off the bat you're assuming you can stop him on a three and out. That did not happen after the 3:09 punt, as Rawls had one run of 22 yards, one for no gain, one for two yards, and one for ten yards. Three Russell Wilson kneel-downs later, and it was over.

Tomsula talked about how on those 4th and long situations, a defense can pin its ears back to make the stop. I get that the team has to deal with that, but that's why they have plays in the playbook for that kind of situation.