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.

 

 

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.

Headline Sports podcast with Barbara Mason: Cal and Stanford get opening day wins; 49ers open in Tampa Bay and Raiders host Denver on MNF; plus more

Photo credit: mercurynews.com

On the Headline Sports podcast with Barbara:

#1 For the Cal Bears, getting a victory on opening day last Saturday was an important way to start the 2019 season with a win over UC Davis at Memorial Stadium and what a way to start with running back Christopher Brown Jr. rushing for 197 yards to help lead the team to a 27-13 win.

#2 The Stanford Cardinal defeated Northwestern, but the Cardinal lost their starting quarterback during the game when KJ Costello took a forearm to the head. The Cardinal hung onto win it 17-7. Costello could muster only one strong drive before the injury. The Cardinal are on the road next week to face the USC Trojans next Saturday.

#3 The San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo took Thursday Night Football off last week and the 49ers went with three quarterbacks: Nick Mullins, CJ Beathard, and Nick Speight. Speight and Beathard both saw the most time in the game with Mullens resting. Is that an indication that Nick Mullens, who saw limited time will be the backup, and head coach Kyle Shanahan wants to see if Beathard or Speight will fill the third-string spot?

#4 The Oakland Raiders look as if they had a very solid preseason winning three of their four games. Raider head coach Jon Gruden said he’s happy with the progress of backup quarterbacks Nathan Peterman (out with elbow injury) and Mike Glennon who he’ll really depend on if starting quarterback Derek Carr ever needs a rest.

#5 The Oakland A’s are hosting the LA Angels and Detroit Tigers this week at the Oakland Coliseum. The A’s are 1/2 game back in the AL wild card behind second place Cleveland. It could go right down to the wire for a chance of a wild card birth.

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

Garoppolo Bounces Back in Win Over Chiefs 27-17

photo from sfgate.com: San Francisco 49ers quarterback throws behind 49ers offensive guard Mike Person (68) during the first half of Saturday Night Football’s game against the host Kansas City Chiefs in the final pre season game for 2019

by Joe Lami

Jimmy Garoppolo bounced back to expectations in his second appearance of the pre-season on Saturday night. After an abysmal performance on Monday, Jimmy G threw for 188 yards completing 14 of 20 passes and adding a touchdown in his first half dress rehearsal.

Garoppolo opened the Niners scoring with a 20-yard completion to Matt Breida to cap a seven-play, 78-yard drive, in which he went 4-for-4. He completed two more drives that ended with Robbie Gould field goals. After a 0.0 passer rating against the Broncos, Garoppolo greatly improved to a 116.2.

The Niners improved to 3-0 on the pre-season by defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 27-17. Most importantly, their dry run went phenomenal and gives hope that they’ll be ready when the season kicks off.

After showing strong defense all pre-season, the Niners defense got torched by MVP Patrick Mahomes on the opening drive. He found running back Damien Williams for a 62-yard quick touchdown strike. However, the defense was able to rebound by keeping Mahomes out of the end zone the rest of his night. He finished 8-of-10 for 126 yards.

Nick Mullens came in for backup duty; passing 8-of-11 for 84 yards. CJ Beathard didn’t see the field on Saturday night, which could give insight to how Kyle Shanahan is leaning for the backup spot.

Jeff Wilson Jr. is going to make cut down day difficult for the red and gold. He continues to impress, scoring two touchdowns in the second half, making the difference in the win. He finished with 45 yards on 12 carries and the two scores.

Kwon Alexander made his debut finishing with three tackles.

Damontre Moore stole the show with two sacks, five tackles, and four QB hits. Moore may be playing well enough to earn the 49ers a draft pick when they trade him since there’s just no room on the D-line for him on this team.

The Niners wrap up their preseason on Thursday at home versus the Chargers. While we won’t see most of the starters, we’ll get an in-depth look at how the 53-man roster is beginning to form.

