Rodgers, Packers slip past 49ers 30-28

The Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Croby coverts a 51 yard field goal on the very last play of the game against the San Francisco 49ers for the win at Levi Stadium on Sunday Night Football on Sep 26, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Joe Hawkes
Staff Writer

SANTA CLARA, Calif — Jimmy Garoppolo hooked up with fullback Kyle Juszczyk on a 12-yard touchdown pass that gave the 49ers a slim 28-27 lead with 37 seconds left, but that appeared to be too much time for Aaron Rodgers, who completed two deep passes to wide receiver Devante Adams setting up Mason Crosby’s 51-yard field goal on the final play of the game that gave the Packers a 30-28 win over San Francisco on Sunday night.

“My first thoughts in devising how I wanted to get us into field-goal range was how could I get the ball to 17,” Rodgers said.

Rodgers made that task look easy, connecting on passes of 25 and 17 yards to Adams that setup the game-winning score by Crosby. Adams finished the game with 12 catches for 132 yards.

Adams briefly left the game after taking a big hit from safety Jimmie Ward that looked like it would knock him out of the game.

Green Bay jumped out to a fast start, scoring on their first two possessions. On the Packers opening drive of the game, Rodgers completed a 42-yard pass to wide receiver Allen Lazard setting up a 54-yard field goal by Crosby.

Following a punt by San Francisco, Rodgers orchestrated a seven-play, 80-yard drive highlighted by a 47-yard completion to wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling setting up a short touchdown pass to Adams. The score put Green Bay up, 10-0.

Rodgers started the game razor-sharp, completing 9-of-9 passing for 127 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter. For the game, Rodgers completed 23-of-33 passing for 261 yards and two touchdowns.

In his last two games, both wins, Rodgers has thrown six touchdowns and no interceptions after throwing no touchdowns and two interceptions in Green Bay’s (2-1) 38-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 1.

Following an interception thrown by Garoppolo, who was looking for tight end George Kittle in double-coverage, the Packers added a 3-yard touchdown run by running back Aaron Jones putting Green Bay up 17-0 late in the first half.

The 49ers (2-1) avoided being shut out in the first half when they scored on the final play. After Garoppolo got away with an apparent intentional grounding that would have ended the half, rookie quarterback Trey Lance came in for his first snap since the season opener in Detroit. He ran the ball behind a massive block from left tackle Trent Williams for a 1-yard score that cut Green Bay’s lead to 17-7 at halftime.

For Garoppolo, it was the second-straight game that he had to shake off a slow start before the 49ers rallied from a 17-point deficit. Garoppolo finished the game 25-of-40 passing for 257 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and one fumble lost. After only being sacked once in the first two games, Garoppolo was sacked four times by the Packers on Sunday night.

“There were some great individual efforts of guys just making unbelievable plays that got us in and gave us a chance to win that game,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “But some mistakes that we made throughout the game, you don’t win a lot of football doing that. That’s what we’ve got to clean up.”

In the third quarter, San Francisco cut Green Bay’s lead to 17-14 following a 13-play, 83-yard drive in 7:19 that was capped off by an 8-yard touchdown pass from Garoppolo to wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

Rodgers threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Valdes-Scantling that gave the Packers a 24-14 lead early in the fourth quarter.

San Francisco responded with a touchdown of their own, after rookie running back Trey Sermon plunged in from 1-yard trimming the Packers lead to 24-21.

Following an inexplicable throw to the ground behind him by Garoppolo after trying to avoid a sack by defensive tackle Kenny Clark, the Packers recovered the miscue setting up a 38-yard field goal by Crosby that made the score, 27-21 in favor of the Packers.

Shortly thereafter, Garoppolo responded with a touchdown drive but it wasn’t enough for the 49ers, who returned home after spending the first two weeks of the season back East. The loss at home in the team’s home opening game stings, seeing that it was the first time fans were inside Levi’s Stadium since Jan. 2020.

“There’s always too much time on the clock if there’s ever time on the clock, especially with Aaron Rodgers,” tight end George Kittle said. “I think we have a really good defense. I don’t really have any worries when our defense is out on the field. But it’s Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams over there. They did what they had to do to win.”

Kittle finished with seven catches for 92 yards.

