49ers

Steve Young gives take on Kyle Shanahan's overtime strategy vs. Seahawks

Steve Young gives take on Kyle Shanahan's overtime strategy vs. Seahawks

Hindsight is always 20/20.

Kyle Shanahan knows that, but that didn't stop the critics for coming after his play-calling after the 49ers' 27-24 overtime loss to the Seahawks at Levi's Stadium in Week 9. 

During the overtime period, Shanahan elected not to go for fourth-and-1 from the Seahawks' 29-yard line, opting instead to trot out rookie kicked Chase McLaughlin for a 47-yard attempt. The kick never had a shot and the Seahawks had life. But the 49ers' defense stood tall and forced a punt, giving quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo the ball back with 1:50 to go.

Shanahan, always the aggressor, opted to throw the ball three times -- all of which were incomplete -- burning only 17 seconds off the clock before punting the ball back the Seahawks. Quarterback Russell Wilson marched Seattle into field-goal range and Jason Myers drilled the kick to give the Niners their first loss.

Fans were critical of Shanahan for not running the ball, and giving the Seahawks time to win the game. Cornerback Richard Sherman doesn't have time for "armchair coaches" who want to play for ties. Niners legend Steve Young wants to remind fans that Shanahan always has been an aggressive coach -- that's part of the reason the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead to the Patriots in Super Bowl LI -- so fans can't all of a sudden expect something different.

"Remember, Kyle Shanahan in many ways, the Super Bowl got away from the whole team, but him especially, because he’s so aggressive,” Young told KNBR. “And when we signed him that’s what you get. Don’t all of the sudden go, ‘aw I wish that he would’ve played for the tie.'

"I'm just saying that we signed a guy that goes for broke," Young continued before pivoting to the fourth-and-1 decision. "To your other point, why didn't you go for it on fourth and a half yard? I was sitting there and this young kid shows up and splits three right down the middle. You couldn't pick a side on any of the kicks. Right down the middle. To win the game, you are so -- it's gone back and forth. You'd won it three times, you'd lost it three times, you just want to end it. I get it."

While Young understands the decisions, he would have gone for it on fourth-and-1 and would have at least run the ball once on the final possession.

"I think I would’ve gone for the half yard. I think. That’s what I felt, that was my instinct," Young said. “I would like them to have 35 less seconds if we have to hand them the ball back. To hand them the ball back with having only taking 22 or whatever it was off -- you would never repeat that. You would never say, 'There's 1:27 at the end of overtime, I'm not going to hand it back with 1:05.' That's not part of the plan."

[RELATED: Warner does it all for 49ers' defense in Kwon's absence]

In the end, Shanahan's decisions backfired, but if McLaughlin makes the kick like he did his first three on the night then the conversation is totally different.

Shanahan is one of the NFL's best offensive minds, and the 49ers love his aggressiveness when calling plays. Sometimes things just don't break your way.

49ers vs. Saints live stream: How to watch NFL Week 14 game lonline

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49ers vs. Saints live stream: How to watch NFL Week 14 game lonline

The 49ers are almost through the gauntlet. 

A three-week stretch against Super Bowl contenders concludes Sunday in New Orleans against the Saints, the NFC's No. 1 seed. The 49ers passed their first test against the Green Bay Packers, but San Francisco lost for just the second time this season last week against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. 

A loss to the Saints would all but eliminate the 49ers in pursuit of home-field advantage through the entirety of the NFC playoffs, and they'd be rooting even harder for the Seattle Seahawks to lose to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night. A win, however, would set the 49ers up for a potential winner-take-all clash for NFC supremacy in Week 17 against the Seahawks. 

[RELATED: 49ers' Kittle on pace for best tight end season in PFF era]

Here's how to watch the 49ers-Saints game online and on TV. 

Start time: Sunday, Dec. 8, at 10:00 a.m. PT
TV Channel: FOX
Live Stream: fuboTV -- Get a free trial

49ers' George Kittle on pace for one of best seasons ever by tight end

49ers' George Kittle on pace for one of best seasons ever by tight end

George Kittle is keeping elite company this season, according to Pro Football Focus.

The 49ers tight end has earned a 93.8 grade from the analytics site so far this season. If that grade holds, Kittle will have had the best season at the position since they started grading players in 2006. 

Though Kittle is far off his record-setting receiving pace from a year ago, he has graded out better than he did in 2018. Kittle finished his second NFL season with an 89.8 grade from Pro Football Focus, and he ranked 13th in the site's top 101 players. 

PFF's methodology is just a bit more detailed than Doug Gottlieb's. Each player graded on a game-by-game basis by three separate analysts whose evaluations are "verified" by a network of former coaches, according to the site. Kittle has been a darling by PFF's metrics all season, grading out as the NFL's best player through the first four weeks of the season. 

[RELATED: Ravens' Harbaugh reacts to Ryan's Jackson comments]

Kittle will have his hands full Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. He's set to match up against Cam Jordan while run-blocking and New Orleans has allowed the 13th-fewest receiving yards against tight ends this season. Saints coach Sean Payton praised Kittle's versatility earlier this week, indicating that New Orleans is focused on slowing the tight end down in order to limit the 49ers' offense. 

As Kittle's grade shows, that'll be a tall order for the NFC's No. 1 seed.