Cardinals,Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins spoil 49ers’ home opener with 24-20 victory

By Joe Hawkes

SANTA CLARA, Calif — The San Francisco 49ers’ “Revenge Tour” for 2020 didn’t get off to the best start, as the Arizona Cardinals slipped by San Francisco, 24-20, in Week 1 of the NFL season on Sunday afternoon.

Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, whom the Cardinals acquired in the offseason via a trade with the Houston Texans, dominated a usually formidable 49ers defense for much of the game. Hopkins finished with a career-high 14 catches for 151 yards in his debut, set up running back Kenyan Drake’s 1-yard go-ahead TD with 5:03 left in the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Kyler Murray, last season’s Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year, picked up where he left off, threw for 230 yards and a touchdown and ran for 90 yards and another score to help the Cardinals (1-0) overcome a pair of fourth quarter deficits to the reigning NFC champion 49ers (0-1) in an empty Levi’s Stadium in smoky temperatures.

There were growing concerns all week that the game could be postponed because of poor air quality from fires from across Northern California. The Air Quality Index remained below the 200 threshold and the game kicked off on time.

Murray completed 26-of-40 passes and was sacked twice on the day. Murray actually rushed for 100 yards before two kneeldowns at the end for minus-10 yards.

49ers running back Jerick McKinnon caught a 5-yard TD pass from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in his first game since Dec. 31, 2017, to give San Francisco a 20-17 lead with 8:38 left in the fourth quarter before Murray engineered Arizona’s comeback.

Murray’s 33-yard connection to Hopkins to the 49ers’ 1-yard line would setup Drake’s score on the very next play, putting the Cardinals up for good.

San Francisco’s defense registered just one sack by defensive end Kerry Hyder and one interception by safety Jaquiski Tartt. It was San Francisco’s first recorded interception by a safety since Oct. 28, 2018, coincidentally, by Tartt against the Cardinals when he picked off from first-round pick Josh Rosen.

Tartt recorded the interception in the second quarter off a tip pass from second-year starting linebacker Dre Greenlaw.

The defense looked extremely gassed in the fourth quarter after Arizona went on a 14-play, 94-yard drive that covered 6:48 minutes that resulted in a 22-yard TD run by Murray that gave the Cardinals their first lead of the game at 17-13 with 10:26 remaining.

Garoppolo, who finished 19-of-33 passing for 259 yards and two TD’s, moved San Francisco to the Cardinals’ 16-yard line before throwing an incomplete pass to wide receiver Trent Taylor on fourth-and-5 that sealed the 49ers’ fate.

San Francisco jumped out to a 10-0 first quarter lead, highlighted by a 76-yard TD catch from running back Raheem Mostert from Garoppolo. Mostert’s score reached a maximum speed of 22.73 MPH, per NFL Next Gen Stats.

It was the fastest TD since Tyreek Hill in 2016.

As a whole, San Francisco struggled on offense against a very improved Cardinals defense for much of the game. The 49ers couldn’t convert on third down, going 2-for-11 on the day and got nothing from its wide receiver group.

Taylor (5), Kendrick Bourne (5) and Dante Pettis garnered just 11 targets while mustering just 41 yards among them.

By that same token, fullback Kyle Juszczyk had one catch but that went for 41 yards in the fourth quarter.

Tight end George Kittle, the 49ers unquestioned best offensive player, caught four passes for 44 yards in the first half before leaving late in the second quarter for the locker room with a scary looking leg injury. Kittle jumped high for a pass from Garoppolo on the left side of the field. The All-Pro tight end was tackled around his waist by Cardinals safety Budda Baker just as he landed to the turf.

It appeared that Kittle’s left knee just hyperextend. Kittle did return in the second-half, but was a virtual non-factor in the offense.

San Francisco looks to get into the win column next week as they travel to New York for their first of two games in the Big Apple, when they take on the Jets in Week 2.

The Jets (0-1) fell to their AFC East rivals, the Buffalo Bills (1-0), 27-17 earlier in the day.

