San Francisco 49ers: Special Teams Spotlight

By Phil

The classic ‘offense vs. defense’ debate will be tested in the San Francisco 49ers matchup with the Detroit Lions, but what about special teams?

Are teams are so focused on the offensive and defensive aspects of football, that special teams are often forgotten?

We can all admit that special teams aren’t as glamorous as, suppose, an 80-yard touchdown or a pick-six, but it has its purposes.

Can we truly disregard special teams, especially when it has proven, time after time, effective in close game situations?

For Pete’s sake, Adam Vinatieri is likely headed to the hall-of-fame after his countless late game heroics in several Super Bowls for the New England Patriots.

Special teams matter, and for the 49ers and Lions franchises, this unit could make a difference in Sunday night’s matchup.

The 49ers boasted the best special teams unit in 2011, leading the league in several statistical categories. Even from an eye test, fans can see the impact made last season by the special teams unit of the 49ers. Ted Ginn Jr. practically won the 49ers first game of the 2011 season, with two return touchdowns. In addition, David Akers not only led the league in field goal attempts and makes in 2011, but also was clutch in countless games last season.

And can we forget about the performance of the 49ers punter, Andy Lee. Lee wasn’t simply a measly punter, but rather a weapon. Lee changed field position for 49ers opponents, which gave the defense a great head start to each drive.

The 49ers not only sent both Akers and Lee to the pro bowl, but these two gentlemen were also selected to the All-Pro team.

With a close game expected in the 49ers and Lions matchup, don’t be surprised if you see Akers kicking the winning field goal.

I repeat, special teams matter!

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