Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan on failed 49ers fourth-down try vs. Ravens: ‘I didn’t mind the decision at all’

Dec 1, 2019 at 1:29 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers lost a tough bout in Week 13 to the Baltimore Ravens, losing 20-17 on a game-winning field goal by Ravens kicker Justin Tucker and inevitably falling to 10-2 on the season.

Yet the Niners had chances to win the game, and one of those came in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter. Facing a 4th-and-1 and Baltimore's 35-yard line, head coach Kyle Shanahan elected to call an over-the-middle pass play for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Intended for tight end George Kittle, Ravens defensive lineman Chris Wormley batted the pass down at the line of scrimmage, forcing a turnover on downs in the process.

Baltimore would then drive down into field-goal range, chewing up 6:28 of clock to win the game with Tucker's field goal.

It was an interesting call at the time, considering running back Raheem Mostert and San Francisco's ground game was gashing the Ravens for most of the day. In total, Mostert finished with 146 yards on 19 carries, averaging 7.7 yards per attempt. As a whole, the Niners averaged 6.0 yards per rush, even against a Baltimore defense stacking the line in an attempt to take this aspect of Shanahan's offense away.

After the game, Shanahan explained his decision-making process.

"I didn't mind the decision at all, not running," Shanahan told reporters after the loss. "But I wish I called a better pass play."

Shanahan also admitted it wasn't the original play call, having changed it, previously.

The 49ers were 1-of-2 on fourth-down tries during the game, the successful conversion coming on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Garoppolo to wide receiver Deebo Samuel on San Francisco's first drive of the game.

Shanahan also had some interesting play calling at the end of the first half, letting the clock run down pretty significantly before trying to settle for a field goal by kicker Robbie Gould before halftime.

"It's what we've been doing all year," Shanahan said. "When we get that ball at the end of the second quarter, our No. 1 goal is to finish with the ball in our hands."

Gould's attempt was tipped, however, and it fell short. The Ravens took a 17-14 lead into the second half, although the Niners managed to tie things up on another field-goal try by Gould late in the third quarter.

One can only wonder, however, if the scenario would have been different if the 49ers converted that fourth-down attempt.
  • Written by:
    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.

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