Nothing went well for the Jets, who opened the game with three three-and-outs, combined for 23 yards of offense and one first down on their five possessions, and trailed 21-0 before anyone blinked.

Jets quarterback Sam Darnold completed 21-of-35 passes for 215 yards, one touchdown, one interception and was sacked three times.

Wide receiver Jamison Crowder had himself a game, hauling seven catches for 115 yards which included a 69-yard TD catch from Darnold that briefly cut the Bills’ lead to 21-10 with 5:10 left in the third quarter.

 

 

 

San Francisco 49ers podcast with Joe Lami: Will 49ers’ injuries play a big part in game against Green Bay Sunday?

Photo credit: mercurynews.com

On the 49ers podcast with Joe:

#1 San Francisco 49ers Mike LaFleur, who is the running game coordinator, and the Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LeFleur are brothers who will face each other on Sunday Night Football at Levi’s Stadium proving coaching runs in the family.

#2 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo might have to throw to receiver with less than 19 catches through the first ten games of the season due to injuries, which will be a tall task against Green Bay on Sunday.

#3 The receivers that most likely may or may not play Sunday are tight end George Kittle (ankle), wide receiver Deebo Samuel (shoulder), and Emmanuel Sanders wide receiver (ribs).

#4 The 49ers are also missing running back Matt Breida (ankle), kicker Robbie Gould (quadriceps), defensive end Dee Ford (hamstring). All are out this Sunday how much will the 49ers miss them in the line up.

#5 Lastly, Joe tells us how the 49ers and Packers shape up on Sunday Night Football.

Joe Lami is a 49ers beat writer and does the 49ers podcasts each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Headline Sports with Barbara Mason: 49ers will have to step it up against Green Bay on Sunday; Raiders squeeze by winless Bengals; plus more

sfgate photo: San Francisco 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo looks to pass in 4th quarter of Niners’ 36-26 win over Arizona Cardinals in NFL game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday, November 17, 2019.

On Headline Sports with Barbara:

#1 The San Francisco 49ers cut it close in their last two games vs. Seattle and Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals in a last minute comeback touchdown to squeak it out.

#2 The Oakland Raiders just got by the Cincinnati Bengals in a 17-10 win. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr threw 25-29, 292 yards, one touchdown, and an interception.

#3 A tough loss in New Orleans as the Golden State Warriors dropped a 108-100 contest to the Pelicans Sunday but tonight they finally pulled off a win against the Memphis Grizzlies 114-95 ending a seven game loss streak.

#4 The Sacramento Kings just got by the Boston Celtics 100-99. The Kings have to thank Buddy Hield, who scored 35 points on Sunday at Golden 1 Center.

#5 The #3 Stanford women came up with a huge victory over Gonzaga 76-70 in overtime. Lexie Hull scored 20 points of 22 after halftime.

Join Barbara for Headline Sports each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

San Francisco 49ers podcast with David Zizmor: After playing two close games, do 49ers have a chance against Green Bay?

sfgate.com photo: Jeff Wilson Jr. dances in the end zone after making the game-winning catch in Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. (Nov. 17, 2019)

On the 49ers podcast with David:

#1 David, tell us how close this one on Sunday was against the Arizona Cardinals really was. Did the 49ers 9-1 have to get desperate in the closing minutes of this game?

#2 After watching the 49ers in their last two games, both close ones. Is there a concern about the 49ers and their next game against Green Bay 8-2?

David Zizmor does the 49ers podcasts each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Garoppolo’s Career Day Powers Comeback for Niners

Photo credit: cbssports.com

By: Joe Lami

SANTA CLARA — The San Francisco 49ers continue to find ways to win football games and improve to 9-1. On Sunday, they came firing back from a 16-point deficit despite not having a run game to beat Arizona 36-26. It also marks the first time since 2013 San Francisco has swept Arizona in the season series. Coincidently, 2013 was also the 49ers’ last winning season.

Jimmy Garoppolo joined rarified air in Niners’ history, joining Joe Montana and Steve Young as the only players to throw 400+ yards and four touchdowns in a single game. Garoppolo shattered his previous career-high of 371 yards, passing for 424, yet wasn’t perfect throwing two interceptions in the process.