Despite 49ers’ 24-15 Win, Garoppolo Shaky in Pre-Season Debut

Photo credit: ftw.usatoday.com

By: Joe Lami

Jimmy Garoppolo fell flat in his much-anticipated return to the football field on Monday night versus the Broncos. Garoppolo started the first three drives and looked flat-out terrible. He finished 1-of-6 for zero yards with one interception and a 0.0 QB rating. On top of the pick and sack, Garoppolo had two balls batted down at the line and should’ve thrown a second pick that was dropped.

The good news is it’s early. Garoppolo hasn’t played any meaningful football since week three of last season and was obviously not comfortable on Monday. Looking skittish and nervous in the pocket, Garoppolo still has a long way to go before he’s close to where he needs to be. Saturday will be huge for his development and confidence as he gears up for the season.

Garoppolo also didn’t great offensive line helped, as the Broncos front seven got in Garoppolo’s face on half his throws. Bradley Chubb picked up two QB hits, including one on the interception that made Joe Staley look silly.

Aside from Garoppolo, the Niners looked pretty good overall in the 24-15 victory. They rushed for a combined 185 yards but only passed for 85. Raheem Mostert was noticeable finishing with 58 yards on six carries.

Deebo Samuel once again flashed his top speed on a 45-yard sweep play, bringing the ball within the one; setting up a touchdown. NFL NextGen clocked him in at 20 MPH, matching Tyreek Hill’s average speed.

The defense continued to bend and not break and allowed their first touchdown of the preseason with only eight seconds remaining. DJ Reed and Jaquaski Tartt looked excellent in the secondary. Reed finished with six tackles, a pass deflection, and QB hit; while Tartt had five tackles, two for loss, and a breakup. As a team, San Francisco had five sacks and forced a turnover.
Battle for Backup

The backup race still remains intriguing. CJ Beathard earned the majority of the snaps on Monday; completing 5-of-11 for 81 yards, marching the Niners to two of their three touchdowns. Mullens completed 2-of-3 passes for 27 yards and a touchdown pass to Kenrick Bourne on a fade.

Richie James Jr. is starting to make his case for the 53-man roster. While he hasn’t added a ton on offense, his return ability should be admired. He picked up 80 yards on two returns, including a 48-yarder.

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: Will injuries impact 49ers going into the regular season?; Mullens and Beathard, who will be the backup at QB?

Photo credit: sfchronicle.com

On the 49ers podcast with David:

#1 What is it with all the injuries? It wasn’t even until the first preseason game and you had lineman Shon Coleman out after the third offensive play of the game with an ankle injury, wide receiver Trent Taylor had surgery on his broken pinkie toe, Taylor could come back from the injury in time for the regular season, running back Raheem Mostert and defensive lineman DJ Jones left at the end of Saturday night’s game Mostert with a concussion and Jones with a knee.

#2 Compare the quarterbacks Nick Mullens, who threw for 11 for 17 for 105 yards, and CJ Beathard, who went 13-17 for 145 yards. Looks like the quarterbacking situation at least for the first preseason game is a good problem to have for head coach Kyle Shanahan.

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

Rookies Shine While Injuries and Penalties Concern 49ers in 17-9 Win

file photo by sfgate.com: San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens, right, throws a pass at the team’s NFL football training camp in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, July 29, 2019

By: Joe Lami

SANTA CLARA — Despite sitting nearly 30 players in their pre-season opener, the 49ers couldn’t stay away from the injury bug on Saturday night’s 17-9 win over the Cowboys.

Expected swing lineman, Shon Coleman, went down during San Francisco’s third offensive play of the game. Ruled with an ankle injury, he was put in an air cast and carted off the field.

The injury to the back-up tackle could be a huge storyline this season since he’s listed as the number two to both LT Joe Staley and RT Mike McGlinchey.

Reports also surfaced during the game that wide receiver Trent Taylor had surgery on a broken pinkie toe on Friday. He’s expected to miss the entirety of the pre-season but hopes to come back early in the regular season via a message from Instagram.

