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No explanation for Nelson's long-snapping woes in 49ers' win

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Kyle Nelson has been the most anonymous of those with regular roles on the 49ers over the past six seasons. 

But that changed on Sunday.

And that’s never a good thing when your job is to go unnoticed.

The 49ers did not attempt a punt for only the eighth time in franchise history in Sunday's 36-9 win over the New York Giants. It was the first time since a 1993 game at Detroit their punter did not have an attempt.

But that does not mean it was an easy day for Nelson, the team's long snapper.

Nelson was called on to snap for eight field goals and extra points, but he was all over the place with his snaps -- high, low and just about anywhere but its intended mark.

“We know he obviously struggled today,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. "He’s done a real good job throughout his career, and he’s helped us out a ton. Today wasn’t that case.

“Fortunately, it didn’t end up costing us anything.”

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Two of his first five snaps were bad. Then, he missed badly on his final three snaps at the standard 8-yard depth for placements.

Nelson saw two of his second-half snaps get away from holder Mitch Wishnowsky on extra-point attempts. One resulted in a failed extra point. They got another chance on the first when the Giants were called for a penalty.

Afterward, Nelson looked distraught on the sideline, and TV cameras captured many of his teammates attempting to console and encourage him.

When asked if Nelson was struggling with an injury or, perhaps, some other issue, Shanahan answered, “Not that I know of. I don’t think so.”

There was no immediate reason why someone who has been as consistent as Nelson would suddenly go sideways without any warning.

Finally, when the 49ers scored on Jeff Wilson’s 2-yard touchdown run with 3:35 remaining in the game, the 49ers sent in backup offensive lineman Justin Skule to handle the long-snapping chores.


“We were just looking at the other options, obviously, Kyle was struggling in that game," Shanahan said. "And kind of when you struggle and get the yips a little bit on that, we wanted to see who else could do that."

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Skule’s effort was on target.

And, now, Nelson has to snap back to his form of the past to fade back into anonymity -- the place any player at his position considers perfection.