SANTA CLARA – Coach Jim Tomsula has no regrets about punting the ball away late in the fourth quarter while the 49ers required two touchdowns and two two-point conversions to tie the game.
Down by 16 points and with two timeouts remaining against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, the 49ers decided to punt from their own 11-yard line on a fourth-and-8 with 3:09 remaining in the game.
The Seahawks picked up two first downs and ran out the clock after the two-minute warning for their 29-13 victory at CenturyLink Field.
“My point, if we were close, if we got up there in a fourth-and-short, OK, then there was going to be a decision for me,” Tomsula said on Monday.
“If something happens, it’s a three-possession game. So we wanted to punt it, use the two timeouts, get to the two-minute drill and onside kick and try to win the game. That’s what I thought. That’s what I still think.”
Tomsula said he did not make the decision to impact the final score. He said it was not his thinking that he would rather lose by fewer points.
“Oh, God, no,” Tomsula said. “You win or you lose – absolutely not.”
On the 49ers’ previous possession, they punted on a fourth-and-13 situation from their own 25 with 5:45 remaining.
When asked about punting in those situations, several 49ers players did not offer an opinion.
"Those are coaching decisions," left tackle Joe Staley said. "We were in a situation there when we were down two scores. Hopefully, you get a quick three-and-out with the ball back in better field position."
Said quarterback Blaine Gabbert, "It's tough. Coach had to make a call, and we've just got to roll with it. Fourth-and-13's are tough in the NFL, especially against a defensive front like that."