Question: I believe that Mike Nolan will build a winner in S.F. by next year. But punting on the 34 is unacceptable, especially in a dome. Not going for the fourth down and 1-inch showed no confidence in the offense. This reminds me of Chuck Knox. He always won in the regular season and lost in the playoffs because of timid play calling. Nolan does not coach to win, instead he coaches not to lose. Like Knox. The only way to win a Super Bowl with this kind of coaching philosophy is to have an historically great defense. What do you think?
- Berger, Reno
Answer: Mike Nolan is a defensive coach (he's the team's de facto defensive coordinator, after all) and his fourth-and-one decision was one a defensive coach would make. That is, he had confidence his defense would hold the Rams out of the end zone. Don't forget, the 49ers won their previous three games by six points and in each of them they prevented the opposing offense from scoring a touchdown at the end. As I mentioned in an earlier answer, my issue is with the timeout. Nolan has made some rotten decisions with timeouts and clock management this season, so bad, in fact, that maybe he should consider turning over that duty to someone else.
- Matthew Barrows