Despite tragedy, Niners triumph in shoot-out 31-28

sfgate.com photo: San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould (9) is congratulated by teammates after kicking the game-winning field goal against the Los Angeles Rams during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019.

By Jeremy Harness

SANTA CLARA – George Kittle woke up Saturday morning to find out that the brother of his college, and current 49er, teammate C.J Beathard had been fatally stabbed. He said that for this reason, Saturday night’s game against the Rams “the hardest of my career.”

“(The day) sucked all around,” Kittle said. “Overall, it was a brutal day.”

Facing this, as well as a resilient Los Angeles Rams team that was fighting for a playoff spot, Kittle and the rest of the 49ers were able to band together and rally from an early deficit and some late-game struggles to pull out a 31-28 win at the horn, keeping their hopes for the NFC West division title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs alive and sinking the Rams’ postseason aspirations altogether.

With the game tied in the final minutes, they faced a pair of third-and-16’s and converted both of them. Garoppolo found receiver Kendrick Bourne – who has developed a real knack for making big catches when they are most needed – and three plays later, he found a streaking Emmanuel Sanders, who had gotten deep behind corner Jalen Ramsey, with just under a minute to go.

That put the ball at LA’s 23-yard line, and from that point, the 49ers just ran a couple of plays in the middle of the field to set up Robbie Gould’s game-winning 33-yard field goal.

“This week, we made sure we knew what was on the line,” said linebacker Fred Warner, whose interception return for a touchdown late in the second quarter gave the 49ers a 24-21 lead at halftime. “We could have been way cleaner, but it’s all about (putting one) in the win column.”

The 49ers will now have eight days to prepare for a matchup in Seattle for the division title. The Seahawks currently hold the tie-breaker over the 49ers, so a victory is a must if they hope to get home-field advantage and a first-round bye. If they lose next Sunday, they will have a wild-card matchup on the road against the eventual NFC East champion.

“We know it’s going to be loud, we know it’s going to be a hostile environment,” quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. “I can’t wait for it. It’s going to be awesome.

“Every week is a big game. This time of year, they all are.”

But first, the 49ers needed to win Saturday night, but the Rams gained the upper hand early, frustrating the defense with bootleg action to get down the field and grab a 21-10 second-quarter lead while the offense struggled to find its footing.

Garoppolo himself was not sharp at all in the first quarter. He found Deebo Samuel for a 9-yard hookup to start his night but did not complete another pass for the rest of the quarter. He was also picked off by Jalen Ramsey to kill the team’s third drive and finished the game with two interceptions.

However, Garoppolo got things together to start the second quarter, using the play-action that LA had used on the 49ers defense to march down the field. Samuel capped off the drive with a 19-yard fly-sweep run to narrow the Rams’ lead to 14-10.

The 49ers defense had major issues in the first half, as the vaunted defensive line was unable to get any pressure on Goff, and the secondary was picked apart as a result.

The 49ers got tired of the screen passes and dump-offs, and Warner did something about it with a minute left in the second quarter by jumping a screen route in the flat and returned it 46 yards for a score, giving his team its first lead of the night, 24-21.

Late in the third quarter, the Rams regained the lead on a seven-play 68-yard scoring march that saw right corner Ahkello Witherspoon get victimized by a pair of significant pass plays, including the 22-yard touchdown by Cooper Kupp.

As Goff used his tight ends to get ahead in the first quarter, Garoppolo utilized his in a lead-taking scoring drive late in the fourth quarter. He found Ross Dwelley deep over the middle to put the 49ers in scoring position while George Kittle, who is widely considered as the best tight end in football, broke free for a pair of big plays, including the 7-yard score that gave the 49ers a 31-28 advantage.

49ers quarterback CJ Beathard’s brother murdered in double stabbing

photo from Nashville Police: Metro Nashvillle Police released this photo and asked the public for any information that would help identify the person of interest. A Rhodes College student and the brother of a San Francisco 49ers quarterback were fatally stabbed outside of a Nashville bar.

By Jeremy Harness

SANTA CLARA–San Francisco 49ers quarterback CJ Beathard’s brother Clayton Beathard, 22, and his friend Paul Trapeni III, 21, were both stabbed in their sides and later died after being rushed to a local Nashville hospital. The stabbing apparently was caused over a woman. Beathard and Trapeni were inside a midtown bar and went outside when the confrontation turned physical.

