The San Francisco 49ers have put the special teams woes of the past behind them this season. San Francisco’s downfall in recent years was due to poor performances in one of the most crucial aspects of the game. The 49ers had a hard time getting wins and clearing the last hurdle in large part due to the special teams.
There were the Kyle Williams muffed returns in the 2011 playoffs when the team was so close to the Super Bowl. Last season, David Akers showed his age when he missed what were once automatic field goals for him. The special teams for the 49ers have come a long way this season, and for the first time in a long time 49ers fans can enjoy this aspect of the game.
Phil Dawson sealed the win Sunday with a game-winning field goal as time expired which extended the 49ers’ winning streak to six games. Dawson has been clutch in the kicking game this season connecting on 32 out of 36 field goals and 100 percent of his extra point attempts. This is a welcomed turn of events from last season when Akers went 33-of-47 in field goal attempts. Dawson’s key kicks have kept San Francisco in games, and the 49ers are now capable of making another deep run in the playoffs.
Dawson is not the only San Francisco player producing on special teams this season. Punter Andy Lee is averaging over 48 yards a punt which is two yards better than his career average. LaMichael James is dynamic in the return game and has the ability to break a long run at any point. The improvement of special teams makes the 49ers incredibly dangerous in the postseason and capable of capturing a Super Bowl.