Defense, again, leads way for the 49ers


Defense, again, leads way for the 49ers

SAN FRANCISCO -- Even while the 49ers' offense was going nowhere in the second half, their lead remained safe.The 49ers' defense made things difficult for second-year quarterback Colt McCoy and the Cleveland Browns' non-existent run game on Sunday at Candlestick Park. The defense powered the way to the 49ers' 20-10 victory."I thought the effort that our guys play with is evident to me to the guys on our team," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "Ahmad Brooks, down after down, he's just giving it everything he has. Same with Justin Smith."Looked up and down the defensive roster and you see them come off the field and they're just pouring everything out of their bucket. They're giving everything they've got."The Browns only points came on Phil Dawson's 52-yard field goal at the end of the first half and on McCoy's 45-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Cribbs with 6 minutes remaining.The 49ers are 6-1 for the first time since 1998, and their five-game win streak is the franchise's best since 2001.
"It feels good," said 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman, who recorded a team-high 11 tackles. "We just wanted to come into this game and pick up where we left off. A lot of teams are getting complacent after their bye weeks and we didn't want to be that team. We wanted to separate ourselves and I think we did that."Browns running back Peyton Hillis did not suit up for the game due to a hamstring injury. Montario Hardesty started but managed just 6 yards on two carries before leaving the game with a calf injury.Cleveland managed just 66 yards rushing on 23 carries, as the 49ers have now gone an NFL-best 29 games without allowing an individual to gain 100 yards on the ground against them.There were plenty of defensive highlights:--Brooks recorded two sacks in the game, including a strip of McCoy on the second play of the game. Isaac Sopoaga recovered the ball at the Cleveland 20-yard line, leading to the first touchdown of the game. Brooks did it all without his helmet."My helmet came off during the pass rush and I was just going to lay my shoulder on the quarterback and make sure he was down and maybe even strip the ball," Brooks said. "But right when I was going to do that, I saw Justin Smith somehow come into the play and I just ran into the quarterback head first."After the play, I was kind of dizzy. I was bleeding and leaking as if I just got into a fight and lost. But the thing thing about it is I got the sack. It was well worth it."--Rookie Aldon Smith recorded a sack for the fourth consecutive game. He has recorded each of his team-leading 6.5 sacks in those games. Smith already ranks third in franchise history for sacks from a rookie. Charles Haley had 12 sacks in 1986, and Dana Stubblefield recorded 10.5 sacks in 1993.--Outside linebacker Parys Haralson forced a fumble in the fourth quarter. He is tied for the NFL lead with three forced fumbles on the season.--Safety Dashon Goldson intercepted a McCoy pass in the end zone in the third quarter. It was his sixth career interception and his first since December of last season against the Seattle Seahawks.--Linebacker Patrick Willis recorded seven tackles and picked up his first sack of the season.

What they're saying: Happy Thanksgiving 2017


What they're saying: Happy Thanksgiving 2017

Bay Area sports teams and your favorite players have plenty to be thankful for this year. 

Check out how the teams and players are celebrating Thanksgiving in 2017.

Shanahan: Garoppolo's best football will come next season


Shanahan: Garoppolo's best football will come next season

SANTA CLARA – The two quarterbacks who finish this season with the 49ers are probably going to be the same two quarterbacks the organization carry on their 2018 roster.

So every decision coach Kyle Shanahan makes with C.J. Beathard and Jimmy Garoppolo is being made to consider what is best for those two players.

Shanahan made the expected announcement this week that Beathard will make his fifth consecutive start on Sunday when the 49ers face the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium.

Beathard is coming off his best game as a pro. He was a major contributor to the 49ers’ first victory of the season, throwing for 288 yards, throwing two touchdowns and rushing for a score in a 31-21 victory over the New York Giants. His performance seemingly did enough to earn him another start.

Meanwhile, Garoppolo pulled up to 49ers headquarters on Oct. 31 with no prior knowledge of Shanahan’s offensive system. Even as a rookie, Beathard has five more months of experience in the 49ers’ offense than Garoppolo, a four-year professional who made just two starts during his time with the New England Patriots.

“We’ve had C.J. in there for some time,” Shanahan said. “He’s getting more used to it, and I’m getting more used to him. The players are getting more used to him around him. It’s been nice to add a few things each week for him.”

General manager John Lynch reiterated this week he considers Garoppolo the 49ers’ quarterback of the future. Garoppolo is not under contract for next season. If the 49ers are unable to work out a multi-year extension, the club would be expected to designate him as their franchise player to retain him for the 2018 season.

Garoppolo is likely to get some playing time in the final six games of the season, but the 49ers have every reason to take their time in order to give him the best chance at success. On the first three days of the bye week, Garoppolo had a chance to go back to the beginning and learn the basics of the scheme in meetings with quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello and Shanahan.

Shanahan’s scheme is complex with unique verbiage and an abundance of adjustments that are required on any given play. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan took a step backward in his first season in Shanahan's scheme. The next year, Ryan was a runaway MVP winner with a career-high 38 touchdowns and a career-low seven interceptions.

It took Ryan a full season of experience with Shanahan to fully grasp his responsibilities, so it is unreasonable to believe Garoppolo would be able to do much more than just function if he gets onto the field for extended action.

“Jimmy gets more and more ready each week,” Shanahan said. “Is Jimmy going to be the best he can? To me, that’s impossible. He just hasn’t been here long enough, and I think he’ll get an opportunity to be better each week.

“I don’t think we’re going to see Jimmy’s best football, to be fair to him, until next year because that’s what guys need. But C.J. did play his best football last week, which definitely, to me, made the decision easier.”