The suspect was identified as a student at Rhodes College, who is still at large. Clayton comes from a football family Clayton’s grandfather was a former NFL executive and Beathard is a current Niner quarterback.

Police said, “The fatal stabbings appear to have resulted from an argument over a woman that began inside Dogwood Bar and then turned physical when the parties went outside.”

No word from Beathard, the 49ers backup quarterback who is with the team playing the Los Angeles Rams at Levi’s Stadium on Saturday. Beathard could be leaving for Nashville right after tonight’s game.

Jeremy Harness is a 49ers analyst for http://www.sportsradioservice.com

San Francisco 49ers podcast with Joe Lami: Will loss to the Falcons be something Niners can shake off?

Photo credit: nbcsports.com

On the 49ers podcast with Joe:

#1 After a close loss to the Atlanta Falcons, will there be much recovery for the 49ers coming off the loss mentally and physically?

#2 Close contest as Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had himself an afternoon throwing against the 49ers defense throwing 25 for 39 for 210 yards but the key play for Ryan was his five-yard pass to Julio Jones for the gamer.

#3 Injuries are insurmountable against the 49ers, but cornerback Richard Sherman (hamstring) and nickle corner K’Waun Williams (concussion) are both scheduled to return to practice after they sat on the sidelines last Sunday.

#4 With defensive end Dee Ford (hamstring) out for the rest of the season, the 49ers were trying to acquire pass rusher Terrell Suggs, a seven-time Pro Bowler. Suggs was snapped up by the Kansas City Chiefs.

#5 The 49ers have four players going to the Pro Bowl in edge rusher Nick Bosa, Sherman, tight end George Kittle, and fullback Kyle Juszczyk.

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

San Francisco 49ers preview: Rams Seek Revenge While Niners Need to Get On Track

file photo from 49erswebzone.com: 49ers corner Richard Sherman (left) and tight end George Kittle (right) pose for a selfie with fans

By: Joe Lami

SANTA CLARA — The Niners stumbled in a trap game, yet still, control their own destiny to the NFC one-seed. If they win out, they take the top seed. A loss to the Rams before the NFC West winner-take-all matchup with the Seahawks would give home-field to either Green Bay or New Orleans. Even with a loss this week, San Francisco would win the NFC West with a win in Seattle, thanks to a tiebreaker.

The importance of retaining the #1 seed is crucial for San Francisco. Three of the five 49ers’ Super Bowl victories came when they were the top-seed in the conference.

The good news for San Francisco is they are beginning to get healthier. Both Richard Sherman and K’Waun Williams are set to return this Sunday after missing Sunday’s loss. The return of Sherman will be important to get him game time before next weekend’s gauntlet in Seattle. Guard, Mike Person is listed as questionable, fighting a neck injury. Jaquiski Tart (broken ribs) and Dee Ford (quad, hamstring) are listed as out.

The Niners will use this matchup against the Rams to get back on track. San Francisco’s won five of their last eight games against LA, including this year’s week four 20-7 win.

In that win, San Francisco’s defense completely shut down Jared Goff, allowing only 78 passing yards on 24 attempts. The Niners shutout the Rams on third-down, holding them to 0-for-9. The offense was just okay, as Garoppolo threw for 243 yards, 101 of them were caught by George Kittle, of course. Even though Jimmy didn’t throw a TD, he rushed one in San Francisco’s second touchdown of the afternoon.

The Rams have been Jekyll and Hyde this season, looking great at times, beating the Seahawks and Saints, but then getting boat raced by the Cowboys.

Kyle Shanahan mentioned last week about preparing for Atlanta’s Super Bowl. His team didn’t answer, and they’ll face another desperate team this week. LA’s playoff hopes have pretty much gone up in smoke, as they need to win out and pray for a miracle that Minnesota doesn’t beat the Packers or Bears. They hold the final tiebreaker over the Vikings.

His team will need to be ready for everything that the Rams will bring. Todd Gurley has been much more active these last three weeks, nearly totaling 200 yards and three touchdowns. He was inactive when the Niners completely shut down the Rams in week six, expect him to get a lot of carries on Saturday.

Jared Goff is currently fourth in the NFL in passing yards, just shy of 4,000. His 17-15 TD to INT ratio is shocking, however, and can be taken advantage of a hungry 49ers’ defense.

