49ers line Marquise Goodwin up next to punter in unique, bizarre formation

The San Francisco 49ers aren’t just a juggernaut on defense.

They’ve also got some tricks up their sleeve on special teams.

Early in Monday’s clash with the Seattle Seahawks, they gave their NFC West rival a bizarre look on a punt formation, a play that traditionally doesn’t see much deviation at the NFL level.

Punter has company in the backfield

Instead of lining up at the line of scrimmage, wide receiver Marquise Goodwin stood next to punter Mitch Wishnowsky in the backfield.

As soon as the ball was snapped, Goodwin took off in coverage toward Seahawks punt returner Tyler Lockett. Goodwin reached Lockett almost simultaneously with the ball.

Unfortunately for the 49ers, so had San Francisco running back Raheem Mostert, who made contact with Lockett and drew a kick-catch interference penalty.

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Otherwise, the formation might have paid off.

So why did Goodwin line up in backfield?

The idea appeared to be to take advantage of Goodwin’s speed. Goodwin was unofficially crowned the NFL’s fastest man in the offseason, and lining up in the backfield allowed him to run into coverage without getting jammed at the line of scrimmage.

Had Mostert not interfered, Goodwin would have likely had a clean shot at Lockett.

It will be interesting to see if the 49ers try the formation again. They’ve lost the element of surprise on the play, but there’s no defense for Goodwin’s speed regardless.

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