Kyle Shanahan's smart decision on fourth down gives 49ers early lead against Ravens

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan knows you can’t leave points on the field against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. Facing an early fourth down, Shanahan decided a field goal wouldn’t be enough to defeat Baltimore. He knew his team needed a touchdown.

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That decision paid off in a big way. The 49ers scored their first touchdown of the game on a fourth-and-2 call from the 33-yard line. Jimmy Garoppolo found Deebo Samuel on a 33-yard strike to put the 49ers up early.

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It wasn’t Garoppolo’s best throw, but Samuel outmuscled cornerback Marcus Peters to snatch the ball out of the air for the score. Just three minutes into the contest, the 49ers had a lead.

The team’s defense kept up that hot start. The 49ers forced the Ravens to punt on the team’s first offensive drive of the game. It was the first time since Week 9 that the Ravens had to punt the ball.

It didn’t take long for the Ravens to figure things out, though. On the next drive, the team scored a touchdown, tying things up 7-7.

The offensive explosion from the first quarter didn’t keep up the entire game. The Ravens scored just one more touchdown, and needed a last-second field goal from Justin Tucker to topple the 49ers 20-17.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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