The 49ers might have an advantage in the kicking game against the Rams on Saturday, and they could use it. Through the first 14 games of the current season, San Francisco hasn’t had the best luck when it has come to kicks.
The timing has been painful enough, as two-thirds of the 49ers’ losses have come by way of last-second kicks, including one in which San Francisco missed a would-be game-winner. In fact, the 49ers have missed a kick of some kind in each one of their losses. But as Meadowlands Media Group’s Michael Salfino pointed out Monday, their unluckiness in the kicking game extends beyond those heartbreaking occurrences.
The 49ers are BY FAR the unluckiest team in football. Not only have they lost all three games at (basically) the final gun but they are minus-7 in missed field goals (missed seven more than their opponents). That’s like seven turnovers @mlombardiNFL
— Michael Salfino (@MichaelSalfino) December 16, 2019
That’s right, the 49ers have missed a total of seven more field goals than their opponents so far this season. Between Robbie Gould and Chase McLaughlin, the two placekickers San Francisco has used this season have converted only 26 of their 35 combined field-goal attempts and all but one of their 44 extra-point opportunities. The sole point-after that went awry, of course, came in the fourth quarter of the 49ers’ last-second loss to the Falcons on Sunday.
Gould entered the season as the second-most accurate field-goal kicker in NFL history at 87.7 percent, but after holding out during training camp, he missed seven field-goal attempts over the first seven games of the season. Gould then sat out Weeks 10-12 with an injured quad and missed a field-goal attempt in the 49ers’ three-point loss in Week 13, but has been a perfect 5-of-5 over the last two games. Still, surely San Francisco was hoping for better production from the kicking game after giving Gould a four-year, $19 million contract with $15 million guaranteed back in July.
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Only the first two years of that contract are fully guaranteed, however, as the last two are team options. Considering the 49ers have two very important regular-season games remaining for what they hope to be a long playoff run, Gould should have ample opportunities to redeem himself — or put himself on thinner ice.