Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

49ers-Seahawks: Shanahan considered all options at placekicker after Robbie Gould injury, suggests team may try out kickers this week

Oct 3, 2021 at 5:52 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers found themselves in an unexpected and unwanted special teams conundrum during a 28-21 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday when a pregame groin injury to kicker Robbie Gould left them trying to decide between using punter Mitch Wishnowsky on field goals and extra points or not using a kicker in scoring opportunities at all.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters after the game that he gave some consideration to leaving the offense on the field during situations that would normally require a placekicker. But Wishnowsky wound up getting the nod, although his results were mixed enough that head coach Kyle Shanahan kept his options open as the game went along.

Wishnowsky connected on his first point after attempt, which came after a touchdown in the first quarter. That led Shanahan to give Wishnowsky a shot on a 41-yard field goal in the second quarter, which Wishnowsky missed. Shanahan then planned to go for two the next time the 49ers scored, which came in the third quarter, but a penalty caused him to change that plan, and Wishnowsky wound up missing on his second PAT of the game.

"I almost went for two on the first one," Shanahan told reporters after the loss. "Got to watch the extra point and it didn't look pretty but he made it, so I was going to stick with it then. Then (I) watched the field goal that looked alright but didn't go in, so I was going to go for two the next time. So just basing it off of watching how he is and how it's going and trying to play the percentages on what gives the best chance to score."

Gould's injury led to a number of pregame questions, including whether or not there were any situations in which he could kick and if he felt Wishnowsky was good enough to fill the role if need be. Shanahan hit Gould with all those questions while also asking whoever he could about what the chances of success the 49ers would have with Wishnowsky in every situation.

"It's all that stuff," Shanahan said. "You're really finding out right before the game. It's all percentage games. Do you want to go for two instead of an extra point? Can you kick an extra point? What do you think about Mitch? What's his chances from an extra point area? Do we feel better about a 30-yarder? Do we feel better about going for it on 4th-and-10? I ask everybody too. You get the analytics of all that stuff so you can go with percentages and everything, but that's something you've got to feel out."

It remains to be seen how long Gould's injury will keep him out, but if he's unable to play in next Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals, the 49ers may have someone new holding down the placekicking duties. Shanahan said after the game the team could try out kickers this week even though he wasn't sure about Gould's status.

"I would think so," Shanahan said. "I don't know. I haven't asked about Robbie since right before the game. But I would assume so."
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