The Niners offense fell back to earth last week, scoring just 22 points. After the best month of his career, Garoppolo finished with 200 yards and a touchdown for a 90.3 rating, the lowest in the last five games. It was also the second-lowest in the last eight weeks. TLDR, Garoppolo has been one of the best QBs in the second half of the season.

If the Niners can contain Gurley, and get to Goff, like they did four times already this year, they should be able to slow down LA’s offense. Meanwhile, their defense is susceptible to the run. Breida only had four carries last week, while Raheem Mostert had 14. Mostert’s been excellent these past few weeks, giving the Niners a multi-headed monster in the backfield.

Headline Sports with Barbara Mason: 49ers can’t hold the lead against Falcons, will this be a concern going forward?; Raiders string four straight losses together; plus more

Photo credit: nbcbayarea.com

On Headline Sports with Barbara:

#1 The 49ers couldn’t hold another lead, dropping their third loss of the season to the Atlanta Falcons 29-22 at Levi’s Stadium.

#2 The Oakland Raiders suffered a 20-16 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Quarterback Derek Carr just couldn’t get and anything going for Oakland in the second half on offense.

#3 For former interim Warriors head coach Luke Walton, it was an important win in defeating his old team as head coach of the Sacramento Kings in the 100-79 victory Sunday night.

#4 Changes in baseball: Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is trying to change the game drastically. First by getting rid of some 42 minor league teams and next by mandating that pitchers must face the minimum of three batters before getting relieved. It certainly will be an issue with the players during contract negotiations for the CBA.

#5 The San Jose Sharks had lost six straight games before winning on Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks. They host Arizona tonight to try and pick up their second straight win under new head coach Bob Boughner.

Barbara has the Headlines each Tuesday night at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

San Francisco 49ers podcast with David Zizmor: Will the 49ers’ 7-point loss burn into their psyche going forward?

Photo credit: mercurynews.com

On the 49ers podcast with David:

#1 The 49ers clinched a playoff spot Sunday but not before they lost to the Atlanta Falcons 29-22. Is this a loss that should concern the 49ers?

#2 There’s a breakdown in the game plan that allowed Atlanta to get back into the game and all the Falcons’ Julio Jones had to do was score on a five-yard pass to end it and give the 49ers their third loss of 2019.

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

San Francisco 49ers game report: Ryan’s five-yard pass to Jones gets Falcons by 49ers 29-22

photo from sfgate.com: Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) sits next to the goal line after scoring against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019.

By Barbara Mason

On Sunday afternoon, the San Francisco Forty Niners took on the Atlanta Falcons at Levi Stadium. While most looked at this game as a walkover, we do have to remember that midseason the Falcons beat the New Orleans Saints. This is a league of “any given Sundays” and no team can be taken for granted.

Jimmy Garoppolo has been exceptional as has been the San Francisco defense so signs point to their 14th win of the season. A win today will mean a playoff berth for the team. This Sunday will mark the first time in nearly three years that quarterback Matt Ryan and Coach Kyle Shanahan have been on the same field. Shanahan and Ryan had a dream season prior to the devastating loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl LI. Atlanta is a 10 1/2 point underdog

The first quarter was a defensive effort by both teams. Matt Ryan would finish the quarter with 15 yards and Garoppolo would finish with 26 yards. The quarter would end with neither team finding the end zone although San Francisco was threatening deep in Atlanta territory.

The 49ers would start the second quarter with a Mostert rush for two yards and the first touchdown of the game giving San Francisco a 7-0 lead.. When it looked like the 49ers were taking control of the game, Matt Ryan would find Julio Jones for 5 yards and the touchdown to tie up the game at 7.

The Falcons were not finished. On their next drive Atlanta settled for a 43 yard Younghoe Koo field goal and the 10-3 lead. San Francisco would go to work with two minutes left in the half. Although unable to score the touchdown, San Francisco kicker Robbie Gould would kick a 22 yards field goal to tie up the game at the half 10-10.

Midway through the third quarter the teams remained tied at 10. That’s when it appeared that San Francisco was finally making their move. Robbie Gould kicked a 46 yard field goal taking a 13-10 lead. It was the fourth quarter that proved to be their undoing.

