San Francisco 49ers

Fun call: 49ers kicker Phil Dawson wins weekly award

Phil Dawson says he gets his sports updates not from ESPN but from his two sons.

Wednesday’s bulletin from home: Dawson had won NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his five-field-goal effort against the Kansas City Chiefs.

“It was a fun phone call to get,” the 49ers’ kicker said.

The honor came a week after safety Antoine Bethea won the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Week award for his performance in a win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

With the 49ers struggling in the red zone Sunday against Kansas City, Dawson hit from 31, 55, 52, 27 and 30 yards. It was the fourth time he has made two field goals from beyond 50 yards in a game.

Dawson was about to attempt a field goal from 54 yards late in the game, but a penalty on the Chiefs gave the 49ers a first down.

“I appreciate the confidence the coaching staff showed there,” he said after the game. “I believe (the Chiefs) were in a similar spot in that part of the field and chose to punt. I feed off that confidence. (Sunday) was a day I was out there a lot and kind of in the flow of the game. Those are the fun games.

“They aren’t always that way. Sometimes you spend the whole game on the sideline and late in the fourth quarter you have to go out there and make a big kick. Those days are a little tougher. (Sunday) was a really good day.”

Dawson also noted that the field conditions – terrible during the preseason – have vastly improved since new grass was put down at Levi’s Stadium last month.

“It plays very well,” he said. “Those guys deserve a lot of credit. It is well documented the struggles we had early. For the field to be as good as it is now is incredible given where we started.”

Dawson on Wednesday said his sons, Dru, 13, and Beau, 11, are into fantasy football and are up to date on all the latest stats. He said not every report from home is positive. Dawson missed his first attempt of the season in Week 1 while another attempt was blocked in Week 3.

“I know one of them was thinking about dropping me (from his fantasy team) when I was off to a slow start this season,” he said of his sons. “So it cuts both ways.”

Coverage switcheroo – The 49ers made room on their roster for one special teams coverage specialist, Ray Ventrone, by cutting another specialist, Kassim Osgood , who two days earlier received lofty praise from coach Jim Harbaugh.

“Kassim Osgood, again, he’s our best player on special teams, especially on the coverage units,” Harbaugh said as he went over a list of standout players from Sunday’s game. “He’s doing a great job.”

Osgood, 34, did not make the 49ers’ final cuts before the regular season, but he was brought back after Week 1 so that the team was not responsible for his full salary. The same sequence occurred last season, and Osgood could be back again.

Special teams coordinator Brad Seely keeps a running tally of his top performers. Through five weeks, Craig Dahl tops the list while Dawson is second. Osgood is sixth.

The 49ers’ special teams units have been inconsistent since Harbaugh and Seely arrived in 2011. They were excellent that first year, but slipped the following season, which included a kickoff return for a touchdown in the Super Bowl.

Last season, they brought in 30-something veterans Osgood and Ventrone, who tightened up the 49ers’ coverage.

But through five games this season, the kickoff coverage unit has given up 23.9 yards a return while opponents are averaging 14.8 yards per punt return, tying the 49ers for league-worst with the Miami Dolphins in that category.

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