Image Credit: Andrew Giesemann
The 2018 season was a disappointment for the San Francisco 49ers. They were the popular dark horse pick to reach the playoffs and make some noise in the NFC. However, two ACL tears later, the season was shot, and they finished 4-12. Despite all of that, there were some fun, exciting plays that fans can look back at fondly and smile about. Here’s a look at some good memories from the 2018 season:
Best Five-yard Out Route
Sophomore tight end George Kittle had the most memorable year for a 49ers’ offensive player since Steve Young and Jerry Rice were setting the NFL on fire. His 1,377 yards receiving is a record for the most in a single season by a TE. The record-setting play was very emblematic of his entire season: Kittle took a five-yard out route for 43 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Nick Mullens placed a perfect pass out of the reach of Rams’ safety Sam Shields, Kittle broke the tackle and went untouched all the way to the end zone.
Best Big Man Block
With the Raiders moving to Las Vegas, this season was the final “Battle of the Bay.” The Thursday night lights were not too bright for the 49ers as they trounced the Raiders 34-3. In the second half, running back Raheem Mostert drove a stake into the heart of the Raiders’ defense with a 52-yard touchdown run. He was led the whole way by rookie right tackle Mike McGlinchey who was still blocking defenders all the way into the end zone. Seeing a 6’8”, 315lb man outrunning linebackers, safeties and cornerbacks was incredibly impressive and a major reason he was the 49ers’ first-round pick in 2018.
Best Pitch and Catch
All the way back in Week 1, the 49ers were having a less than impressive offensive showing against the Minnesota Vikings, mustering only six points through nearly three quarters. Then, QB Jimmy Garoppolo and rookie wide receiver Dante Pettis hooked up for an incredible touchdown to bring the 49ers closer. With the pocket collapsing, Garoppolo rolled out to his left, threw across his body and connected with Pettis in the corner of the end zone for a toe dragging touchdown. Pettis capped it off with a fantastic cat celebration and announced his presence to the league.
Best Sack Celebration
Defensive end DeForest Buckner became the first 49ers’ player to reach double digit sacks since Aldon Smith in 2012 and his sweeping celebration is now iconic to 49ers’ fans. However, edge rusher Cassius Marsh owns the best sack celebration on the team. Channeling his inner Jackie Chan, Marsh launches into a spinning wheel kick to strike fear into opposing QBs and offensive lines.
Best Touchdown Dance
The 49ers had some fantastic touchdown celebrations this season. RB Mostert went surfing, WR Marquise Goodwin went back to his roots with an Olympic long jump and TE Garrett Celek has the classic “Celek Time.” But WR Kendrick Bourne was the best of them all. He scored four touchdowns on the year and each one came with a unique, stylish dance. After Goodwin made his way into the end zone against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 3, he and Bourne put together some moves that were so memorable, they inspired NASA employees to emulate it after landing a rover on Mars.
Best Coach Tumble
Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is an animated coach. His “Mic’d Up” segments are always a joy to listen to and his fire is evident on the sidelines of games. During the 49ers upset victory over the Seattle Seahawks, DE Buckner tracked down QB Russell Wilson and brought him down for a pivotal sack. Saleh was so overjoyed with the play that he wanted in on the celebration. Unfortunately for him, he was a tad overzealous and ended up toppling over multiple players. DE Solomon Thomas picked up Saleh, who was all smiles.
Owner Jed York has been a topic of contention among fans since the Jim Harbaugh years. To his credit, he has taken a back seat and let Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch run the franchise. Before the game against the Denver Broncos, tragedy struck the York family as Jed’s brother, Tony, passed away Following the emotional win, Jed spoke to the team. There is no need to mince words. Watch the speech below.
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