Jimmy was forced to be excellent, with no support from a run game that finished with 34 yards on 19 carries and leading the comeback. His 424 yards were the 10th most in San Francisco history. Garoppolo did so without George Kittle and with Emmanuel Sanders limited. Instead, he used the entire roster to his advantage, completing receptions to ten different receivers.

Ross Dwelley was the star on Sunday, standing in for the injured Kittle, catching four balls for 14 yards and two touchdowns and is proving himself to be the swiss-army knife the red and gold need. They marked his first two career touchdowns of his NFL career.

The Cardinals jumped on the Niners’ early, especially targeting Richard Sherman, who was tacked with three pass interference penalties in the opening half. The first came on Arizona’s opening possession and pinned San Francisco inside their own five-yard line on a third down. Fortunately, the Niners defense bent but didn’t break, forcing Zane Gonzalez to kick a 26-yard field goal.

Later in the first quarter, Kyler Murray found Larry Fitzgerald in the end zone for the hall-of-famer’s 118th TD reception of his career. Zane Gonzalez kept the score at 9-0 after a missed PAT.

Arizona took the 16-point advantage in the second quarter when Kyler Murray found Pharoh Cooper for his second touchdown of the day. Murray was electric, and one can see why the Cardinals spent their first-overall pick on him. His 150 passing yards, 67 rushing yards, and three touchdowns don’t do him enough justice. The Niners’ defense adjusted, clamped down, and made his life difficult for the majority of the day.

The Niners looked dead to rights in the second quarter until they ran a screen pass to the left side to Richie James Jr. James showcased his incredible speed, darting down the sideline for 57 yards and sparking the 49ers’ offense and setting up Dwelley’s first score.

The Niners cut the deficit to six, as Chase McLaughlin nailed a 43-yard field goal to end the half.

San Francisco made it 17-unanswered points, scoring on the second half’s opening drive with Dwelley’s second TD of the day to take a 17-16 lead. After another Gonzlez field goal, San Francisco would re-take the lead again early in the fourth with Kendrick Bourne’s third touchdown of the season, making it 23-19 after a missed two-point conversion.

Shanahan mentioned his chart and being “the right thing to do” when explaining the two-point attempt.

Murray ran in his only rushing touchdown of the game from 22-yards out to retake the lead at 26-23 with 6:30 to go. The ball and game would fall onto the lap of Jimmy G once again.

In his first attempt, a deflected ball targeting Dwelley was intercepted with 4:41 to play. Luckily, the defense had his back, buckled down, and ensured he would get a second chance at the comeback.

Jimmy G drove down the field, bringing the ball inside the 30-yard line. With under a minute to go, a short pass to Dwelley on third-and-three triggered a lengthy review on whether or not the Tight End picked up the first down. Following the review and with a first down, Shanahan drew up the perfect play, targeting Jeff Wilson Jr. in his first snap of the game. Wilson found himself wide open and scampered into the end-zone for the last-minute touchdown.

“Kyle’s a mastermind. I give [all the credit] to him, I can’t give any credit to me. He called the right play for me. I just did what I had to do to make a play,” explained Wilson Jr. He became the 12th different receiver to haul in a touchdown from Garoppolo on the year.

The Niners put a feather in the cap on a crazy defensive score to finish the game. DJ Reed was credited with the score after an errant Fitzgerald lateral as time expired, making it 36-26.

The Niner’s ability to find various ways of winning continues to be their greatest strength. They’ll need to rely on these early experiences and the success they’ve seen as the schedule continues to get tougher. In the next three weeks, we’ll fully comprehend what the red and gold are made of, with Green Bay in town next weekend before back-to-back road games against the Ravens and Saints.

Injuries Could Cripple 49ers Against Cardinals

Photo credit: si.com

By: Joe Lami

SANTA CLARA–The Niners are no longer undefeated, and with only a one-game advantage on the Seattle Seahawks, they need to get back down to business this weekend with the Arizona Cardinals in town. Arizona’s season is beginning to slip away, thanks to a quick three-game skid that finds them at the bottom of the NFC West.

