We’re past the midseason mark and still have some football left. It’s time to look at all the 49ers units and discuss what we like and don’t like out of them for 2018.
There’s been a lot of detrimental things for the San Francisco 49ers’ 2018 season, special teams play has not been one of them. Yes, the group has surrendered a big run or two, but they mostly have done their job pinning the opposing team back on punts, making the right decisions on running things out, and not sacrificing devastating plays.
D.J. Reed has shown his wheels, though coughed up a crucial fumble a few weeks later. Regardless of the latter, he averages 30.12 yards per return, putting him in the upper half of returners—not bad for a rookie.
The special teams have taken a slight regression and a hit with the loss of Raheem Mostert for the season due to a broken arm he suffered against the Oakland Raiders. While Mostert has been making a name for himself as a running back, he is invaluable on the team as a special teams gunner. His absence was felt against the New York Giants on Monday Night as they managed to break out a few nice returns, setting up good field position.
Kicker Robbie Gould continues to be great, missing only one extra point (in a year where the league’s kickers seem to have caught a bug on this) and not missing a single field goal. That is a bright spot for this team as a whole. Note: there is a field goal attempt that was botched, but due to Gould never ‘kicking’ the ball, it doesn’t register as a miss.
Unfortunately, punter Bradley Pinion, while not horrible, has been quiet. In 2018, Pinion averages 44.6 yards/punt, putting him at 21st against other punters. Pinion’s punting has been satisfactory. Football Outsiders ranks the 49ers 26th in punting. He did win special teams player of the week in Week 9, but it was against the Oakland Raiders.
Special teams is one of those units where if you aren’t talking about them, they are doing their job and the 49ers special teams fits that description. While they are not world beaters in their kicking/punting units, they are at least not giving up a majority of blown plays. Their field goal units are doing their job as well given only one field goal that worked against them.
What are your impressions of the special teams at midseason?