SAN FRANCISCO -- The 49ers' 31-3 win over the Cleveland Browns on Monday night was decisive and thorough.
But by no means was it perfect.
They scored on their first offensive play, yet the 49ers left points on the board at Levi's Stadium. Kicker Robbie Gould, for instance, missed three of his four field-goal attempts. The 49ers’ offense went 6-for-16 on third downs and had to settle for those aforementioned kicks.
Even the defense, coming off arguably its most dominant performance of the season, spoke of room to improve.
"I think, in some aspects, we didn't take it as high as we could have today," veteran cornerback Richard Sherman said Monday, "and so I think we've got things we can correct. That's what we're focused on.
“That's how you win football games. That's how you win for a long time."
Sherman and defensive lineman DeForest Buckner pointed to Browns running back Nick Chubb's chain-moving 37-yard run in the second quarter as a play the defense would like to have back. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who threw one interception, noted that the offense "got caught up a couple times" in Cleveland territory and needs to finish more drives with touchdowns.
Those are gripes the 49ers can live with. They, after all, held the Browns to just 180 total yards, ran for 275 themselves and went 2-for-3 in the red zone.
The kicking-game struggles, however, could require a longer look.
Gould, who missed just three field goals in his first two seasons with San Francisco, now is 7 of 12 this season. He missed from 52, 47 and 32 yards, respectively, on Monday. The second resulted on a low snap from 49ers long snapper Garrison Sanborn, while the third was blocked.
"I know, personally, I saw at least one rough snap that looked very hard for Robbie to get off," coach Kyle Shanahan said after the game. "I know all the others weren’t perfect by any means. There’s three people involved in it. I know we had a block. It looked like they came off the wing, off the edge. So I’m not exactly sure (the cause), but definitely wasn’t good enough."
Shanahan said he would talk with Gould, Sanborn and holder Mitch Wishnowsky about what went wrong. The 49ers signed Sanborn during their bye week, and he already is the third long snapper San Francisco has used this season.
After Week 2, the 49ers waived Colin Holba, Kyle Nelson's initial replacement as he serves a 10-game suspension for violating NFL rules on performance-enhancing drugs. Jon Condo replaced Holba, but the former Raider retired after just one game.
The kicking game and the offense's punt-filled fourth quarter were the only real negatives Shanahan could identify after the win. Is he just nit-picking after the 49ers' first 4-0 start since 1990?
Yes, but that's the point. Shanahan doesn't want the 49ers getting ahead of themselves, especially before a matchup with the reigning NFC champion Los Angeles Rams.
“It means it’s still early," he said of the 49ers' 4-0 record. "It means we played four games, one less than most people. If you tell me that at the end of the year when the season is over, you’ll see me celebrating up here pretty hard.
“It’s going to be a short week and we’ve got to get to work on the Rams pretty early (Tuesday).”