The 49ers host the Seattle Seahawks in Week 4, while the Packers welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers to Lambeau Field.

San Francisco 49ers podcast with Jeremiah Salmonson: Garoppolo vs. Rogers in memorable match up with 49ers hosting Packers Sunday

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) (left) and Green Bay Packers Aaron Rogers (12) could be facing off for the last time in their respective teams uniforms this Sun Sep 26, 2021 at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara (file photo from Fan Sided)

On the 49ers podcast with Jeremiah:

#1 Jeremiah, The anticipated show coming to Levi Stadium on Sunday with the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers with Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers and the 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to be a test and a show stopper on Sunday.

#2 Rogers whose the superior of the two quarterbacks going on Sunday was one that the Packers had lure back into the fold as Rogers was prepared to go shopping for a new team but Rogers out of dedication to the Packers organization signed on for another season.

#3 Rogers certainly received criticism after the Packers got crushed by the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome 38-3 during week 1 that he doesn’t care. Rogers just was off missing receivers and the Saints line was in his face all day long.

#4 Last week the Packers won in week 2 against the Detroit Lions 35-17 and got to .500 at 1-1 Rogers under certain show much better improvement including getting more time to throw with a line going 22 for 27 with 255 yards and four touchdowns.

#5 For Jimmy G he’s led San Francisco with two wins in the first two wins of the season with a week 1 win over the Lions 41-33 and a six point win over the Philadelphia Eagles in the city of brotherly love Philadelphia 17-11 to go up 2-0. Garoppolo’s line against the Eagles 22-30 for 189 yards and a touchdown.

Join Jeremiah Saturday nights for the 49ers podcasts at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

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 dominate early, hold off Lions late with 41-33

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo throws against the Detroit Lions defense in the second half of action at Ford Field in Detroit during week 1 Sun Sep 12, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Joe Hawkes
Staff Writer

DETROIT, MI — The 49ers scored 17 unanswered points in two minutes in the second quarter, highlighted by a Dre Greenlaw interception return for a touchdown, but narrowly escaped with a 41-33 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

San Francisco (1-0) carried a 38-10 lead early in the fourth quarter and allowed the Lions to to score 23 straight points in a span of three minutes to pull within eight points. But with 12 seconds remaining in the game, the Lions turned the ball on downs at the San Francisco 24-yard line to thwart Detroit’s late rally.

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo shook off a fumble on the first snap of the game, finished the game 17 of 25 for 314 yards. Garoppolo hooked up with wide receiver Deebo Samuel on a 78-yard touchdown pass after second-year cornerback Jeff Okudah stumbled in coverage.

“We got into a pretty good groove and we were rolling pretty good, but you want to finish better than that,” Garoppolo said. “There was a relaxation on the sideline.

“At the end of the day, it’s a win and we’re happy with that.”

The scoring play gave the 49ers a 28-point lead midway through the third quarter, which they would need.

Samuel had nine catches for a career-high 189 yards, but had a key fumble late in the fourth quarter that gave the Lions hope with a little over a minute left.

Rookie running back Elijah Mitchell, who stepped in for the injured Raheem Mostert (knee), snapped a 7-7 tie with a 38-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter that put the 49ers up 14-7. Mitchell finished with 104 yards rushing.

Tight end George Kittle had four catches for 78 yards.

San Francisco took an early 7-0 lead after rookie quarterback Trey Lance connected with wide receiver Trent Sherfield on a 5-yard score following a play-action pass in the first quarter.

Defensively, San Francisco must tighten up their run defense. The Lions ran through multiple running lanes in the game and racked up a 116 yards on the ground. Defensive end Nick Bosa, who returned to action for the first time since tearing his ACL early last season, had four tackles and a drive-ending sack in the fourth quarter.

Middle linebacker Fred Warner led the team with 11 tackles (8 solo, 3 assisted). San Francisco forced three turnovers off the rebuilding Lions.

In his debut with his new team, quarterback Jared Goff finished 38 of 57 for 338 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Tight end T.J. Hockenson had a career-high eight catches for 97 yards and a touchdown.

It was third time straight time that Hockenson scored a touchdown in the season-opening game.

