Eagles stun 49ers on the road, 25-20, to earn first win of the season

The Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Genard Avery (58) and nose tackle Javon Hargrave (93) sack San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens in the first half for what would be a rough after noon for San Francisco at Levis Stadium Santa Clara on Sun Oct 4, 2020 (AP News photo)

By Joe Hawkes
Staff Writer

SANTA CLARA, Calif — Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles traveled to the west coast winless.

They left the Golden State with their first win of the season and in first-place in the hapless NFC East after taking down the reigning NFC champions, the San Francisco 49ers, 25-20 to cap off Sunday’s Week 4 action on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

“First place sounds really good, but we have a long way ahead of us,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said after the game. “Only the first quarter of the season is done. We got a long road ahead. These guys don’t quit. It’s a resilient group.”

Wentz’s 42-yard TD pass to third string wide receiver Travis Fulgham with 5:50 left in the game proved to be the game winner for Philadelphia, who were playing playing without their top three wide receivers and backup tight end Dallas Goedert.

Following a botch snap by rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts that sent the Eagles to second-and-18 from the 42-yard line, Fulgham was able to get a step on backup cornerback Dontae Johnson and Wentz dropped the pass perfectly in Fulgham’s hands as he crossed the goal line to give the Eagles an 18-14 lead.

On the very next possession for the 49ers, backup quarterback Nick Mullens, who started his second-straight game for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo, threw an interception that linebacker Alex Singleton returned for a TD that stretched Philadelphia’s lead to 25-14.

Wentz finished the game completing 18-of-28 passes for 193 yards, a TD and a league-leading seventh interception.

“It’s a huge relief. Big team win,” Wentz said. “It’s fun to see these young guys step up and make plays in big moments like this.”

With the loss, the 49ers (2-2) have lost their first two home games of the year. San Francisco lost to the visiting Arizona Cardinals, 24-20, in Week 1.

Mullens was responsible for all three of San Francisco’s turnovers on the night, throwing a red zone interception in the second quarter and losing a fumble on a strip sack by cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc that defensive tackle Malik Jackson recovered that setup the go-ahead score for Philadelphia.

“We had plenty of opportunities. I really just didn’t execute,” Mullens said. “The way I’m feeling is pretty black and white right now. I just didn’t execute. That’s what it comes down to. Three turnovers, 14 points off turnovers. That’s really about it.”

Mullens completed 18-of-26 passes for 200 yards, one TD and two interceptions before being benched in the fourth quarterback and replaced by third-string quarterback C.J. Beathard.

Beathard engineered a late TD drive that and moved the 49ers to the Philadelphia 33-yard line, before his desperation heave into the end zone came up short and ending San Francisco’s comeback attempt.

Beathard completed 14-of-19 passes for 138 yards.

Garoppolo, who has missed the last two games due to an ankle injury, is expected to return next week as the 49ers will host the Miami Dolphins.

Rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk scored the 49ers first TD of the day, a 38-yard rush on a lateral from Mullens in the first quarter, while tight end George Kittle returned in a major way after missing the last two games, registered a career-high 15 catches for 183 yards a TD to lead the 49ers.

Running back Jerick McKinnon led San Francisco in rushing, racking up 54 yards on 14 carries and a TD from 1-yard out and was second on the team with seven catches for 43 yards for the game.

As an offense, the 49ers dominated the Eagles in total yards (417 to 174), first-downs (25 to 18) and total plays (70 to 59), but just couldn’t get the job done tonight against a hungry and desperate Philadelphia squad looking for its first win of the year.

“After this game, we wanted to be dog tired,” defensive back Jalen Mills said. “We had to give everything we had to get this win.”

Philadelphia came into Sunday’s games with no takeaways on defense, but racked up all three takeaways from poor decisions from Mullens. The Eagles had one takeaway all season, and that was on special teams.

The injuries to San Francisco’s defense continues to pile up, as defensive lineman Ziggy Ansah left the game in the first-half with a biceps injury that head coach Kyle Shanahan fears could be season-ending; while nickel cornerback K’Waun Williams left the game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury.

Ansah will have an MRI tomorrow to determine the severity of his biceps injury.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Undefeated Niners have potential trap game

Photo credit: @SNFonNBC

By Jeremy Harness

SANTA CLARA–The 49ers are riding a wave they have not experienced in almost 30 years, winning their first five games and getting a statement victory last Sunday against the defending NFC champions on the road.

The Washington Redskins, on the other hand, are 1-5, just fired their head coach a week and a half ago, and only got their first win after holding off a furious comeback against unquestionably the worst team in the NFL, the Miami Dolphins.

