FOXBORO, Ma. – The 49ers beat the Patriots 41-34 and clinched a playoff berth. Here is the grade for the 49ers’ coaches.
Coaching: C-. The offensive and defensive game plans were aggressive and terrific. Greg Roman called passes on four of the first five plays, and the 49ers easily marched down the field for a touchdown. On defense, Fangio was calling plays that resulted in unblocked pass rushers. He was dominating Patriots’ offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
As soon as the 49ers got a 28 point lead, the 49ers coaching staff went away from the game plan, went away from what was working and went into ultra-conservative mode. Fangio called mostly zone and the 49ers stopped getting pressure on Brady. As a result, the Patriots scored four TDs on four straight possessions. During that run, the 49ers offense went four-and-out and then three-and-out and then three-and-out one more time. The Patriots were expecting the 49ers to run, and that’s what the 49ers did. It took the Patriots tying the game for Roman to start calling aggressive pass plays again.
The 49ers coaches cannot take their foot off the pedal the rest of the season. They need to remain aggressive to win the Super Bowl.