Detroit (0-1) recorded 430 yards in total offense, with the majority coming when the 49ers were up comfortably in the second half.

San Francisco held a 31-10 lead at halftime, their highest total after two quarters since 2008.

“We dug ourselves into a really big ditch early against a very good team,” Lions head coach Dan Campbell said. “We were better in the second half, but that wasn’t good enough.”

On the injury front, the 49ers are holding their breath on the status of starting cornerback Jason Verrett who left the game late in the fourth quarter with a leg injury. According to head coach Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers believe that Verrett tore his ACL.

Next up for the 49ers: a trip to Philadelphia where they will take on the Eagles in Week 2. Second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts was 27 of 35 for 264 yards and three touchdowns for the Eagles in a 32-6 throttling of the Atlanta Falcons on the road.

San Francisco 49ers podcast with David Zizmor: Lance still wearing a splint and not throwing with opening day coming on Sunday

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) is seen here on the sidelines during the last exhibition game on Sun Aug 29, 2021 against the Las Vegas Raiders (AP News photo)

On the 49ers podcast with David:

#1 On Monday during practice the San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance had a splint on his right index finger and just some six days before the week 1 opener at Ford Field in Detroit this Sun Sep 12th Lance still can’t practice and throw a football.

#2 Lance did some drop back drills but did not throw a football. Last week he did drop back drills without a football but on Monday he did drop back holding a football but not throwing it.

#3 The 49ers will be starting Jimmy Garoppolo as Garoppolo and Lance are the only quarterbacks on the roster so with Lance’s fractured finger injury the Niners have promoted quarterback Nate Sudfeld from the practice squad roster.

Join David Zizmor does the San Francisco 49ers podcasts each Wednesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

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.

The 49ers lose to the Seahawks, 37-27, in Seattle as injuries continue to mount for San Francisco

DK Metcalf (44) of the Seattle Seahawks sees lots of daylight on this 46 yard carry in the first quarter as the San Francisco 49ers cornerback Emmanuel Mosley (41) gives chase at Centuylink Field in Seattle on Sun Nov 1st (seattletimes.com photo)

By Joe Hawkes
Staff Writer

If the San Francisco 49ers had any aspirations of winning back-to-back division titles, those dreams were dashed as the Seattle Seahawks showed why they are the best team in the NFC West with a 37-27 victory in Week 8 at an empty CenturyLink Field on Sunday afternoon.

With the win, the Seahawks improve to 6-1 on the year and remain atop of the NFC West standings and keep the 49ers in the basement with a 4-4 record.

Injuries continue to snake decimate the 49ers, who saw starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and all-world tight end George Kittle leave the game late in the fourth quarter with ankle and foot injuries. Both players’ status for Thursday night’s game against the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium is uncertain according to head coach Kyle Shanahan.

Both Garoppolo and Kittle are expected to undergo further treatment on Monday.

The injuries occurred within minutes of each other early in the fourth quarter and both players retreated to the locker room for further examination. Both were listed as questionable to return to the game, but neither saw the field again for the 49ers.

When you watched Garoppolo against Seattle, he just didn’t play well. Garoppolo had trouble getting the football out of his hands quickly amid constant pressure from the Seahawks. He struggled to find the NFL’s best tight end in Kittle, who had just one catch for 14 yards as Seattle built a 27-7 lead.

For the game, Kittle finished with just two catches for 39 yards.

Garoppolo completed 11 of 16 passes for just 84 yards with no touchdowns and one interception before exiting the game in the second half with the same aggravated ankle injury that kept him out for two games. He was replaced by backup Nick Mullens.

Mullens seemed comfortable coming into the game, leading the 49ers on three touchdown drives after San Francisco was trailing 30-7. On his first drive, Mullens engineered an 11-play, 79-yard drive that was capped off by Jerick McKinnon’s 1-yard touchdown run to cut Seattle’s lead to 30-14.

On the 49ers’ next possession, Mullens finished off a six-play, 80-yard drive with a 16-yard touchdown toss to backup tight end Ross Dwelley to bring the score to 30-20. The 49ers decided to go for two to make it a one-score game, but couldn’t convert the two-point conversion.

Seattle put the game away after rookie running back DeeJay Dallas’ 1-yard touchdown run put the Seahawks up 37-20 with 3:33 left in the game.