These are the Redskins that the 49ers will travel across the country to face on Sunday, and this can be safely classified as a potential trap game, for all the reasons illustrated above.

Washington has question marks all over the place, and based on the moves that are being made on and off the field, they are not expected to be solved any time soon. This should all equate to a convincing win, but stranger things have happened in the NFL over the years.

The interim head coach across the sideline from the 49ers has Bay Area ties, as Bill Callahan, who previously served as the team’s offensive line coach until taking over for the fired Jay Gruden, was at the helm when the Oakland Raiders went to the Super Bowl after the 2002 season before he himself was fired after the team stumbled to a 4-12 mark the very next year.

Aside from missing their two starting tackles, starting fullback and starting right corner, the 49ers do have a few other injury concerns as they head into Sunday.

A pair of significant offensive players, tight end George Kittle and receiver Deebo Samuel, sat out Wednesday’s practice with groin ailments. Both are listed as day-to-day and are expected to play Sunday.

Running back Raheem Mostert did not practice Wednesday with a knee strain, and he, too, is day-to-day.

For the Redskins, cornerback Josh Norman was held out of Wednesday’s practice with hand and thigh injuries, while running back Adrian Peterson’s quad ailment kept him from practicing as well.

49ers Win Huge 41-17; Start Season with Perfect Road Trip

photo from sfgate.com: Marquise Goodwin #11 of the San Francisco 49ers runs for a touchdown during the first quarter of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

By Joe Lami

After not winning a single road game last year, the 49ers are off to a perfect start to their 2019 season. On Sunday, they impressively manhandled the Cincinnati Bengals 41-17 in their largest offensive road output since 2014 marking a complete 2-0 road trip.

The onslaught started early, as the defense quickly forced a three-and-out, giving the offense great starting field position on the first drive. The Niners easily capitalized as Jimmy Garoppolo found Marquise Goodwin wide open for a 38-yard score.

Garoppolo flashed what excited the faithful in late 2017 in a dominant performance, throwing three touchdowns on 17 of 25 passing for 297 yards. The Bengals challenged Jimmy G by trying to shut down his top target, George Kittle, but he spread the ball around incredibly well, finding three different receivers for scores and eight different pass catchers for receptions.

Rookie Debo Samuel led the way with five catches for 87 yards and his first career touchdown. Goodwin finished with three catches for 77 yards and a score, while Mostert got four balls out of the backfield for 68 yards and a score. Kittled finished with three catches on three targets for 54 yards.

Garoppolo had one throw he’d like back, throwing a terrible interception while targeting Richie James Jr. in triple coverage.

The passing attack was set up all by the rush, as the 49ers had their best rushing game under Kyle Shanahan, totaling 259 yards. Matt Breida was a monster, rushing for 121 yards on 12 carries, including one rush that reminisced Barry Sanders. Raheem Mostert carried 13 times for 83 yards, while Jeff Wilson Jr. came off the practice squad for ten carries, 34 yards, and two touchdowns.

On defense, the front seven was all over Andy Dalton, sacking him four times, while Kwon Alexander picked up his first interception as a Niner. They held Dalton to 311 yards, on 26 of 42 passes for two touchdowns. Dalton depended upon Tyler Boyd and John Ross as his two main targets, as both combined for 14 catches, 234 yards, and a score.

However, the Niners did lose Joe Staley with a broken left fibula in the win. He’s expected to miss six to eight weeks, and it remains to be seen on whether or not he’ll be placed on the IR. After losing swing tackle Shon Coleman in the pre-season, the Niners may seek free agency or a trade to replace their all-pro left tackle.

At 2-0, the Niners now return home to host the 0-2 Steelers in their home opener. The Steelers lost 28-26 to Seattle on Sunday, very similar to Seattle’s 21-20 win over the Bengals in week one.

Join Joe for 49ers coverage each week and podcast commentary each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

San Francisco 49ers podcast with Joe Lami: Can Garoppolo hit his targets on Saturday in Kansas City in preseason finale?

Photo credit: sacbee.com

On the 49ers podcast with Joe:

#1 On Monday Night Football, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo passed for zero yards throwing, one interception, and basically said he hasn’t been there for a year so he’s coming out of the shoot tired and rusty.

#2 Also, it should be mentioned that Garoppolo threw nine passes for zero yards from what Joe saw. Was Garoppolo pressing or was he genuinely rusty from not seeing action over a year?

#3 Do you expect to see Joe Staley and George Kittle out for preseason or on limited time in preseason?

