The 49ers' ill-fated decision to call a reverse during a punt return against the Seahawks resulted from a coaching miscommunication.
That was the word from head coach Mike Singletary during his news conference Monday.
The 49ers had worked on the play in practice, Singletary said, but that should not have automatically led to the team calling the reverse during the game.
"That was my fault for not articulating that we might do it in the game but we are not for sure going to do it in the game," Singletary said. "That is my fault for not making it more plain. Whenever something like that happens, it is my fault. The communication should be better. We didn't touch on it the way we should have to say we are definitely going to do it in the game."
Special teams coach Al Everest presumably made the call to run the reverse under the assumption that Singletary had signed off on the decision. I will attempt to confirm that part of the scenario through the 49ers. Brandon Jones muffed the handoff exchange with Arnaz Battle. The Seahawks recovered and scored a touchdown shortly thereafter.
"It's just a situation in which you have two players back there and one player, Brandon Jones, is not really your normal guy to do that," Singletary said, "so maybe you don't want to have him do that. Just go ahead and let Arnaz return punts. Keep it simple and go forward from that. But we did practice it last week, so it showed up in the game."
Singletary's accountability on these matters is important. Jones also owned up to his mistake on the play. Longer term, players must have confidence that their coaches will make the right decisions and handle such situations properly. As a first-year head coach, Singletary will certainly be looking to improve.