49ers escape Philadelphia with 17-11 victory over Eagles

Running for daylight the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) throws the ball on the run against the San Francisco 49ers in the first half at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Sun Sep 19, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Joe Hawkes
Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA — In a city where they’re know for grit and toughness, the San Francisco 49ers were tougher and grittier going into Philadelphia and coming away with a 17-11 victory led by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and a stingy defense that played strong all game long.

Garoppolo struggled with his accuracy early, sputtering the offense that led to three-straight three-and-outs. The offense failed to produce a first down, which is the longest streak to open the game under head coach Kyle Shanahan.

But Garoppolo shook off the shaky start and started making plays, completing 22-of-30 pass attempts for 189 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.

“That’s part of being the quarterback. You gotta want the ball,” Garoppolo said.

Both of San Francisco’s touchdown drives went for 90-plus yards.

Philadelphia bungled an opportunity to go up 10-0 midway in the second quarter, instead of nursing a 3-0 lead thanks to a 45-yard field goal by kicker Jake Elliott in the first quarter.

After second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts connected with wide receiver Quez Watkins on a 91-yard completion to the San Francisco 6-yard line, the Eagles had a first down at the 1-yard line following a defensive pass interference penalty on veteran cornerback Josh Norman. But on fourth down from the 3-yard line, wide receiver Greg Ward took a flip on a reverse and threw an incomplete pass to Hurts in the back of the end zone.

On the ensuing drive, the 49ers utilized the final 4:12 remaining in the second quarter to get into the scoring column and take control of the game heading into halftime.

Starting from their own 3-yard line, Garopplo was razor sharp leading the 49ers down the field. Garoppolo completed a 5-yard pass to wide receiver Deebo Samuel on third-and-3. On the next set of downs, Garoppolo used his legs to pick up four yards on a quarterback sneak on third-and-1.

Following a timeout, Garoppolo connected with Samuel for a 40-yard completion over the middle of the field from their own 49-yard line before Samuel was brought down at the Philadelphia 11-yard line. On the next play, Garoppolo found wide receiver Jauan Jennings for the touchdown, giving the 49ers a 7-3 edge at halftime.

“For it to be 7-3 at halftime was pretty unbelievable,” said 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.

For the second straight week, Samuel led the 49ers in receiving hauling in six catches for 93 yards. Tight end George Kittle had four catches for just 17 yards.

Jennings’ first career catch (and touchdown) in the NFL, capped off a 12-play, 97-yard drive in 4:08. That was the longest scoring drive by the 49ers since Dec. 16, 2018 against the Seattle Seahawks.

After the Eagles went three-and-out on their first possession in the second half, the 49ers had their work cut out for them again after the Eagles punted the football to the San Francisco 9-yard line. But Garoppolo was unfazed, engineering an impressive 16-play, 91-yard drive punctuated by his 1-yard touchdown run that pushed San Francisco’s lead to 14-3 early in the fourth quarter.

On the ground, rookie running back Elijah Mitchell led the 49ers with 17 carries for 42 yards. The backfield did take some hits as Mitchell (shoulder), JaMychal Hasty (ankle) and Trey Sermon (concussion) all left the game with injuries. San Francisco entered Sunday’s game already without starting running back Raheem Mostert, who was lost for the season with a knee injury suffered in Week 1.

Kicker Robbie Gould added a 46-yard field goal with 5:07 left in the fourth quarter extended San Francisco’s lead to 17-3. It felt the way that the defense was playing today, the 49ers were in the HOV lane to their second victory of the season.

Not so fast.

The Eagles weren’t ready to go down without a fight in front of a sellout crowd at Lincoln Financial Field in their home opener. Especially since it was the first time fans were inside “The Linc” since a playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Jan. 5, 2020.

Philadelphia cut San Francisco’s lead to 17-11, following a 1-yard touchdown run by Hurts and a 2-point conversion by running back Kenny Gainwell. But the Eagles never got the football back.

Hurts finished the game completing just 12-of-23 pass attempts for 190 yards. He also rushed for 82 yards.

Hurts threw a 38-yard touchdown to wide receiver Jalen Reagor that was overturned because Reagor stepped out of bounds before he made the catch down the right sideline.

“We had a lot of opportunities we didn’t capitalize on,” Hurts said. “We have to be consistent in our execution. I have to be consistent in my execution as field general. A lot to learn.”

Missed opportunities hurt the Eagles’ chances at pulling out a victory for the eighth time in 10 games over the 49ers.

Defensive end Nick Bosa finished with two sacks, pacing a 49ers defense that allowed just 328 total net yards for the Eagles.

The 49ers (2-0) return home after practicing for a week at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia and a pair of road victories in the Eastern time zone in their pocket.

San Francisco host the visiting Green Bay Packers on prime time on NBC’s Sunday Night Football in their home opener at Levi’s Stadium for Week 3, while the Eagles (1-1) visit NFC East rival Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 27.

49ers lose 26-23 to the Seahawks, finish season 6-10

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon breaks up a pass intended for Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) in the second half Sun Jan 3, 2021 (Rick Scuteri / The Associated Press)

By Joe Hawkes
Staff Writer

GLENDALE, Ariz — San Francisco’s defense held the Seahawks scoreless for 27 minutes before the Seahawks woke up, scoring three touchdowns in the final period to slip by the 49ers 26-23 on Sunday afternoon at State Farm Stadium to close out the regular season.