The 3-6-1 team is better than their record indicates as we saw two weeks ago in Thursday night’s 28-25 Halloween scare. San Francisco can’t afford to take Arizona lightly, a team that they haven’t beaten at home since 2014, Levi’s inaugural season.

This time of year, injuries will always be the key storyline. San Francisco struggled on offense against the Seahawks without George Kittle and Emmanuel Sanders. A slight dip to their third-down conversion seemed to be the difference between a win and a loss, and the 49ers could be without their top two targets again this weekend.

Sanders, who sustained a rib injury in Monday’s loss, has yet to practice this week and appears to be out on Sunday. He’s shown quick chemistry with Garoppolo and owned Arizona in their opening meeting, catching seven balls for 112 yards. The sure-handed receiver will be greatly missed, especially after Monday’s nine-drop debacle.

Meanwhile, Kittle practiced for the first time on Thursday since sustaining his knee injury against the Cardinals. He was limited, but it was a good sign to see him back on the practice field in Santa Clara. His status for Monday is still questionable.

On top of possibly being without their top two targets come Sunday, Matt Breida’s ankle injury will keep him out the next couple of weeks, as he reaggravated it on Monday. The 49ers’ offensive attack could look greatly diminished against the Cardinals, which should scare those that realize it took everyone to win the first time around.

San Francisco finished with 411 total yards in their win against the Cardinals, and if you take out Kittle, Sanders, and Breida, they’re left with 142 yards. Taking away 62% of their total offense is going to be challenging to overcome. They’ll need to find more production out of Tevin Coleman and Deebo Samuel to battle for a win. Samuel is coming off his breakout game, catching eight balls for 112 yards.

On top of the critical skill position injuries, the Niners will go back to being without Joe Staley, who broke a couple of fingers in Monday’s loss. Insert Justin Skule, who’s been a great surprise sliding in for Staley’s absence earlier in the year. The sixth-round rookie did a fabulous job defending Garoppolo’s blindside.

If Kyle Shanahan can game plan once again around all these injuries, San Francisco should be okay. They’ve shown different ways to win all season, and this Sunday could be his biggest test yet. With zero wiggle room atop the NFC West, now is not the time for a monumental slip-up.

San Francisco 49ers podcast with Joe Lami: Staley out again with injured finger; Blair on injured reserve; plus more

photo from sfgate.com: San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) passes against Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson (99) during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Nov. 11, 2019

On the 49ers podcast with Joe:

#1 San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said that Joe Staley who returned to action on Monday Night Football after missing six weeks will be out again another two weeks after injuring his finger. Staley had surgery Tuesday.

#2 49ers right tackle Mike McGlinchey said that Staley’s finger ballooned out and Staley had been having issues with the finger before he re-injured it on Monday night.

#3 The 49ers put defensive end Ronald Blair on injured reserve and re-signed pass rusher DaMontre Moore. Moore is joining the team after Blair tore his ACL on Monday night.

#4 Look for defensive linemaen Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas who played inside they could end up outside and according to head coach Kyle Shanahan they could get a few more snaps.

#5 The 49ers host the Arizona Cardinals at Levis at 1pm on Sunday Joe set this one up.

Join Joe Lami for the 49ers podcasts each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Headline Sports podcast with Tony Renteria: Washington sending scout to watch Kaepernick practice; 49ers look to get back in win column Sunday against Arizona; plus more

photo from tmz: Seeking work in the NFL Colin Kaepernick will be trying out his handwork this week in his quest for an NFL job.

On Headlines with Tony Renteria:

#1 Washington is one of the NFL teams that will be taking a look at quarterback Colin Kaepernick for his tryouts to get back on an NFL team. It was mentioned that Washington might not be interested in Kaepernick because they have rookie Dwayne Haskins as a team starter.

#2 49ers host the Arizona Cardinals next. It’s just one day less to rest as the 49ers are coming off that tough loss on Monday Night Football to the Seattle Seahawks. After a loss like that, how quick do you see the 49ers regrouping?

