Garoppolo, 49ers light up stingy Jags like a Christmas tree, hold on for win

Garoppolo, 49ers light up stingy Jags like a Christmas tree, hold on for win


SANTA CLARA – The new-and-improved 49ers had their biggest test on Sunday.

But not even the Jacksonville Jaguars’ top-ranked defense could slow down Jimmy Garoppolo and his energized teammates.

The 49ers stretched their win streak to four games – their longest sustained success since the 2013 season – with a 44-33 victory over the AFC South champions in their home finale at Levi’s Stadium.

The Jaguars entered the game allowing just 168.9 yards passing per game. But Garoppolo took advantage of Kyle Shanahan’s masterful game plan to complete 21 of 30 pass attempts for 242 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for a passer rating of 102.4.

Providing even more optimism for the future, the 49ers (5-10) got huge contributions from a number of rookies while sending the Jaguars (10-5) to just their second loss in the past nine games.

Undrafted rookie running back Matt Breida put the game out of reach with a 30-yard touchdown run with 1:24 left after the Jaguars clawed back into the game. Breida gained 74 yards on 11 rushing attempts.

Tight end George Kittle and slot receiver Trent Taylor caught touchdown passes. Reuben Foster and Solomon Thomas were among the 49ers’ top tacklers, and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon helped put the game away with a fourth-quarter interception.

Running back Carlos Hyde helped the 49ers cash in after Witherspoon’s second interception to score on a 6-yard turn for a 37-19 lead in the fourth quarter.

Garoppolo showed a little bit of everything in the 49ers’ home finale, including a 1-yard touchdown run to give San Francisco an early lead. The 49ers squandered a 16-point lead and briefly fell behind in the third quarter before rallying for the victory.

Garoppolo threw sidearm just before Jacksonville cornerback Aaron Colvin got to him. He squeezed the pass into Taylor for a 5-yard touchdown pass to give the 49ers a 30-19 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Making his fourth start since the trade that brought him to the 49ers from the New England Patriots, Garoppolo got off to a hot start. But his first half ended on a sour note. His interception in the end zone provided a big play to enable the Jaguars to get back into the game.

Garoppolo’s pass intended for Kendrick Bourne fluttered as he was hit by Jaguars pass-rushers Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue. Safety Barry Church made the interception in the end zone.

The Jaguars cashed in to score just before the end of the half, as Blake Bortles’ pass intended for Leonard Fournette was deflected into the hands of receiver Jaelen Strong for a 5-yard touchdown.

The 49ers squandered their lead at the beginning of the second half, but came back after K’Waun Williams’ one-handed interception and 27-yard return set up the offense at the Jacksonville 26-yard line.

Five plays later, Garoppolo squeezed a pass into Kittle at the goal line between two Jaguars defenders for an 8-yard touchdown to give the 49ers a 23-10 lead with 6:46 remaining in the third quarter.

Bortles, who entered the game as the hottest quarterback in the league during December, completed 32 of 50 passes for 382 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. His passer rating was 75.6.

Cornerback Dontae Johnson provided a big play in the first half with a 50-yard interception return for a touchdown. The play looked as if it would give the 49ers a 17-0 lead in the second quarter.

But Robbie Gould’s extra-point attempt was blocked, and Aaron Colvin returned it for two points going the other way. The turn of events meant the 49ers carried a 16-2 lead after the play.

Then, things went south for Johnson, was called for pass interference (23 yards) and illegal use of hands (5 yards) during a three-play stretch. Johnson was also in coverage on a 19-yard pass to Dede Westbrook at the 1-yard line to set up the Jaguars’ first touchdown of the game.

When the 49ers’ defense went back onto the field later in the first half, newcomer Tyvis Powell replaced Johnson at right cornerback. Johnson has been called for a team-worst 12 penalties this season, not including three penalties against him that were declined.

Johnson returned to the field after sitting out a couple of possessions.

Before starting nose tackle Earl Mitchell played a down of defense, he trotted onto the field with the 49ers’ offense.

The 49ers deployed Mitchell, a 310-pounder, in the backfield for a first-and-goal play at the Jacksonville 1-yard line. Garoppolo got a nice shove in the back from Mitchell on a quarterback sneak for a touchdown.