Seattle (12-4) sweeps the regular season series from the 49ers. The Seahawks will be the three-seed in the playoffs where they will face the Los Angeles Rams on Wild Card Weekend in Seattle. This will be the third matchup between the two NFC West foes, with both teams splitting the regular season series 1-1.

Entering the fourth quarter, the 49ers held a 9-6 lead over the Seahawks. 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. would extend San Francisco’s lead to 16-6 on a 7-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.

But Seattle responded behind quarterback Russell Wilson and wide receiver Tyler Lockett big fourth quarter. Wilson avoided a tough 49ers pass rush, finding Lockett for a diving 6-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone capping off a 8-play, 75-yard drive cutting San Francisco’s lead to 16-12. Seattle kicker Jason Myers missed the extra point.

Following a 49ers’ punt on the ensuing drive, Wilson marched the Seahawks 85 yards on 14 plays and scored the go-ahead touchdown on fourth down on Wilson’s 4-yard toss to Lockett. Wilson completed 20-of-36 passing for 181 yards. Lockett finished with 12 catches for 90 yards.

Running back Alex Collins for an 8-yard touchdown with 1:49 left in the game to push Seattle’s lead to 26-16

San Francisco (6-10) falls to 1-7 in home games played at Levi’s Stadium and at State Farm Stadium this season. The 49ers were eliminated from playoff contention a few weeks ago and have been based in Arizona for more than a month because of coronavirus restrictions in Santa Clara county.

C.J. Beathard completed 25-of-37 passing for 273 yards and a touchdown, but his fumble late in the fourth quarter would set up Collins’ touchdown. Tristan Vizcaino, making his first career start, booted his first three NFL field goals after signing with the 49ers earlier this week.

It was Beathard’s second-straight start, who helped the 49ers beat the Arizona Cardinals last week.

After rushing for a career-high 183 yards on 22 carries last week, Wilson rushed for 76 yards on 20 carries with two touchdowns. With the 49ers trailing 26-16, Wilson caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Beathard to make the score 26-23.

Wilson finishes the season with 600 yards rushing and seven rushing touchdowns on 126 carries, becoming the fourth different player to lead the 49ers in rushing under head coach Kyle Shanahan. He follows Carlos Hyde, Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert.

When you add in his two receiving touchdowns, Wilson has scored a career-high nine touchdowns this year.

 

 

 

49ers upset Cardinals 20-12 behind C.J. Beathard’s 3 TDs

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (23) holding intercepted ball that he picked off in the second half against the Arizona Cardinals on Sat Dec 26, 2020 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale (AP News photo)

By Joe Hawkes
Staff Writer

GLENDALE, Ariz — With the 49ers already officially eliminated from the playoffs after losing to the Dallas Cowboys 41-33 in Week 15, didn’t mean that San Francisco had nothing to play for in 2020.

Like preventing their bitter rivals in the Arizona Cardinals from making it to the postseason. If the Cardinals don’t make the playoffs after entering Week 16 holding down the final spot in the NFC playoffs, they can thank the 49ers.

The 49ers pulled off the 20-12 upset over their State Farm Stadium tenants on Saturday afternoon.

San Francisco (6-9) avoided being swept by Arizona this season. The Cardinals defeated the 49ers 24-20 in Week 1. Arizona (8-7) came into this season having swept the season series from San Francisco in five out of the last six seasons.

In his first start since Week 8 of the 2018 season, C.J. Beathard played with a steady hand in engineering the 49ers’ run-first offense which made his job that much easier. Beathard completed 13 of 22 passes for 182 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Beathard threw touchdown passes to running back Jeff Wilson and Kyle Juszczyk giving the 49ers a 14-6 lead late in the third quarter.

Entering Week 16, Beathard was 1-9 as a starting quarterback for San Francisco. He was pressed into action after injuries to Jimmy Garappolo and Nick Mullens.

Beathard was also sacked three times.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Juszczyk hauled in his second score of the game (Beathard’s third TD of the game) from nine yards out that gave the 49ers a 20-12 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

But it was Wilson that shouldered most of the offensive burden for the 49ers against the Cardinals. With Raheem Mostert placed on injured reserve with a high-ankle sprain on Friday, Wilson rushed for a career-high 183 yards on 22 carries in his second start.

A day after most of the world opened presents on Christmas, the 49ers unwrapped tight end George Kittle and immediately felt his impact in the starting lineup.

The 49ers’ best and freshest player, Kittle looked healthy in his first game since Week 8 was on a pitch-count. He spent most of the time on the sideline as he rotated back and forth with Jordan Reed and Ross Dwelley. Kittle was targeted just once in the first half, catching a 24-yard pass with 6:22 left in the first quarter. He played 13 of the 49ers’ 26 snaps in the first half.

Kittle caught four passes for a team-high 92 yards. He caught all but one pass that was thrown his way.

San Francisco’s defense deserves a ton of credit for the 49ers’ win today.

Despite playing without three defensive lineman, including Javon Kinlaw, cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Jimmie Ward, the 49ers didn’t play like they were short-handed.

The 49ers were able to hold their own against Pro Bowl quarterback Kyler Murray.

Murray completed 31 of 50 passes for 247 yards, but was sacked three times and threw an interception. He also rushed for a team-high 75 yards on eight carries.