San Francisco added a three-yard score from Mullens to rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk to make the score 37-27 with 1:52 left in the game. Aiyuk finished tied with fellow wide receiver Kendrick Bourne with eight catches for 91 yards. Bourne registered 81 yards in the contest.

Too little, too late for the 49ers.

The real story of the game was the performances of quarterback Russell Wilson and wide receiver DK Metcalf.

Following an uncharacteristic game in which he threw three interceptions in a 37-34 loss in overtime to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 7 on the road, Wilson bounced back in major way completing 27 of 37 passes for 261 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Wilson, who is a heavy favorite to win the Most Valuable Player award this year, leads the NFL with 26 touchdown passes through eight weeks.

The 49ers had no answer for Metcalf the entire game.

Metcalf gave Seattle a 6-0 lead in the first quarter on a 46-yard touchdown catch-and-run where he went nearly untouched by San Francisco’s fifth ranked defense.

Following rookie running back JaMychal Hasty’s first-career rushing touchdown to put the 49ers up 7-6, Metcalf added his second score of the day from two-yards out to extend Seattle’s lead to 13-7.

Metcalf bounced back in Week 8 after having just two catches for 23 yards against the Cardinals, Metcalf had himself a career-day against the 49ers. The second-year wide receiver set career-highs in catches (12) and yards (161) to go along with two scores.

Defensively, Seattle’s much maligned defense had its best performance of the year in the victory over the 49ers.

The Seahawks limited the 49ers’ offense to 116 yards and had two takeaways in the first half, including an interception of Garopolo by nickelback D.J. Reed Jr. to set up Seattle’s first score. Reed Jr., who was waved by the 49ers in August, was making his Seattle debut after being activated off the non-football injury list on Saturday.

San Francisco did finish with 351 yards of total offense, but most of that came in the fourth quarter with Seattle in control of the game.

Bobby Wagner, Seattle’s All-Pro middle linebacker, continued to be the gold standard at the position with a vintage performance. Wagner was all over the field, finishing with 11 tackles and two of Seattle’s three sacks on the day.

Seattle and San Francisco will meet again in Week 17 at Levi’s Stadium to close out the 2020 season.

49ers dismantle Patriots, 33-6, in Foxboro behind Jeff Wilson’s 3 TDs; four takeaways from the defense

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) gets the blocking in first half action against the New England Patriots on Sun Oct 25, 2020 in Foxboro. 49ers running back Jeffrey Wilson carried for three touchdowns in the contest. (AP News photo)

By Joe Hawkes
Staff Writer

FOXBORO, MA — The San Francisco 49ers should enjoy the plane ride back to Santa Clara, after earning a 33-6 victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday evening at a fan-less Gillette Stadium.

The 49ers (4-3) keeps pace in a stacked NFC West as they will now enter a pivotal Week 8 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. San Francisco may have to travel to Seattle without two key players in wide receiver Deebo Samuel (hamstring) and running back Jeff Wilson (ankle), both leaving Sunday’s win with injuries and didn’t return to the game.

For the second straight game, the 49ers scored a TD on their opening possession. Last week, San Francisco marched down the field on the Los Angeles Rams and scored a TD to quickly claim a 7-0 lead.

This week, the 49ers set the tone of the game by finishing off a nine-play 75-yard drive with the first of Wilson’s three TDs in the game. In the first half, head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense racked up 301 yards of production and claimed a 23-3 lead at halftime.

Wilson was the workhorse for the 49ers, who were thin at running back with both Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman out with injuries. San Francisco listed Wilson as questionable for the game after sitting out the previous two games with a calf injury. In a surprising move, Wilson got his third career start and didn’t disappoint as he posted a career-high in rushing yards.

All in the first half.

Wilson, whose previous career-best was 90 yards against the Denver Broncos late in the 2018 season, rushed for 92 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries in 30 minutes of action. He finished with 17 carries for 112 yards and a career-best three touchdowns before exiting the game with an ankle injury in the middle of the third quarter.

Wilson was taken to the 49ers locker room on a cart. He was injured on a 7-yard scoring run that gave the 49ers a commanding 30-6 lead.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo played good, but not great in his return to Foxboro. The former Patriot backup signal caller completed 20 of 25 pass attempts for 277 yards (with two interceptions in the first half).

