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Golden Nuggets: Could the 49ers special teams be the difference on Monday night?

San Francisco 49ers links for Saturday November 9, 2019

San Francisco 49ers v Washington Redskins Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

It was a little over ten months ago that 49ers fans were celebrating their 26-23 victory over Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks (except for those fans complaining about draft position), breaking their ten game losing streak against their division rivals.

And while many of us might have fleeting memories of Nick Mullens, George Kittle, and Dante Pettis leading the offensive charge against a toothless Seahawks defense, or DeForest Buckner and company shutting down the Hobbit and his merry band of companions, neither is entirely true.

Mullens and the offense moved the ball successfully at times, but the offensive line struggled and the running game never got off the ground. Defensively? Wilson threw for 2 TDs and no picks. Carson ran for over 100 yds, and Doug Baldwin hauled in two receiving TDs.

So how did the 49ers win? Turnovers?


Zero interceptions, and zero fumbles recovered.

The answer?

Special teams.

The 49ers special teams accounted for 20 of the 26 points scored, with a 41 yard Garrett Celek TD being the lone offensive contribution.

Richie James returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, and Robbie Gould added four field goals and two extra points, including the game winning 36 yd field goal in overtime.

As is usually the case, even the best teams require contributions from all three groups to win big games. Offense, defense, and special teams. And Monday night will be no exception.

Can Richie James repeat his performance? Is a big game from Robbie Gould - or if he doesn’t play then his rookie replacement Chase McLaughlin - in the works? Maybe Mitch Wishnowsky can help win the field position battle, or provide a turnover with one of his infamous knucklepunts.

Of course, the hope is that the offense and defense will put the game out of reach on their own, and not need the special teams to carry them. But if the game stays close - and most expect that it will - then it very well could be the 49ers special teams that is the difference between winning and losing.

And now, onto those links:

Jimmy Garoppolo delivering for 49ers on ‘money’ down (Nick Wagoner, ESPN)

5 Key Matchups: 49ers vs. Seahawks on ‘Monday Night Football’ (Matthew Asher,

49ers’ Offensive Line Depth has Been Key to the Team’s Success (Nicholas McGee,

Matt Breida on 49ers 2019 offense: ‘It’s not about the individual’ (Peter Panacy, NInerNoise)

3 reasons why 49ers lose to Seahawks on Monday Night Football (Peter Panacy, NInerNoise)

How many wins do 49ers have on Monday Night Football? (Kyle Madson, Niners Wire)

George Kittle misses practice with knee, ankle injuries (Kyle Madson, Niners Wire)

Monday’s matchup vs. Seahawks is ‘just another championship game’ for 49ers (David Bonilla, 49ers WebZone)

49ers’ C.J. Beathard strained his back trying to mimic Seahawks’ Russell Wilson during practice (David Bonilla, 49ers WebZone)

49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo enthusiastic for first start vs. Seahawks (Matt Maiocco, NBC Sports)

Jimmy Garoppolo, elite QB? (Bucky Brooks,

Around the NFL...

NFL Week 10 injuries: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Amari Cooper, Lamar Jackson ruled questionable (Cody Benjamin, CBS Sports)

Patrick Mahomes (knee) to start Sunday vs. Titans (Kevin Patra,

Redskins elect not to pay Trent Williams’ $5.1M salary (John Keim, ESPN)

Vikings rule out Adam Thielen and Linval Joseph for Cowboys game (Courtney Cronin, ESPN)

Raiders’ turnaround in 2019 starts with Jon Gruden, a dark horse for Coach of the Year (Patrick Walker, CBS Sports)