Arizona scored its first and only touchdown early in the fourth quarter when Kenyan Drake jumped on top of a pile and stretched his arm just far enough for a 1-yard touchdown. Murray couldn’t connect with DeAndre Hopkins on the 2-point conversion and the 49ers still led 14-12.

San Francisco’s defense leaned on linebackers Fred Warner (14 tackles) and Dre Greenlaw (7 tackles), while the defensive backfield was a major factor as cornerbacks Jason Verrett (7 tackles), Ahkello Witherspoon (7 tackles), K’Waun Williams (6 tackles) and safety Tarvarius Moore (11 tackles) limited Arizona receivers in yards-after-the-catch.

The 49ers held Hopkins in check, limiting the dynamic wide receiver to a team-high eight catches for 48 yards. A far cry from Week 1 where he caught a career-high 14 catches for 151 yards against the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium.

Verrett who was primarily guarding Hopkins throughout the day made the biggest play of the first half, breaking up a well-thrown pass from Murray in the end zone that prevented a potential touchdown. The play forced Arizona to kick a field goal that gave San Francisco a 7-6 lead at halftime.

San Francisco’s biggest plays came on Arizona’s final two drives of the game, including the aforementioned Witherspoon’s interception of Murray’s pass in the end zone.

The 49ers wouldn’t have had to sweat out the game if kicker Robbie Gould didn’t miss two field goals and an extra point.

Gould who made his 400th career field in Week 15, missed field goals from 37 and 41 yards. He missed an extra point after Juszczyk’s second touchdown that kept the score at 20-12.

San Francisco plays its final “home” game against the Seattle Seahawks at State Farm Stadium, while Arizona heads to Los Angeles to take on the Rams in the season finale.

Cowboys force four turnovers, take down 49ers 41-33 in Week 15

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne (84) leaps over the Dallas Cowboys Donavon Wilson (left) and Jourdan Lewis (26) catching a Hail Mary pass in the end zone in the second half in Arlington on Sun Dec 20, 2020 (AP News photo)

By Joe Hawkes
Staff Writer

DALLAS — For the second straight week, the 49ers defense held an opponent to ten points or less.

But offense and special teams didn’t do their part, committing four turnovers (three by quarterback Nick Mullens) as the Dallas Cowboys scored 24 points of turnovers to upend the visiting San Francisco 49ers, 41-33, Sunday afternoon in front of a sparse crowd at AT&T Stadium.

“I really wanted the guys to come out and play good football, and I think offensively, defensively and special teams guys did a lot of good things,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “When you have four turnovers, it doesn’t matter what you do, especially when you’ve got zero.”

San Francisco racked up 458 yards of total yards and controlled the clock for 35:56.

It marked the eighth straight game that the 49ers had two or more turnovers in a game; their longest streak since 2006. The turnovers have doomed the 49ers in recent weeks after a stellar performance from its defense.

Mullens completed 21-of-36 passes for 219 yards with two touchdowns, but threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter leading to 10 points that killed San Francisco’s chances at pulling the win out after trailing 27-24. He was also sacked twice.

It was also the sixth straight game that Mullens threw an interception.

San Francisco didn’t get off to the start it wanted to, falling behind Dallas 14-0 in the first quarter thanks to fumbles inside their own territory.

After the 49ers forced the Cowboys to punt following a 3-and-out, Dallas forced the first turnover of the game as kick returner Richie James fumbled at the San Francisco 23-yard line and recovered by the Cowboys.

The Cowboys took an early 7-0 lead thanks to a 1-yard touchdown run by backup running back Tony Pollard. Pollard started Sunday’s game in place of Ezekiel Elliott, who was sidelined by an injury for the first time in the two-time rushing champion’s career.

Pollard finished with 12 carries for 69 yards and two touchdowns. He was also big in the passing game, catching a team-high six catches for 63 yards.

On the ensuing drive, defensive end Demarcus Lawrence forced a fumble from Mullens that was recovered by linebacker Aldon Smith at the San Francisco 24-yard line. Five plays later, wide receiver Michael Gallup scored on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to put Dallas up 14-0.

Mullens would help the 49ers climb back into the game on the 49ers’ third possession of the game, engineering a 13-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jordan Reed to cut the Cowboys’ lead to 14-7 shortly before the end of the first quarter.

After the Cowboys added a 48-yard field goal by kicker Greg Zuerlein to push their lead to 17-7 in the second quarter, Mullens would find rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk for a 2-yard score trimming the Cowboys’ lead to 17-14.

Aiyuk finished with nine catches for 73 yards and a touchdown on 13 targets. For the season, the rookie leads the 49ers with 50 catches for 660 yards and four touchdowns.

In the third quarter, the 49ers tied the game at 17 on a 41-yard field goal by kicker Robbie Gould.

On the next drive, the Cowboys retook the lead, 24-17, on Dalton’s 12-yard touchdown strike to tight end Dalton Schultz.

Dalton completed 19-of-33 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns. San Francisco sacked Dalton twice (both by defensive tackle Arik Armstead) and held the Cowboys to 291 yards of total offense. Dallas had possessed the football for 25 minutes.

Jeff Wilson’s 1-yard scoring run for San Francisco tied the game at 24 late in the third quarter. It was the fourth touchdown drive of 75 yards.