Garoppolo’s 1-yard run – with assistance from Mitchell – was the culmination of the 49ers’ first touchdown on an opening drive this season.

--Defensive lineman Aaron Lynch was inactive for the game after being among the 46 players to suit up the previous two games. Ronald Blair replaced him on the team’s game-day roster. Lynch is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the season.

--Fullback Kyle Juszczyk recorded a career-high with 76 yards receiving on five catches. He previous best came two weeks ago when he had 64 yards against the Houston Texans.

--Linebacker Elijah Lee had a fumble return for a touchdown wiped out when it was ruled Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon did not catch Bortles’ short pass in the fourth quarter. The play was ruled incomplete, and referee Jeff Triplette announced the ruling stood after Shanahan’s challenge.

--Fournette rushed for 48 yards on 18 attempts. The Jaguars had just 81 rushing yards. It was the fifth consecutive game the 49ers have held the opposition under 100 yards rushing.

--The Jaguars got back into the game with a recovered onside kick. Bortles found James O’Shaughnessy for an 11-yard touchdown with 1:50 remaining in regulation. Josh Lambo missed the extra point.

49ers 2018 scheduled released: Analysis and predictions

49ers 2018 scheduled released: Analysis and predictions

The 49ers released their full 2018 schedule on Thursday evening. Here's the slate:

Sunday, Sept. 9, at Minnesota, 10 a.m. (FOX)
There was a time when we thought the Vikings’ quarterback would be suiting up for the road team in this matchup. But, thanks to Bill Belichick’s generosity, Jimmy Garoppolo will be wearing the road whites while Kirk Cousins and his talented supporting cast will be decked out in purple. Garoppolo’s undefeated run as a starting quarterback is put to the test in the opening week. And San Francisco newcomer Jerick McKinnon gets an early chance to prove to his former team that he should have been an every-down running back. Prediction: L.

Sunday, Sept. 16, vs. Detroit, 1:05 p.m. (FOX)
First-year Lions head coach Matt Patricia – and the pencil behind his ear – travel to the Bay Area for the organization’s first visit to Levi’s Stadium. Prediction: W.

Sunday, Sept. 23, at Kansas City, 10 a.m. (FOX)
Alex Smith’s five-year run as Kansas City’s starting quarterback came to an end. Arrowhead Stadium is now Patrick Mahomes’ home, and it remains a difficult environment for road teams. Prediction: L.

Sunday, Sept. 30, at L.A. Chargers, 1:25 p.m. (FOX)
Fans of the 49ers travel well. The challenge is on to snap up as many of the 27,000 tickets in the Charges’ temporary home venue as possible. The 49ers will need a lot of help against a talented team that finished last season with a lot of momentum. Prediction: L.

Sunday, Oct. 7, vs. Arizona, 1:25 p.m. (FOX)
The Cardinals have undergone a facelift with the retirements of head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer. The new crew of coach Steve Wilks and Sam Bradford – or whoever ends up at QB – inherits a six-game head-to-head win streak against the 49ers. Prediction: W.

Monday, Oct. 15, at Green Bay, 5:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Aaron Rodgers did not get any say in Packers personnel matters this offseason, and we’re hearing the NFL schedule-maker did not consult him, either. But he certainly will not complain about this prime-time matchup against the team for which he rooted as a child growing up in Chico. Prediction: L.

Sunday, Oct. 21, vs. L.A. Rams, 5:20 p.m. (NBC)
This could be a pivotal mid-season matchup featuring two franchises that took different approaches during the offseason. The 49ers were measured in free agency, while the Rams played fantasy football. L.A. general manager Les Snead went all-in during the offseason with the additions of cornerback Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, along with defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and receiver Brandin Cooks. Prediction: L.

Sunday, Oct. 28, at Arizona, 1:25 p.m. (FOX)
After back-to-back three-point losses in the desert the past couple of seasons, the 49ers will need to take care of business against the Cardinals to be serious contenders for a playoff spot. Prediction: W.

