A win is a win no matter how ugly or cute it is in the NFL. For the San Francisco 49ers, their 31-17 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wasn’t spectacular, especially in the first half. From Jimmy Garoppolo’s inaccurate throws to Kyle Shanahan’s questionable play calling. The only thing that was attractive was George Kittle and the entire defense’s performance.
There are a lot of things the 49ers need to work on individually and at certain position groups. But there is one area of improvement that the entire San Francisco 49ers team needs to hash out and that’s the collection of penalties. The amount of penalties that the 49ers were stacking up last Sunday was abysmal. 11 penalties is what the 49ers tallied when it was all said and done.
That kind of performance isn't conducive to winning football. It wasn’t just the volume of penalties, but the ones that erased touchdowns. There is nothing worse than driving the field and settling for a field goal because of a penalty wiping touchdown. All it takes is one to cause a team to lose a game and the 49ers had three. That’s an insane amount to have.
If the 49ers want to be considered a good team, they need to clean up the errors. This undisciplined play is not unacceptable by any measure. Penalties are also drive killers because it makes it difficult to sustain them. They just throw off the flow of the drive, which is why the game felt slow. Both teams combined for 19 penalties, so we only got a flowing game in spurts.
The only reason why the 49ers were able to overcome their touchdown erasing penalties is because of their defense. They made up those lost touchdowns by producing two of their own. Without those, who knows how the game ends, but it is not sustainable to just hope that the defense bails the offense out like that. Luckily for the 49ers this was only the first game, so they have time to clean it up.
In the coming weeks starting Sunday, we’re going to learn just how serious the 49ers viewed those penalties. If it continues for an extensive period, they’re either coaching it or allowing it. Cleaning up these penalties should be the main area of improvement collectively as a team for the San Francisco 49ers. Otherwise, they’ll risk losing games because of critical penalties.