Greg Roman grades himself on wins and losses


Greg Roman grades himself on wins and losses

SANTA CLARA -- Coach Jim Harbaugh took full responsibility for allowing the disastrous play call of an option -- without an available audible for quarterback Colin Kaepernick — to make its way to the field on Sunday.

The resulting fourth-quarter fumble was turned into a touchdown in the 49ers' 16-13 overtime loss to the St. Louis Rams.

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman made the play call. But Harbaugh, who calls in the play to the quarterback via a radio transmitter, took full responsibility.

"I should have not let that play be called," Harbaugh said on Monday.

On Thursday, Roman stopped far short of admitting the play call was a mistake.

"You go back and you look at every call and judge your intent, relative to who you're asking to do what," Roman said in his first public comments since the 49ers’ loss. "You assess that decision. And one thing is, when plays work, you generally say that was a good decision. When they're not executing or they don't work, for whatever reason, maybe we should've done something else.

"In that case, there were too many moving parts for that situation. Certainly, when it was called, the result was not what we expected."

When Roman was asked to assess the risk-reward of that play call late in the game from the 49ers' 17-yard line with the club holding an eight-point lead.

"Not going to get into the X's and O's aspects of it," Roman said. "The result was not the intent of the play call. I always look back and say, ‘Did it work?’ "

Kaepernick's pitch intended for Ted Ginn was high. Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins picked up the loose ball at the 2-yard line and scored. The Rams added the two-point conversion to tie the game with 3:04 remaining in regulation. It was the only touchdown the Rams scored in the game.


The 49ers had a difficult time on offense against the Rams, who took away the 49ers' deep-passing game and also stacked the line of scrimmage to make it difficult for running back Frank Gore.

"The Rams big thing was they wanted to take away the deep ball," 49ers guard Alex Boone said. "They wanted to keep everything close and I don't think we were really prepared for that. At the same time, as an offense, we have to execute better."

The 49ers also committed 11 penalties in Sunday's game. Six of the penalties were on offense.

"It's not about play-calling, it's about execution, ultimately, on the field," Roman said. "That's something we got to get a lasso around real quick. You know, 49er football is smart, tough, opportunistic, football and penalties certainly don't fit into that equation."

Rams coach Jeff Fisher, in comments after the game, pointed to the 49ers' play-calling as a reason his team was able to come out with a victory.

"I don't know what they were trying to accomplish there, but we took advantage of one of their mistakes," Fisher said.

On Wednesday, Harbaugh responded.

"That's the low-hanging fruit, 'What the heck were they doing?' " Harbaugh said. "But again, you learn from it. It's like somebody reached into your chest and stomach and started pulling the innards out without using any anesthesia. All you can do is learn."

As for Roman, he said his self-assessment of his play-calling is black and white.

"If we win the game, I generally think it was good," he said. "If we don't, it's got to be better. That's how I look at it."

49ers release Ian Williams

49ers release Ian Williams

The 49ers on Thursday released nose tackle Ian Williams off the reserve/non-football injury list with an injury settlement.

The move, which was disclosed on the NFL, daily transaction report, is a procedural move, according to sources. It allows the 49ers to provide Williams with more compensation than he would have received if he had remained on reserve/non-football injury for the entire season. The move does not preclude the 49ers from re-signing Williams in the future.

The 49ers originally agreed to a five-year contract extension with Williams in the offseason. However, the contract was amended to a one-year deal after he underwent a team physical after undergoing surgery on his left leg.

Williams, 26, is a five-year NFL veteran. He originally signed with the 49ers as an undrafted rookie from Notre Dame in 2011.

He played his first 16-game season in 2015. He ranked third on the 49ers with 85 total tackles, according to the stats compiled by the coaching staff.

Williams took over as the 49ers’ starting nose tackle in 2013 after the free-agent departure of Isaac Sopoaga.

But he started just 10 games over the next two seasons due to two fractures of his lower leg.

Chip Kelly reveals why 49ers going with slower-paced offense

Chip Kelly reveals why 49ers going with slower-paced offense

Chip Kelly's offense with the 49ers is his slowest-paced version of his four NFL seasons.


“I think that’s what fits with this group of guys we have on the offensive side of the ball,” Kelly said this week.

Kelly did not expound on that thought. But it could be safe to assume his thinking is the same reason why it does not make sense to enter a Ford Pinto to race against pro stock dragsters.

The 49ers’ offense is running more plays this season. The 49ers snap the ball every 24.4 seconds on offense. That’s down from 26.1 seconds last season, and 29.7 seconds in Jim Harbaugh’s final season in 2014.

Last season in Philadelphia, Kelly’s team snapped the ball every 22.6 seconds. In Kelly’s final season at Oregon in 2012, the Ducks snapped the ball every 20.5 seconds.

“I don’t think we’re playing fast right now,” Kelly said. “So if someone said, ‘How are you playing offensively?’ I don’t think we’re playing fast offensively. I think we’re just not going back (to huddle). We’re saving seven yards of run time for our offensive line because they don’t have to run back in the huddle, get a play called and then do it.

“We’re just calling it at the line of scrimmage. So I think it’s a lot of what Denver used to do when Peyton (Manning) was there. But there’s a lot of times that we’re under 15 seconds when we’re snapping the ball and getting the play off. So we’re not playing fast and we’re not calling tempo-type plays in those situations. We’re just calling plays.”

Kelly said part of the problem is that the 49ers are not converting third downs. The team has a 36.3 percent success rate on third downs, which is actually an improvement over the 30.5 percent success of last season.

But the 49ers’ overall lack of offensive success this season cannot be camouflaged.

The 49ers are averaging just 4.5 yards per play. The 49ers have not averaged fewer than 5 yards per play since 2007, when Alex Smith sustained a shoulder injury and was replaced by Trent Dilfer.

While the 49ers are running more offensive plays than it has in the past, so is the opposition. The 49ers have averaged 64.3 plays per game. The 49ers have defended 69.9 plays per game – only 2.3 more plays than last season but 8.1 more plays than in 2014.

The biggest problem for the offense has been its run defense. The league’s worst run defense has surrendered 185.1 yards per game and is on pace to give up 2,962 yards this season, which would be the most in the NFL since the 1980 New Orleans Saints yielded 3,106 rushing yards.