San Francisco scored a Garoppolo to Juszczyk touchdown from two yards out and the 49ers had their second score in a row for a 19-10 lead. Gould would miss the extra point. Atlanta answered and scored a touchdown with 5 minutes left. This game became very tight in the closing minutes 19-17. Robbie Gould would kick a successful 43 yard field goal to extend the 49ers lead 22-17. There was only 1:48 left on the clock.

When it looked like another San Francisco win, Matt Ryan would drive downfield and finish with a 5 yard pass Julio Jones for the go ahead touchdown 23-22. Their two point conversion attempt would fail. With seconds left on the clock a fumble return by the Falcons to score a touchdown gave them the win 29-22.

San Francisco had lost their third game of the season and dropped into a Wild Card spot in a real shocker. As I said “any given Sunday”!

San Francisco 49ers podcast with Joe Lami: 49ers looking to replace DJ Jones with Day as injuries pile up

Photo credit: ninernoise.com

On the 49ers podcast with Joe:

#1 For the 49ers, injuries are a big part of life. Their latest is with nose tackle DJ Jones, who has an ankle injury that most likely will end his season.

#2 Defensive tackle Forest Buckner said that Jones is “irreplaceable”.

#3 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week. Garoppolo’s the first 49er to get the award in six seasons.

#4 The 49ers’ Sheldon Day, who has 228 snaps this season, could be the most likely choice to replace Jones.

#5 The 49ers host the Atlanta Falcons, who are in last place in the NFC South at 4-9.

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

 

 

Could Niners Fall in Trap Game?

Photo credit: 49ers.com

By Joe Lami

The Niners are coming out of a prizefight, and they’re beaten up like it too after last Sunday’s shootout with the Saints. The Niners’ defense will be without Richard Sherman (hamstring), D.J. Jones (ankle), Dee Ford (quad, hamstring), Jaquiski Tartt (ribs), and K’Waun Williams (concussion). Controlling their own destiny for the NFC one-seed, the banged-up Niners can’t afford to overlook the 4-8 Atlanta Falcons this Sunday.

And they shouldn’t, Kyle Shanahan will have the Niners prepared to face his old squad.

The Falcons might be 4-8, but they bring the seventh-best passing offense into Levi’s this Sunday.

Matt Ryan has been good, but not great this year, nothing like he was under Shanahan. He’s completing 66.7% of his passes for 22 TDs and 12 INTs for a 93.4 passer rating on the year. Meanwhile, Garoppolo’s completed 69.5% of his passes for 25 TDs and 11 INTs for a 103.9 rating.

Ryan has one of the most dangerous targets, with Julio Jones on the field. Jones was limited in practice earlier in the week, but returned to full practice on Friday, indicating he’s ready to go.

Jones enters Sunday seventh in the NFL with 1,016 receiving yards, and he becomes extra dangerous with how short-handed the secondary will be. Last week the 49ers surrendered 134 yards and a touchdown to Michael Thomas, Jones will attempt to do the same.

While the Falcons offense has been decent this year, much better than their 4-8 record indicates, their downfall has been their defense. The Falcons have the 26th scoring defense, the 21st total defense, and the 25th 3rd down defense.

All of this mediocrity should add up to a field day for the Niners offense. After putting up 48 on another elite defense last week, they should be eager to go. Expect Matt Breida to return to more carries after last week’s six carry 54-yard performance.

This game could smell a little bit of a trap game, especially with the injuries the Niners have on defense. As long as the defense plays alright, the offense should have no problem putting up points on the Falcons. If the defense struggles without half it’s starting rotation, they could be in for a shootout.

Headline Sports podcast with Barbara Mason: Titans simply wore out Carr Sunday in Raider loss; Tough act to follow as 49ers get by Saints in the last minute; plus more

Photo credit: mercurynews.com

On Headline Sports podcast with Barbara:

#1 The Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr must be seeing double after running all day and avoiding getting sacked by the Tennessee Titans pass rush.

#2 The Raiders just couldn’t get anything going, and as a result, suffered their third straight loss 42-21.

#3 The San Francisco 49ers added more to their exciting season with a last minute drive that got them good field position for a Robbie Gould field goal for the 48-46 win.

#4 How important is it for Cal to stay in the Bay Area for their next game the RedBox Bowl at Levi’s Stadium against the Illinois Illini on Monday, Dec. 30th?

#5 The St. Mary’s Gales had an eight-game winning streak going into Sunday’s game, but it was too much. #19 Dayton sunk the Gales chances with a ten-point win 78-68.

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