Garoppolo made plays early, converting a third-and-3 after breaking a tackle in the backfield to pick up four yards. He also connected on sharp passes to Samuel for 23- and 14-yard gains to keep drives alive. Garoppolo had completions to six different receivers, but it was rookie wideout Brandon Aiyuk who benefited the most.

Aiyuk finished with a career-high six receptions for 115 yards.

San Francisco did a tremendous job in controlling the clock in the game, dominating the time of possession over the Patriots (38:23-21:37) while picking up 26 first downs to just 17 for New England, and racking up 467 yards of total offense.

The 49ers ran 63 offensive plays, compared to just 49 by the Patriots, who looked anemic for the entirety of the game.

Garoppolo got the better result in his head-to-head matchup with Cam Newton, who had a rough performance completing just nine of 15 pass attempts for 98 yards an three interceptions. Newton was benched in the second half and replaced by backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham.

San Francisco’s defense put the clamps on Newton and the Patriots’ offense.

The 49ers limited New England to just 241 yards and 1 for 6 on third downs. New England’s scoring consisted of two Nick Folk field goals from 40 and 41 yards.

49ers middle linebacker Fred Warner, who is making a strong case for Defensive Player of the Year, has been a lifesaver for San Francisco this season. Warner was all over the field, leading the team with seven tackles and one of the four interceptions by the defense. Warner’s second quarter interception was his second on the season.

Cornerbacks Emmanuel Moseley (one) and Jamar Taylor (two) had the other interceptions for the 49ers.

With the Niners holding a 20-point lead at halftime, the Patriots had just 59 yards of total offense.

Meanwhile, the Patriots (2-4) have lost three games in a row for the first time since 2002. The 27-point loss at home was the worse under head coach Bill Belichick.

 

49ers hold off Rams, 24-16, behind Jimmy Garoppolo’s 3 TDs; strong defense

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) gets the football away as he’s being rushed by the Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) and nose tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day (69) in the first half of Sun Oct 18, 2020 at Levis Stadium in Santa Clara (AP News photo)

By Joe Hawkes
Staff Writer

SANTA CLARA, Calif — In a game that many viewed was a must-win to salvage their season, the San Francisco 49ers was able to outlast the visiting Los Angeles Rams, 24-16, on NBC’s Sunday Night Football behind three TDs from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the first half and a strong effort from the defense.

It’s the first win for the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium this season, after dropping their first three home games to the Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles and the Miami Dolphins.

The 49ers (3-3) jumped on the Rams early, scoring touchdowns on three of their first four possessions. On San Francisco’s first possession, Garoppolo engineered a 6-play, 76-yard drive that was capped off by a 6-yard pass to wide receiver Deebo Samuel for the TD to put the 49ers up 7-0 in the first quarter.

Garoppolo was 4-for-4 for 69 yards on the opening drive.

After the 49ers’ defense forced the Rams to punt on their opening possession of the game, San Francisco took a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter on Garopplo’s second TD of the game. Garoppolo would find tight end George Kittle for a a 44-yard score after the 49ers faced a 4th and 2 from the Rams 44-yard line.

Kittle’s score punctuated a 10-play, 87-yard drive in 6:08 for the 49ers, who emphasized getting the football out of Garoppolo’s hands quickly and relied heavily on the running game which took a hit when running back Raheem Mostert left the game early in the third quarter with an ankle injury.

Mostert was off to a good start, carrying the ball 17 times for 65 yards before his exit.

Kittle led all receivers with seven catches for 109 yards and the TD, while Samuel finished six catches for 66 yards and a score.

After quarterback Jared Goff found wide receiver Robert Woods in the middle of the end zone on a 10-yard TD to get the Rams on the scoreboard and cut San Francisco’s lead to 14-6, following a missed extra point, the 49ers would put together another scoring drive shortly before halftime.

Garoppolo engineered a 13-play, 75-yard drive that chewed up 7:16 and found rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk for a 2-yard score that gave the 49ers a commanding 21-6 lead.

