Kyle Shanahan on ill-timed blitz: Steve Wilks ‘knows he messed up on that call’


If Charvarius Ward had not been stripped of an interception by Jordan Addison, maybe this would not have been a major discussion point.

But Addison dip rip the ball away from Ward and scored a 60-yard touchdown on a play that began with 16 seconds left in the first half.

Minnesota had zero timeouts remaining. At worst, the 49ers were set up to allow a field goal and go into the half down 13-7. Given the two misses from Vikings kicker Greg Joseph (including on the ensuing extra point), it’s hard to say that kick would’ve been a gimme.

The blitz was, at best, a head-scratching call. At worst, it was a damning mistake.

When asked about the decision after the game, Kyle Shanahan said he’d have to review the call.

After doing so, he was clear in his disdain for it, criticizing the decision from defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.

“He knows enough he messed up on that call,” Shanahan said. “I have no problem with zero blitzes, especially when people need a lot of yards. If you need to get 20 yards to kick a field goal, I have no problem with a zero blitz. But I do when there’s 16 seconds left and that’s where he lost track. There was no necessary need for that just because of the time. I have no problem that play call, but when it’s that time, they can’t do that. That’s not an option.”

That is clearly as harsh as Shanahan has been towards his defensive coordinator in recent memory. It was an explicit criticism of a mistake, which is by any account, eyebrow raising.

The 49ers also failed to sack Kirk Cousins, who is arguably the least mobile quarterback they will face this season.

There are major questions to be asked of the defense at the moment. It does not look anywhere near as dominant as it has in past seasons, and those questions start with Wilks.

 

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