Mullens had a chance to lead the 49ers to a tie-breaking score, but safety Donovan Wilson’s first career interception thwarted the drive and set up Dallas in great field position. After three straight incomplete passes, Zuerlein drills a 46-yarder to give Dallas a 27-24 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Following cornerback Anthony Brown’s interception, Pollard put the game away with a 40-yard touchdown run that put Dallas up 34-24 late in the fourth quarter.

After the 49ers kicked a field goal on second down to pull within a touchdown with a minute left in the game, CeeDee Lamb recovered the onside kick and raced 47 yards for a touchdown.

Lamb hauled in a team-high 85 yards on five catches over nine targets.

Backup quarterback C.J. Beathard who replaced Mullens following his second interception, handled the final two possessions for the 49ers. Beathard threw a 49-yard Hail Mary touchdown to Kendrick Bourne on the game’s final play.

Bourne finished with four catches for team-high 86 yards and a touchdown.

In a matchup between two franchises that have combined for 10 Super Bowl titles, the Cowboys (5-9) kept their slim playoff hopes alive while the loss all but ends the 49ers’ (5-9) chances at defending their NFC championship. San Francisco will be the second Super Bowl runner-up to miss the playoffs in 13 seasons when the season is over.

“If we don’t take care of our own business, nothing else matters,” Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said. “We’re clearly focused on what’s in front of us. We really want to finish strong with these two division games. That’s clearly my focus.”

Next week, both San Francisco and Dallas face divisional opponents as the 49ers will face off against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium.

The Cowboys will host the Philadelphia Eagles (4-8-1) in Week 16.

San Francisco’s playoff hopes takes gut punch after 23-15 loss to Washington on Sunday

 Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) walks behind the bench as Dwayne Haskins (7) reviews his previous series during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

By Joe Hawkes
Staff Writer

Its time to stick a fork in the 49ers’ plans for a return trip to the playoffs in 2020.

With a 23-15 loss to the NFC East-leading Washington Football Team in Glendale, Arizona at the home stadium of the Cardinals, the 49ers fall to 5-8 on the season. San Francisco trails the 7th-seeded Cardinals (7-6) in the conference. The 49ers face off against the Cardinals in Week 16, but will need a lot of help to get back to the postseason.

Quarterback Nick Mullens made his seventh start of the season in place of Jimmy Garopplo and it was another tough afternoon for Mullens and the 49ers’ offense. He had one of his roughest days, committing two backbreaking turnovers that Washington turned into 14 points.

With San Francisco clinging to a 7-6 lead late in the second quarter, Mullens fumbled at the San Francisco 47-yard line after being sacked by Washington defensive tackle Daron Payne and recovered by rookie defensive end Chase Young who returned it all the way for the go-ahead touchdown to put Washington ahead 13-7.

Young, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and a heavy favorite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year, finished with six tackles and a sack. Washington’s defensive line had no trouble getting to Mullens, sacking Mullens four times on the day

In half where Washington only managed 57 passing yards, Mullens was just awful. He completed 10-of-20 passes for 103 yards with zero touchdowns and zero interceptions in the first half.

With Washington leading 16-7 late in the third quarter, Mullens threw a bone-headed pass intended for fullback Kyle Juszczyk in the flat at the Washington 24-yard line that was intercepted by defensive back Kamren Curl who returned it 76 yards for a touchdown to push Washington’s lead to 23-7 to close out the quarter.

After that turnover, television cameras picked up backup quarterback C.J. Beathard warming up on the sidelines but Mullens would remain in the game.

Mullens would connect with Juszczyk on a 6-yard touchdown pass (followed by a successful 2-point conversion to wide receiver Kendrick Bourne) to make the score 23-15 midway in the fourth quarter following an 11-play, 75-yard drive in 4:42.

On the 49ers ensuing drive, Young batted down a key third-down pass to force a punt with less than seven minutes remaining in the game.

Mullens 25-of-45 passes for 260 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His passer rating was 68.2.

Rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk set career-highs in catches (10), targets (16) and yards (119).

Aiyuk was the only true play-maker San Francisco had on the day after losing wide receiver Deebo Samuel for the game on the 49ers’ first offensive play. Samuel left the game with a hamstring injury and is expected to undergo a MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the injury.

Running back Raheem Mostert led the 49ers with 14 carries for 65 yards. Fellow running back Jeff Wilson Jr. rushed for 31 yards on 11 carries, including a 1-yard touchdown run that gave San Francisco a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

Even in a tough game offensively for San Francisco, the unit ran more plays (76 to 62) recorded more total yards (344 to 193), more first downs (21 to 12) and won time of possession (32:11 to 27:49) over Washington. Mullens and the offense had success moving the football, but Washington made it tough for the 49ers to score when it they had to.

Washington played musical chairs at quarterback against the 49ers.

Alex Smith finished 8-of-19 for 57 yards and one interception in the first half, but a right calf issue before halftime knocked him out for the remainder of the game. Smith was replaced by backup Dwayne Haskins in the second half.

Haskins completed 7-of-12 passes for 51 yards.

Tight end Logan Thomas led Washington with six catches (on 7 targets) for 43 yards.

Second-year wide receiver Terry McLaurin needed just 23 yards to record his first career 1,000-yard receiving season, which he did by hauling in two catches for 24 yards against the 49ers. For the season, McLaurin has 73 catches for 1,001 yards receiving.