Thursday, Nov. 1, vs. Oakland, 5:20 p.m. (FOX/NFLN)
Levi’s Stadium was built as a two-team facility, just in case the Raiders were interested in moving to the South Bay. In the building’s fifth year, the Vegas-bound Silver and Black finally get a look inside. Facing the 49ers during a short week is ideal for the Raiders, as Jon Gruden and Co. do not have to step on a plane. Kyle Shanahan will match wits against the man who gave him his first NFL job. Shanahan was Gruden’s offensive quality control coach in 2004-’05 with Tampa Bay. Prediction: W.

Monday, Nov. 12, vs. N.Y. Giants, 5:15 p.m. (ESPN)
The 49ers have a short week, followed by a long week. A year ago, the Giants’ trip to Levi’s Stadium resulted in the end of the losing streak of 49ers’ franchise-worst start. C.J. Beathard was under center that day, and Marquise Goodwin provided one of the highlights of the season with an 83-yard touchdown catch just hours after he and his wife lost their baby boy due to complications from pregnancy. Prediction: W.

Bye week

Sunday, Nov. 25, at Tampa Bay, 10 a.m. (FOX)
The 49ers will have to go light on the tryptophan from their Thanksgiving feasts to be ready for the cross-country travel and their matchup against Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers. The 49ers will be making just their second trip to Tampa of the past 14 seasons. Prediction: W.

Sunday, Dec. 2, at Seattle, 5:20 p.m. (NBC)
Is there any doubt Richard Sherman will be a little bit hyped to go back to Seattle with something to prove to Pete Carroll and John Schneider? The “12s” will find out what it’s like when Sherman is not on their team. It’s a different Seattle team, but Russell Wilson is as elusive as ever. Prediction: L.

Sunday, Dec. 9, vs. Denver, 1:05 p.m. (CBS)
These teams are skipping their annual exhibition game in lieu of the regular-season matchup. The Broncos’ last meaningful visit to Levi’s Stadium turned out pretty well – a victory over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. Prediction: W.

Sunday, Dec. 16, vs. Seattle, 1:05 p.m. (FOX)
It’s not a rivalry until the 49ers prove they can actually beat the Seahawks, who hold a nine-game head-to-head win streak. (It could be 10 at this point.) The Seahawks’ dominance began in the NFC Championship game in January 2014, when Sherman broke up Colin Kaepernick’s pass and Malcolm Smith got the interception. Now, both Sherman and Smith are wearing the other uniform. Prediction: W.

Sunday, Dec. 23, vs. Chicago, 1:05 p.m. (FOX)
These teams should know each other pretty well. It will be the fifth consecutive season in which the 49ers have played against the NFC North team. The teams have split the previous four meetings, as the 49ers evened the score last season with a 15-14 victory in Garoppolo’s first start with the 49ers. There is no threat of a snow storm or freezing rain in this locale. Prediction: W.

Sunday, Dec. 30, at L.A. Rams, 1:25 p.m. (FOX)
The 49ers have not lost to the Rams in Southern California since 1986. The stakes could be higher this season than we’ve seen in a long, long time as the 49ers could offer the defending NFC West champs their stiffest competition. This could be a huge game – or it could be like a year ago when the Rams rested every significant starter to get ready for the playoffs. Prediction: L.

Report: 49ers will play at Packers on Monday Night Football


Report: 49ers will play at Packers on Monday Night Football

We won't know the full 49ers 2018 schedule until 5pm, but we are starting to learn some specifics.

The 49ers will play at the Packers on Oct. 15, according to ESPN's Rob Demovsky.

That will be in prime time on Monday Night Football.

We already know of another prime time game for the 49ers: Thursday, Nov. 1 at home against the Raiders.

San Francisco and Green Bay did not play in 2017 or 2016.

The last meeting between the franchises was on Oct. 4, 2015 -- a 17-3 Packers win at Levi's Stadium.

Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers opened the 2012 season with a 30-22 win at Lambeau Field.

The 49ers then beat the Packers 45-31 in the divisional round of the playoffs.

In 2013, the 49ers beat the Packers in the season opener, 34-28.

Four months later, San Francisco prevailed in a wild card game, 23-20.

Check back at 5pm as 49ers Insider Matt Maiocco will provide analysis and a prediction for every 2018 regular season game...