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Instant Reaction: 49ers refuse to learn their lesson, lose yet again

How many times can they make the same mistakes?

Washington Football Team v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

They say that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Apparently Kyle Shanahan and Nick Mullens are very poor students, because they keep making the same mistakes over and over and over again.

San Francisco turned the ball over 2+ times for the seventh straight game and the 49ers lost to Alex Smith and the Washington Football Team, 23-15. The Niners are now 5-8 on the season after losing for the fifth time in their last six games.

Nick Mullens was his usual charitable self, giving the Football Team touchdowns on both a fumble recovery and a pick-six. The latter turnover was especially crippling as the 49ers were in the midst of a ten play drive at the end of the third quarter that would have made it a one score game if it had ended in any points whatsoever. As radio analyst Tim Ryan said after the play, “that’s as bad as it gets.”

More concerning, for me at least, was the mistake that Kyle Shanahan made late in the fourth quarter. With the score 23-15, San Francisco faced a 4th and 1 at their own 41 yard line with 4:04 remaining, and all three timeouts. Instead of trying to gain one yard and keep the drive going, Shanahan elected to punt the ball back to Washington.

The Football Team took over at the 1 yard line with 3:50 left. Thanks to a three-and-out by the defense (and two inexplicable timeouts by Shanahan), the 49ers got the ball back at their 48 yard line with 2:40 left in the game.

So, in case you’re not keeping track at home, the 49ers spent two timeouts and 1:24 of game time to gain seven yards of field position.

For some reason, the 49ers continue to punt the ball on fourth and short, which is literally making it harder for them to win football games. They have made this same mistake multiple times this season, and also made it multiple times last season.

The poor game management spoiled an other-worldly performance by Robert Saleh’s defense, who held Washington to 0 offensive touchdowns, 193 total yards, and 3.1 yards per play.

Oh, and Deebo Samuel and Fred Warner both got hurt. Cause you know, 2020.

To hear me throw out my voice complaining about these things, or if you just want someone to share your sorrows, commiserate with me on the Instant Reaction podcast. Find it on iTunes, Spotify, and at the top of this page.

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