With top running back Antonio Gibson inactive with turf toe, Washington leaned on backup running back J.D. McKissic. The fourth-year running back finished with 11 carries for 68 yards.

In Week 15, the 49ers travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in a game that was flexed out of Sunday night into the afternoon window. The Cowboys hammered the Cincinnati Bengals, 30-7, at Paul Brown Stadium in Week 14.

Washington returns home to take on the Seattle Seahawks, who kept the New York Jets (0-13) win-less with a 40-3 crushing at Lumen Field in the Pacific Northwest.

49ers can’t overcome Bills Josh Allen’s four-TD, 375-yard night, lose to the Buffalo Bills 32-24 on Monday Night Football

Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Harrison Phillips (99) tries to block San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens (4) during Monday Night Football on Dec 7, 2020 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale AZ (AP News photo)

By Joe Hawkes
Staff Writer

Josh Allen was sizzling in the desert, throwing for 375 yards and four touchdowns on 32 of 40 pass attempts as the Buffalo Bills cruise to a 34-24 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Glendale, Ariz. at State Farm Stadium on Monday night to cap off Week 13.

At 9-3, the Buffalo Bills remain in sole possession of first place in the AFC East and clinched back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1998-99. The Bills are looking to capture their first division title since 1995.

Buffalo is one game ahead of the Miami Dolphins (8-4) with four games to play for both teams.

Allen completed passes to eight different receivers, throwing touchdown passes to Cole Beasley, Dawson Knox, Isaiah McKenzie and Gabriel Davis. Beasley and Stefon Diggs were Allen’s preferred targets on the night.

The duo combined for 22 targets, garnering 11 apiece.

Beasley was a tough cover for the 49ers defense in the first half, hauling in seven catches for 113 yards including a 5-yard TD on a curl route to tie the game at 7-7 following an early TD from San Francisco. Buffalo scored 17 unanswered points to lead 17-7 at halftime.

San Francisco had the injury bug bite them hard recently at their slot cornerback position and struggled to cover Beasley, who finished with a career-high nine catches for 130 yards and a TD.

Diggs registered 10 catches for 92 yards, doing most of his damage in the second half.

Buffalo’s offense harpooned the 49ers defense, exploding for 449 yards and 31 first downs. The Bills had 20 first downs alone before halftime and were efficient on offense, scoring points on five-straight drives through the second quarter and into the third quarter.

Buffalo took care of the football, dominating the time of possession: 35 minutes to 25 minutes.

In the same token, the 49ers had just nine first downs in the first half and struggled tremendously on offense for the majority of the game. The 49ers finished with 24 first downs and 402 yards of total offense that came mainly in the second half with the game decided.

San Francisco (5-7) lost a game in its temporary home of in Arizona. The 49ers will remain in Glendale for at least the next three weeks after Santa Clara County issued strict protocols that forced the team to find a temporary home.

It was the fourth game this season that Allen has thrown for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns, which set a franchise record according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly (1991) and Drew Bledsoe (2002) each did it three times for the Bills.

In the first quarter, both teams traded goal-line stands.

Buffalo opened the game with a 74-yard that was stopped at the 49ers’ 1-yard line after Allen’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete in the back of the end zone. San Francisco followed up with a 97-yard drive of their own that stopped at the Buffalo 2-yard line, but Jeff Wilson Jr. was stuffed for no gain on fourth down.

But the 49ers got the ball back in excellent field position following a fumble by Allen and the 49ers took advantage. Nick Mullens found rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk in the middle of the field for a 2-yard TD to take an early 7-0 lead.

Mullens finished 26 of 39 passing for 316 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Aiyuk had five catches for 95 yards and TD.

A week after recording a career-high 11 catches and 133 yards, wide receiver Deebo Samuel finished with a team-leading six catches for 73 yards all in the second half. Buffalo’s defense shutdown Samuel in the first half, holding the dynamic play-maker to just one target.

Wilson Jr. led the 49ers with 47 yards rushing on seven carries, while Raheem Mostert chipped in with 42 yards on nine carries.

The 49ers will stay in Arizona to host the Washington Football Team Sunday, while the Buffalo Bills will be featured in primetime once again when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday night.

Kicker Gould’s game-winning field goal boots 49ers past Rams, 23-20, in LA

San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould (4) is mobbed by his teammates after kicking the game winning field goal against the Los Angeles Rams in the fourth quarter on Sun Nov 29, 2020 (photo from sfgate.com)

By Joe Hawkes
Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES — Heading into Week 12, the Los Angeles Rams sat atop of the NFC West while the San Francisco occupied the basement of the division.

For the first 2 1/2 quarters of Sunday’s game, it looked like the roles were reversed. For a second, the Rams appeared to regain the upper-hand before the 49ers would finish off the season thanks to Robbie Gould’s 42-yard field goal as time expired for a 23-20 upset victory in their first game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.

The win for San Francisco completes a season sweep over Los Angeles. It also gives the 49ers a four-game winning streak over the Rams and snaps their three-game losing streak. The 49ers improve to 5-6 on the season and remain in the hunt for a playoff spot in the NFC.

Three of the 49ers’ most important players returned to the field Sunday, each making big contributions to the win.