Both running back Raheem Mostert and defensive lineman DJ Jones went down for the conclusion of the contest. Mostert suffered a concussion, while Jones went out with a knee.

The battle for the back-up quarterback spot has been highlighted through camp so far. Despite their records, both Nick Mullens and CJ Beathard are neck and neck heading into the first game.

Mullens played the entire first half on Saturday night, throwing 11 of 17 for 105 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Mullens found third-round rookie Jalen Hurd for the half’s only touchdown. Chalk the interception up to Mullens getting hit during a throw.

CJ Beathard saw the field in the second half. On his first drop back, he was sacked for five yards but fared better as his night went on. Finishing 13 of 17 for 145 yards, Beathard threw a pick and a TD to Hurd.

The Niners defense held up for the most part. Bending at most times but not breaking, they forced the Cowboys to kick three field goals. Dak Prescott started the first drive for Dallas, going four-of-four for 23 yards before stalling and forced to kick a field goal.

Penalties once again remain a concern for the Niners and could be a significant sign of things to come, as they committed 18 penalties for 216 yards. In both seasons under Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers have finished in the bottom third of the NFL in penalties committed and Saturday night was glaring.

Rookie Spotlight

Three rookies made an impression on Saturday night. Linebacker Dre Greenlaw made the immediate impression; tallying five tackles in the first half, including four on Cowboys’ opening drive. His pursuit is noticeable and it’s obvious the fifth-round pick from Arkansas has a nose for the football.

At times, he over pursuits; picking up a roughing the passer penalty after getting to the QB too late. However, on the next play, he continued to show aggressiveness getting a tackle for loss.

Jalen Hurd’s first catch in a 49er uniform found paydirt. After a play-action rollout from Mullens, Hurd broke one tackle and battled through another defender past the goal line. Hurd added his second of the night when Beathard found him in the left corner of the end zone to start the fourth quarter.

After spending three seasons at Tennessee as a running back, Hurd converted to wide receiver while transferring to Baylor. The 6-foot-5-inch receiver has the size and means streak to become San Francisco’s answer to poor red-zone performance.

We saw second-round pick Debo Samuel get the ball once, but the kid can fly. He was able to turn the corner on a jet sweep and pick up 14 yards like it was nothing. In the third quarter, he climbed the ladder on a 45-yard reception hopping over a Cowboys’ DB to make the snag.

He finished for a combined 75 yards on five touches. He will be fun to watch as the pre-season continues.

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

49ers hope to keep win streak going vs. Bears

Photo credit: bleacherreport.com

By Jeremy Harness

This is a familiar trend for the 49ers.

They have long been out of the playoff picture, but they are hoping to get some carryover effect going for next season by going on a winning streak toward the end of this year.

The big difference here is that Jimmy Garoppolo is not under center for the 49ers at this point of the season, having been lost for the season with an ACL tear. Rather, it is undrafted Nick Mullens, who has opened eyes around the league with his surprising play.

That continued as the team scored an upset win over the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday, the first time since 2013 they have done so. Mullens will have a tougher defense to face this Sunday, as the Khalil Mack-led Chicago Bears will visit Levi’s Stadium.

As for the injury report, the 49ers are getting healthier. Running back Matt Breida has been limited in practice this week with the ankle injury he suffered weeks ago and is expected to play Sunday. Meanwhile, safety Jaquiski Tartt, who is nursing a shoulder injury, was also limited in practice this week but is expected to see the field against Chicago.

Linebacker Malcolm Smith has also been limited due to soreness in his Achilles tendon, while cornerback K’Waun Williams has been limited while nursing a knee ailment.

For the Bears, former 49er Aaron Lynch has been on the injury report with an elbow ailment, which has limited him in this week’s practices. The same goes for safety Eddie Jackson, who has an ankle injury, but is expected to play Sunday.