#4 San Francisco 49ers tackle Shon Coleman, who broke his leg in the first preseason game, is out for the rest of the season. How much of an impact will that be on the team?

#5 Saturday the 49ers are in Kansas City. From what you’ve seen, how far are the 49ers ready for regular season play?

Joe does the 49ers podcasts each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

San Francisco 49ers podcast with David Zizmor: A look at Garoppolo in Denver preseason game; Update on Kittle and Staley injuries

Photo credit: profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

On the 49ers podcast with David:

#1 Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had a tough Wednesday last week when he threw for five picks in scrimmage. He got tracked on Thursday and has good workouts since and saw some action in the preseason game on Monday Night Football in Denver.

#2 A couple of injuries the 49ers hope to recover from include the tight end George Kittle (calf) and left tackle Joe Staley (pectoral soreness). Will coach Kyle Shanahan use them in preseason games?

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

San Francisco 49ers podcast with Joe Lami: Garoppolo back to the drawing board on finding targets; Kittle and Staley miss practice due to injuries; plus more

Photo credit: nbcsports.com

On the 49ers podcast with Joe Lami:

#1 How much concern should the 49ers have with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo after throwing five picks in practice on Wednesday? Garoppolo threw much better in joint practices with the Denver Broncos on Thursday.

#2 49ers backups Nick Mullens and CJ Beathard looked good in their first preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys last Saturday night in the 49ers’ first preseason game.

#3 Tight end George Kittle missed his second consecutive practice because of calf. Kittle is a key player and the 49ers hope that he won’t miss too much time on Monday night in Denver.

#4 Left tackle Joe Staley was out due to pectoral soreness, Staley was kept out of drills. It’s just a question whether he’ll be able to play on Monday night.

#5 Beathard was out with a thumb injury, but that didn’t stop him he came back with a taped up right hand and thumb and threw during team drills.

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

San Francisco 49ers podcast with David Zizmor: Garoppolo says he’s made an 180 with the ACL; More of the same expected out of Kittle; plus more

sfexaminer.com photo: Jimmy Garoppolo (10) gets tuned up at the San Francisco 49ers camp on July 29th photo. The 49ers host the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday, August 10th in the first pre season game at Levis Stadium.

On the 49ers podcast with David:

#1 If there is anyone in the 49ers camp whose glad to be back is quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, whose making his return since the season-ending injury against the Kansas City Chiefs from last season when he tore his ACL. Garoppolo says he’s made a 180 recovery.

#2 Talk about George Kittle and what a season he had at tight end last season for the 49ers and what’s expected of him this season?

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

San Francisco 49ers podcast with Joe Lami: Look for more Kittle heroics; Scouts and coaching at odds: plus more

Photo credit: @brgridiron

On the 49ers podcast with Joe:

#1 88 receptions, 1377 yards, and five touchdowns in 2018, Joe tells us about tight end George Kittle and his fantastic season last year.

#2 Looking at Kittle and what he’s done and what he’s able to do, what will be expected of him for 2019?

#3 Joe talks about the current rift that going on between head coach Kyle Shanahan, general manager John Lynch, the coaching staff vs. the scouts. The 49ers scouts feel like they been marginalized and they have said their work has not been appreciated lending to the Shanahan-Lynch combination for the last season to compile a 10-22 record.

#4 One of the contrasts that the scouts have with the 49ers coaching staff is just using one of the draft choices when they selected Solomon Thomas a defensive lineman. The scouts felt Thomas who was a number five pick and that the scouts felt there was never any serious consideration about taking a quarterback.

#5 Preseason just is around the corner as the 49ers host the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium on Saturday, August 10th. What are some of the things that Shanahan looks forward to in this preseason opener?

Catch Joe Fridays for all the 49ers podcasts at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

San Francisco 49ers podcast with Joe Lami: 49ers on track, can they take out the Mighty Bears this Sunday at Levi’s?

Photo credit: ninerswire.usatoday.com

On the 49ers podcast with Joe:

#1 Joe, the 49ers have worked hard for their victories in their last two games both home games against Denver and Seattle. Taking the Denver game first, George Kittle’s record setting first half certainly set the tone, didn’t it?

#2 Nick Mullens has been throwing for yards and touchdowns and helping keep the scoring ahead of the opponents.

#3 Against Seattle, 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman has been all things anti-Seahawks and how much of an impact has Sherman been in stopping the Seahawks last Sunday?

#4 After getting these two key victories at home at Levi’s Stadium, how much does that set the tone going into next season?

#5 This Sunday, it’s Khalil Mack and the Chicago Bears the NFC’s North Division first place team at 10-4.

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