Wide receiver Deebo Samuel who missed the last three games with a strained hamstring, had the biggest play from scrimmage for the 49ers in the first quarter. Samuel turned quarterback Nick Mullens’ short pass into a 33-yard pick up on the 49ers’ third possession of the game.

Three plays later, one play after a 26-yard gain from Samuel, running back Raheem Mostert rushed for an 8-yard touchdown slipping down the left sideline to give the 49ers a 7-3 lead.

Mostert who was making his return to the lineup for the first time since Week 6 (against the Rams), finished with 43 yards on 16 carries.

The offense was noticeably different with both Samuel and Mostert in the lineup. Samuel finished with career-highs in catches (11) and yards (133).

Mullens, albeit a bit shaky for most of the game, made plays down the stretch to put the 49ers in position to win. He completed 24 of 35 passes for 252 yards, no touchdowns and one interception that resulted on a tipped pass by Rams game-wrecker Aaron Donald that fell into the arms of Jordan Fuller.

Donald was essentially a non factor in the team’s first meeting, but was wrecking ball in today’s game.

With the 49ers holding a 17-6 lead midway through the third quarter, Donald split between right tackle Mike McGlinchey and rookie center Colton McKivitz and forced a Mostert fumble. Cornerback Troy Hill scooped it up and returned the fumble 20 yards for a touchdown to trim San Francisco’s lead to 17-13.

On San Francisco’s next possession, Donald sacked Mullens on first down for a loss of eight yards that led to a three-and-out. On the Rams’ next drive, rookie running back Cam Akers ripped off a 61-yard run to setup first-and-goal at the 49ers’ 6-yard line. Two plays later, Akers barrels his way into the end zone for a 1-yard score to give the Rams their first lead of the game, 20-17.

San Francisco’s offense committed three turnovers and finished 3 of 14 on third downs but it was the play by the defense, forcing four turnovers and the returning Richard Sherman that put the 49ers over the top.

Sherman, who hasn’t played since Week 1, made his presence felt early in the game when he intercepted Rams quarterback Jared Goff in the first quarter. Sherman would finish with a team-high seven tackles.

The front seven made life difficult for Goff all day, creating great pressure from defensive tackles Javon Kinlaw and Kevin Givens that allowed defensive end Kerry Hyder to feast.

Hyder recorded two sacks off Goff, who threw his second interception of the game in the third quarter to Kinlaw where the rookie returned it 27 yards to give the 49ers a 14-3 lead. Hyder leads the team with 7.5 sacks this year.

For the second time this season, the 49ers didn’t allow Goff to crack 200 yards passing as the Rams’ signal-caller finished 19 of 31 for 198 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions and one fumble.

In the first matchup against San Francisco, Goff completed 19 of 38 passes for 198 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in San Francisco’s 24-16 on Oct. 18.

Goff entered Sunday’s contest after putting up 376 yards and three touchdowns (with two interceptions) on 39 of 51 pass attempts in the Rams’ 27-24 win over the Buccaneers on ESPN’s Monday Night Football at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

Safety Jimmie Ward forced two fumbles on the day, each recovered by Givens and Hyder.

Defensively, the 49ers held the Rams to 308 yards of total offense and 4 of 13 on third downs.

The 49ers are set to host games against the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 7 and Washington on Dec. 13 but due to a ban on contact sports by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department that was announced Saturday, San Francisco doesn’t have a venue as of yet.

Possible locations include Arizona and Texas according to multiple reports. Those are also the sites of the 49ers’ two final road games. The 49ers are scheduled to play at Dallas on Sunday, Dec. 20, and at Arizona on either Saturday, Dec. 26, or Sunday, Dec. 27.

49ers fall to 4-6 on the year after 27-13 loss to the Saints in New Orleans

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) watches the action in the second half against the San Francisco 49ers at the Superdome in New Orleans on Sun Nov 15, 2020 (AP News photo)

By Joe Hawkes
Staff Writer

NEW ORLEANS, LA — Already dealing with a depleted roster, the 49ers needed to play near perfect against the Saints if they expected to leave the Crescent City with a win. San Francisco had their share of chances, but couldn’t overcome four turnovers as the Saints take down the 49ers with a 27-13 victory in front of approximately 6,000 fans inside the Mercedes Superdome on Sunday afternoon.

New Orleans (7-2) have now won six-straight games and send the 49ers to their third-straight loss this season. Its the first three-game losing streak for San Francisco since 2018.

The injury-laden 49ers (4-6) head into a much-needed bye week where they will try to regroup for the final six games of their season. San Francisco has little wiggle room if it expects to make the playoffs after playing the Super Bowl a season ago.

San Francisco’s next game will be at the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 29 in what will be a must-win game for the 49ers. They’ve already taken the first matchup against the Rams, 26-14, back on Oct. 26 at Levi’s Stadium.

Nick Mullens, who was making his second-straight start and fourth of the year in place of regular starter Jimmy Garoppolo, started off the 49ers’ first possession sizzling, completing 6 of 7 passes for 47 yards and converting a couple of third downs on a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive.

Mullens connected with rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk on a 4-yard touchdown pass to cap off a drive that lasted 7 minutes, 17 seconds giving San Francisco an early 7-0 lead.

Aiyuk finished with seven catches for 75 yards and one touchdown while being targeted a team-high 14 times.