Garoppolo was 17 of 21 for 215 yards and 3 TDs in the first half. Offensively, the 49ers had their way with the Rams, racking up 18 first downs and 291 yards of total offense in the first 30 minutes of the game.

Garoppolo, who was benched after the first half in last week’s 43-17 embarrassing loss to the Miami Dolphins at home in which he completed just 7 of 17 passing for 77 yards, two interceptions and a career-low 15.7 passer rating; bounced back this week with a better showing by completing 23 of 33 passes for 268 yards, 3 TDs and a 124.3 passer rating.

Oh yeah, he improves to 4-0 against the Rams all-time.

Coming into the game, the talk leading up to the showdown against the Rams was if Garoppolo could show that he’s still the right quarterback for the 49ers long term and could San Francisco’s much maligned offensive line withstand the dominating force that is perennial Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald.

San Francisco’s offensive line, which has been a target of criticism the last two weeks as they surrendered 23 quarterback hits and 10 sacks in the last two games, kept Donald off Garoppolo the entire night.

For the game, Donald registered just one solo tackle and one quarterback pressure after recording four of the Rams’ eight sacks against the Washington Football Team last week in Los Angeles’ 30-10 win on the road.

In the second half, the Rams (4-2) converted their first possession into a 42-yard field goal by kicker Samuel Sloman to cut the 49ers’ lead to 21-9.

Following back-to-back 3-and-outs by the 49ers, Goff drove the Rams down to the 49ers’ 2-yard line and looked like Los Angeles would finish off the drive with a TD but Goff’s pass intended for wide receiver Josh Reynolds was intercepted in the end zone by cornerback Jason Verrett.

Verrett thwarted a golden scoring opportunity for Goff and the Rams that could’ve changed the tenor of the game.

Goff finished 19 of 38 for 198 yards, 2 TDs and one interception as 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh mixed up coverages that didn’t allow Goff and the Rams’ offense to get comfortable on Sunday night.

The 49ers added a 49-yard field goal by Robbie Gould to push their lead up to 24-9 in the fourth quarter, but the Rams wouldn’t go down quietly.

On the Rams’ next drive, Goff hooked up with Reynolds for a 40-yard TD over cornerback Emmaunel Moseley. Moseley was called for a defensive pass interference call, but the Rams declined the penalty making the score 24-16.

San Francisco’s defense held the Rams to 4 of 12 on third downs and 311 yards of total offense. Much of those yards came on the Rams’ final drive of the game. Moseley, along with linebackers Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw paced the defense with seven tackles each.

The schedule gets more daunting for San Francisco with games against the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, and Rams again in the next five weeks.

For at least one night, the 49ers have quieted the skeptics with an impressive win over their divisional rivals from Southern California.

 

49ers hold off Jets with 31-13 victory, but are decimated by injuries

By Joe Hawkes
Staff Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Running back Raheem Mostert got the 49ers off to a promising start on the day, running for a 80-yard touchdown on the game’s first play from scrimmage and Jimmy Garoppolo tossed a pair of TDs — before the two of them sat out the second half with injuries — as San Francisco picked up their first win of the season holding off the New York Jets, 31-13, at MetLife Stadium as the team was gutted by a rash of injuries on Sunday afternoon.

Facing injury issues entering the game with tight end George Kittle (knee) not making the trip, defensive end Dee Ford (neck) ruled out and cornerback Richard Sherman (calf) and wide receiver Deebo Samuel (foot) both on short-term injured reserve, San Francisco (1-1) lost Garopplo to an ankle injury and Mostert to an injured knee in the first half. Both players left the field shortly before halftime.

Mostert suffered a mild sprain to his medial collateral ligament (MCL), and Garoppolo suffered a high ankle sprain that will likely keep him out of action for a few weeks. According to NBC Sports 49ers Insider Matt Maiocco, Garoppolo isn’t expected to be available for Week 3’s game against the New York Giants at the same venue.

Garoppolo sustained the injury in the first quarter after a sack by defensive tackle Quinnen Williams after his leg got caught in the turf. On the sideline, you could see that Garoppolo was in obvious pain.

Mostert had eight carries for 92 yards and a touchdown before he was injured. His 80-yard TD run on the game’s first play hit a max speed of 23.09 MPH, which is the fastest max speed for a ball carrier on a play from scrimmage over the last five seasons according to Next Gen Stats.