#3 The Oakland Raiders just edged out the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday Night Football last week 26-24. The Raiders’ Derek Carr threw for 218 yards and went 21 for 31 with one touchdown.

#4 The Sacramento Kings are believing in themselves. They have won four of their last five games and are getting great offensive production from Bogdan Boganovic, Buddy Heild, Nemanja Bjelica, and Harrison Barnes.

#5 After former Houston Astros pitcher Mike Fiers said that the Astros were stealing signs during the 2017 season and 2017 World Series, how far down does the Astros’ credibility go down from here?

Tony Renteria does Headline Sports each Thursday for http://www.sportsradioservice.com

San Francisco 49ers podcast with Joe Lami: For Halloween, 49ers scare Cardinals to stay perfecto

Photo credit: ninerswire.usatoday.com

On the San Francisco 49ers podcast with Joe Lami:

#1 San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is working that magic again. He had command of his passes and was able to be mobile and get his passes where he wanted them to.

#2 The 49ers were able to hold onto the lead, despite the Arizona Cardinal trying to play catch up in the second half.

#3 Evidence that Garoppolo had time to throw was by his numbers going 28-37 for 317 yards and a passer rating of 136.9.

#4 The key play for the Cardinals in the second half was when quarterback Kyler Murray threw an 88-yard touchdown to receiver Andy Isabella. Also, Murray threw for 241 yards going 17-24 and nearly caught up with the 49ers.

#5 The 49ers head to home to host the Seattle Seahawks for Monday Night Football on ESPN at Levi’s Stadium. How do you size this one up?

Joe Lami is your host for the 49ers podcasts each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Garoppolo’s big night leads 49ers past Cards 28-25

Photo credit: @MySportsUpdate

By Jeremy Harness

This season, Jimmy Garoppolo has simply played the role of a distributor this year, whether it be handing off or making kay passes to keep the chains moving. On Halloween night, he stepped up and put the scare into the Arizona Cardinals.

The 49ers remained undefeated on Thursday night, but they had to stave off a furious second-half comeback from the Cardinals in the process, getting out of the desert with a 28-25 victory.

Garoppolo completed 28 of their 37 passes for 317 yards and four touchdowns, for a pass rating of 136.9.

The defense, which has been stellar all season, suffered a major hiccup in the second half and allowed the Cardinals back in the game, particularly when rookie quarterback Kyler Murray found receiver Andy Isabella for an 88-yard catch-and run, after which Kenyan Drake converted a two-point attempt to cut the lead to a field goal with just under five minutes remaining.

Murray wasn’t too bad himself, passing for 241 yards while completing 17 of his 24 throws with a pair of scores. Meanwhile Drake, who was just picked up days ago in a trade from the woeful Miami Dolphins, carried the ball 15 times for 110 yards and a touchdown.

The offense, however, was able to pick up the defense by holding on to the ball and getting key first downs to get the Cardinals to use their timeouts and, eventually, run out the clock.

The 49ers caught a huge break at the end of the first half, when they took a gamble and watched as Jeff Wilson, Jr. was stopped cold at the Arizona 1-yard line to supposedly end the half with only a seven-point lead.

However, Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, who apparently wasn’t comfortable with the personnel he had on the field at the time, had called a timeout prior to the play being run, nullifying the stop and give the 49ers another chance.

They made good on that reprieve, as Garoppolo found Emmanuel Sanders in the corner of the end zone to extend the lead to 21-7. Sanders, who has been with the team for a little more than a week after being traded from the Denver Broncos, had seven catches for 112 yards.

They dodged another bullet in the first quarter, when tight end George Kittle caught a helmet to his left knee and, for a moment, looked to be in pretty bad shape. However, two series later, he was able to get back into the game and capped off the final drive of the quarter with a 30-yard catch-and-run to tie the game at 7-7. Kittle caught six passes for 79 yards with that score.

The 49ers return home to host the rival Seattle Seahawks on ESPN’s Monday Night Football at 5:15 p.m.