Mullens completed 24 of 38 passes for 247 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He was briefly removed from the game in favor of C.J. Beathard in the fourth quartere on a third-and-21 play because of Beathard’s stronger arm. Beathard underthrew the ball deep to wide receiver Richie James.

Mullens would return to the field on the next series.

San Francisco dominated New Orleans the first half, gaining more total yards (166 to 90) and first downs 13 to 6). The 49ers ran 40 offensive plays to the Saints’ 21 while controlling the time of possession (22 minutes to 8 minutes).

After jumping out to a 10-0 lead following a 32-yard field goal by kicker Robbie Gould early in the second quarter, special teams made some costly mistakes.

They gave up a 75-yard kickoff return to Deonte Harris to setup a field goal for the Saints that cut the lead to 10-3.

Later in the quarter, 49ers special-teamer Ken Webster found himself too close to a punt that Trent Taylor let land. The ball hit Webster in the face mask and the Saints recovered at the 49ers’ own 21-yard line.

Two plays later, the 49ers defense made a big play when defensive tackle Kentavius Street sacked Saints quarterback Drew Brees for an 8-yard loss. Brees was hurt on the play. Street’s first career sack was nullified by a questionable roughing the passer penalty after Street landed on Brees. Replays appear to show that Street turned his body to the side to avoid landing on Brees with his full body weight.

Backup quarterback Jameis Winston replaced Brees in the second half. Brees was ruled out of the game with a rib injury. He finished 8 of 13 for 76 yards and one touchdown.

That penalty appeared to be crucial as it led to a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Alvin Kamara three plays later that tied the game at 10-10.

New Orleans would add another touchdown before the end of the first half and take a 17-10 lead into the locker room at halftime after running back Jerick McKinnon was stopped for a 2-yard loss on fourth-and-1 from the New Orleans 41-yard line. Kamara scored his second touchdown in the first half on a 3-yard pass from Brees.

It was a calamity of errors for the 49ers in the game, but the 49ers had opportunities to pull out the upset on the road. Safety Jimmie Ward dropped a potential interception inside the Saints’ territory, but the muffed punt by wide receiver Richie James in the fourth quarter was the back breaker for San Francisco.

Kamara’s third score of the game (a 1-yard run) gave the Saints a commanding 27-10 lead with 7:29 left in the game. The Saints do-it-all running back finished with seven catches for 83 yards and a touchdown, while running for 15 yards on 8 carries and two touchdowns.

The 49ers would add a 40-yard field goal to cut the Saints’ lead to 27-13, but too little too late.

San Francisco’s inability to run the football was clearly evident from the Saints closing up any and all running lanes. The aforementioned McKinnon rushed for 33 yards on 18 carries. Rookie running back JaMychal Hasty rushed for 13 yards on 3 carries, but injured his clavicle on a tackle by Saints linebacker Demario Davis.

Rookie defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw had his best game of his career, registering 1.5 of San Francisco’s three sacks. Despite the final outcome, the 49ers defense played well holding the Saints to 237 total yards and 2 of 12 on third down.

Aaron Rodgers throws 4 TDs in Packers’ 34-17 crushing of the 49ers

The Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers (center) gets a huge congratulations from wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, bottom left, after throwing a second half touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday Night Football Nov 5th at Levis Stadium Santa Clara (AP News photo)

By Joe Hawkes
Staff Writer

SANTA CLARA, Calif — The Green Bay Packers came to Levi’s Stadium last season and were defeated handily, including a 17-point loss in the NFC Championship Game in January.

Things were totally different this time around, as the Packers came into an empty Levi’s Stadium and defeated the injury-plagued 49ers 34-17 Thursday night in front a nationally televised audience.

The loss drops San Francisco to 1-4 at home this season.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers dissected the 49ers, completing 26 of 31 passes for 305 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions with a passer rating of 147.2 in the game.

Rodgers put the Packers up 7-0 on their opening drive of the game with a beautiful 36-yard touchdown to wide receiver Davante Adams’ back-shoulder down the left sideline beating 49ers cornerback Emmaunel Moseley. The score capped off a six-play, 75-yard drive for the Packers, who are the only team this season to score on all of their opening possessions.

Adams finished with 10 catches for 173 yards and a touchdown.

Following a 22-yard Robbie Gould field goal to cut Green Bay’s lead to 7-3, Rodgers added his second touchdown of the game on a 1-yard toss to a wide open Marcedes Lewis to push the Packers lead to 14-3 midway through the second quarter. The tight end was left uncovered in the end zone by a 49ers defense that had trouble applying pressure to Rodgers.

With the 49ers at midfield on the ensuing drive, quarterback Nick Mullens throws a terrible pass in the flat intended for running back Jerick McKinnon that was intercepted by safety Raven Black. Black’s interception would setup Rodgers’ third touchdown in the first half, a 52-yard bomb to a streaking Marquez Valdes-Scantling down the middle of the field putting the Packers up 21-3 shortly before halftime. Valdes-Scantling was able to race by safety Marcel Harris and Rodgers dropped the football in his lap.

In the second half Rodgers would pick up where he left off, connecting with Valdes-Scantling again on a 1-yard score to put the Packers ahead comfortably 28-3. It was Rodgers’ fourth score of the game and Valdes-Scantling’s second touchdown on the night.

Rodgers would retreat to the bench in the fourth quarter with the Packers comfortably ahead, 34-3 and replaced by rookie Jordan Love.