The more serious injuries came along the defensive line, where defensive end Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas were carted off the field after apparent knee injuries that the team “fears” are torn anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL).

With a little more than five minutes left in the first quarter, Bosa was engaged with Jets tight end Trevon Vesco on a running play and his left leg buckled as he attempted to get off the block and tackle running back Frank Gore.

Bosa tried to sit up as a busy 49ers medical personnel came out to check on him. A cart came on to the field and carried Bosa to the locker room. The team would rule out last season’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year early in the second quarter.

A few plays later, the 49ers suffered another huge blow to its defense when defensive tackle Solomon Thomas injured his knee. He too was carted off the field and rushed to the locker room. San Francisco ruled him out for the second half.

Even with the team’s injury situation reaching at a critical state, the team didn’t panic against the woeful Jets (0-2).

After the Jets trimmed San Francisco’s lead to 7-3 behind a Sam Ficken 41-yard field goal, a noticeably limping Garoppolo drove the 49ers to another TD, hitting the aforementioned Reed on an 18-yard hookup that put San Francisco up 14-3. Reed’s first score with the 49ers capped off a 14-play, 67-yard drive in 8:44, where Reed leaped over a diving Marcus Maye to get into the end zone.

San Francisco’s defense thwarted a promising Jets’ possession, stopping the Jets on fourth-and-1 from the 49ers’ 20-yard line with linebacker Fred Warner and company stuffed running back Josh Adams for no gain.

Garoppolo would take San Francisco down the field again, capping off a 13-play, 80-yard drive in 3:30 with a 4-yard toss to Reed to put the 49ers up comfortable, 21-3, with 11 seconds in the second quarter. The drive continued after Jets defensive end Henry Anderson was called for a roughing-the-passer penalty where it appeared that the Jets stopped San Francisco on third-and-8.

Garoppolo completed 14-of-16 passes for 131 yards and the two TDs in the first half before backup Nick Mullens took over in the second half.

Mullens, who doesn’t take any first-team reps in practice during the week, looked shell-shocked on his first drive. But running back Jerick McKinnon had a 55-yard run on third-and-31 at the San Francisco 11-yard line. The run would setup a 46-yard field goal by kicker Robbie Gould that gave the 49ers a 24-3 lead in the third quarter.

Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time a team converted a third down on that long of a run was Minnesota in 1999 when running back Leroy Hoard rushed for 53 yards on third-and-37 against the Denver Broncos.

Mullens finished 8-for-11 for 71 yards and an interception where the pass bounced off the hands of running back Tevin Coleman that the Jets took back to the San Francisco 22-yard line, but the Jets settled for a 25-yard field goal by Ficken to make the score 24-6.

McKinnon scored his second TD of the season on a 16-yard rush in the fourth quarter that gave San Francisco a 31-6 lead. McKinnon finished with 77 yards on three carries and a TD.

After a horrendous showing on third- and fourth-down last week against the Arizona Cardinals where they only converted 2-of-13 attempts in a 24-20 loss in Week 1, the 49ers went 7-of-13 on third down against the Jets in Week 2. It was a better showing by the 49ers offense that racked up 359 yards of total offense and led in time of possession (32:13 to 27:47) this week against a poor Jets defense.

Even with all of the injuries suffered to its defense in the game, San Francisco limited the Jets to 277 yards of total offense and held them to 5-of-14 on third down.

The Jets added a late TD, when quarterback San Darnold connected with wide receiver Braxton Berrios on a 30-yard completion with 1:23 remaining in the game making the score, 31-13. Darnold finished 21-of-32 for 179 yards and no turnovers.

Instead of flying back to the west coast, the 49ers will be staying at a resort in West Virginia as they prepare to take on the New York Giants.

The Giants (0-2) lost to the Chicago Bears 17-13 at Soldier Field on Sunday, but that’s not the big story. Star running back Saquon Barkley was carted off the field early in the second quarter with an apparent knee injury. Barkley’s status for next week’s game is unclear.

Second-year quarterback Daniel Jones completed 25-of-40 passes for 241 yards and an interception for the Giants. Jones was sacked four times by a stingy Bears defense on the day.