SANTA CLARA -- After a tumultuous offseason and the worst stretch of his 15-year career, 49ers kicker Robbie Gould concluded the 2019 regular season in familiar fashion.
Gould was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for December last week. It is the third consecutive season in which Gould won the award for the final month of the regular season.
“It’s been an interesting year, to say the least,” Gould said. “But sometimes these are the years that make you stronger and make you better as a player.”
Gould’s December success marked a stark contrast to the first three months of the season, as the 49ers were going through long-snappers like coffee filters in the first seven weeks of the season.
Finally, long-time long-snapper Kyle Nelson was able to rejoin the team in Week 8 after serving a suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. But, then, Gould went on the shelf for three games due to a quadriceps injury.
Gould returned to action at the start of the month and made 10 of 11 field-goal attempts, including walk-off kicks to beat the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams.
For a good portion of the season, Gould had to get acclimated to being the only member of the important long-snapper to holder to kicker function.
The 49ers cycled through Colin Holba, Jon Condo and Garrison Sanborn handling the snapping duties before Nelson’s return. Rookie punter Mitch Wishnowsky also was taking over from Bradley Pinion as the holder.
Nelson, Pinion and Gould teamed up during the two-season stretch in which Gould made 72 of 75 field-goal attempts in 2017 and ’18, and he entered this season as the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history.
Now, Gould and Co. appear to be getting closer to the success experienced from the team’s placekicking team from the past two seasons.
“It was a matter of trying to get some rhythm and timing and tempo,” Gould said. “Obviously, Kyle and Mitch being together and working the way they have, and the way Kyle’s been snapping and the way the guys have been blocking, has been really easy for me because I can go out there and swing easy.”
Gould did not sign his tender as the team’s franchise player in the offseason during what appeared to be acrimonious contract negotiations. Then, shortly before the deadline to sign a multi-year deal, the sides struck a pact on a four-year, $19 million contract.
But things did not go smoothly from there. Gould’s eight missed field goals this season are the most in a single season in his career. He was 0-for-4 on kicks of 50 yards or more. But he said his confidence never waned.
“No, my confidence has never been an issue,” Gould said. “It’s just a matter of things happen that are out of your control. You can only control what you can control. Obviously, there’s a lot that happened this season.
“It’s taken a little while longer to get in rhythm. At least right now, it’s happening at the right time and we got to continue to work together and get better. Every point matters. Every point counts.”