Running back Aaron Jones, who was questionable coming into to the game with a calf issue, rushed for 58 yards on 15 carries and hauled in five catches for 21 yards.

For Mullens and the 49ers (4-5): they got sledgehammered by a better team and quarterback tonight.

Green Bay took advantage of a depleted 49ers squad that was playing without starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, tight end George Kittle, running back Raheem Mostert, wide receivers Deebo Samuel, rookie Brandon Aiyuk and Kendrick Bourne, left tackle Trent Williams, cornerback Richard Sherman, and defensive ends Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas among others.

Mullens, who also lost a fumble, completed 22 of 35 for 291 yards and a touchdown in his first start for San Francisco since Week 4’s 25-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Aside from the two turnovers by Mullens, he connected with wide receiver Richie James for a 41-yard touchdown down the right sideline to make the score 34-10 with five minutes left in the game.

James took full advantage of the 49ers’ shortage of wide receivers, posting nine catches for 184 yards and a touchdown. It was the most yards for James in either of his first two seasons in the league (130 yards in 2018, 165 yards in 2019).

After allowing Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook to rumble for 163 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 30 carries, Green Bay held San Francisco to just 55 yards on the ground. McKinnon led the 49ers with 52 yards on 11 carries and a late touchdown.

Defensively for San Francisco, it was the second-straight week surrendering 30+ points and four touchdown passes in a game.

The NFL’s sixth-ranked defense allowed 405 yards of total offense to Rodgers and the Packers after allowing 350 yards to the Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson in Week 8’s 37-27 loss.

And it doesn’t get any easier as they will face future Hall of Famer in Drew Brees and the Saints in New Orleans in Week 10 on Nov. 15.

Middle linebacker Fred Warner led the 49ers with a 13 tackles, while fellow linebacker Dre Greenlaw and safety Jaquiski Tartt finished with seven tackles each. Tartt left the game shortly before halftime with a foot injury. Although he was listed as questionable to return to the game, Tartt was ruled out in the third quarter.

Tartt was in his first game back after missing the last three games with a groin injury.

Sources: San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo, TE George Kittle out indefinitely with injuries

Photo credit: nfl.com

By Joe Hawkes
Staff Writer

SANTA CLARA, Calif — It seems like after every game this season, the San Francisco 49ers lose players to injuries. On Monday, the 49ers were hit with two-punch combo as starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and tight end George Kittle will miss multiple weeks with injuries a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

For Garoppolo, he aggravated his high right ankle sprain during San Francisco’s 37-27 loss to the Seattle Seahawks and is expected to be sidelined for six weeks or longer if the ankle requires surgery is the source told Schefter.

Garoppolo played poorly against Seattle, completing 11 of 16 passes for 84 yards with no touchdowns and one interception before leaving the game in the second half with San Francisco trailing 30-7. He was replaced by backup quarterback Nick Mullens, who finished the game completing 18 of 25 passes for 238 yards with two touchdowns and a passer rating of 128.4. With Garoppolo out for the foreseeable future, Mullens will return back to the starting lineup, a role he held when Garoppolo missed two games earlier his season with the same injury.

Mullens told reporters Sunday that he would be prepared to step in for Garoppolo if needed.

“Anytime you can get out there and bounce back from from my last start, it’s definitely going to create some confidence,” Mullens said. “The biggest thing I’ve learned just going through it all is that the NFL is tough. It’s all about what you do next. That’s why I tell myself pretty much every day, ‘It’s all about you do next.’ No matter if its good or bad, it’s all about what you do next.”

C.J. Beathard will serve as Mullens’ backup when the 49ers (4-4) host the Green Bay Packers (5-2) this Thursday night at Levi’s Stadium.

The 49ers were optimistic that Kittle’s foot injury wasn’t serious after initial testing, but further evaluation revealed a broken bone that will sideline the All-Pro tight end eight weeks, a source said. With the 49ers at 4-4 and eight weeks left in the season, Kittle’s season is likely over.

Kittle’s injury happened two minutes after Garoppolo limped back to the locker room after he leaped to bring in a 25-yard pass from Mullens. Kittle hauled in the catch, but landed awkwardly and limped to the sideline immediately. A short time later, Kittle headed to the locker room.

Kittle, who signed a five-year $75 million contract extension during training camp, missed two games this season with MCL sprain in his left knee he suffered in Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals.

Backup tight end Ross Dwelley is expected to take Kittle’s place in the lineup. Dwelley caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Mullens against the Seahawks, but the 49ers are hopeful that tight end Jordan Reed can return soon to help replace Kittle’s production. Reed has been out of action since Week 3 with a sprained knee.

The loss of Kittle is huge. Not only is he the team’s best offensive player, but vital to the 49ers’ running game. Without Kittle, San Francisco’s offense will be severely hindered.

Entering Sunday’s game, the 49ers had the highest salary cap value of players on injured reserve this season at $54.2 million according to Spotrac. With Garoppolo and Kittle likely heading to IR and join the likes of defensive end Nick Bosa (torn ACL), running back Raheem Mostert (high ankle sprain), wide receiver Deebo Samuel (strained hamstring) and cornerback Richard Sherman (strained calf), that value will increase.

In eight games this year, San Francisco has three different leading passers, four different leading rushers and for different leading receivers.