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.

Report: Stubblefield taken into custody, booked into jail in no-bail case

Santa Clara Sheriff Office

Report: Stubblefield taken into custody, booked into jail in no-bail case

Former 49ers defensive lineman Dana Stubblefield is behind bars. 

According to the Mercury News, Stubblefield was led away from court to jail in handcuffs Friday after a judge found there was probable cause to hold him over for trial on charges of rape stemming from May 2015. 

Stubblefield is charged with raping an intellectually disabled woman on April 9, 2015 at his Morgan Hill home when she had gone to interview for a babysitting job. 

According to the same report, Stubblefield had been free on $250,000 bail for more than a year. But the judge ordered him taken into custody Friday after prosecutors formally added the allegation that Stubblefield used a gun during the assault, which made it a no-bail case.

Stubblefield has pleaded not guilty and publicly denied the five felony charges and gun enhancement that prosecutors say could lead to at least 15 years to life in prison if he is convicted.

Stubblefield played 11 seasons in the NFL, including the first five with the 49ers. He later returned to the 49ers in 2001 and ’02, before finishing his career with the Raiders.

Stubblefield, a first-round pick of the 49ers in 1993, was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year after recording 10.5 sacks. He was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year with a career-high 15 sacks in 1997. He signed a lucrative contract with Washington in 1998.

Drafted by Baalke with injury, former 49ers WR signs with Colts


Drafted by Baalke with injury, former 49ers WR signs with Colts

The 49ers recently re-signed eight of the 10 players who finished the season on the team’s practice squad.

Wide receiver DeAndre Smelter, who was not among the first wave of 49ers signings to 2018 contracts, signed Wednesday with the Indianapolis Colts, ending his three-season association with the organization.

Smelter was one of general manager Trent Baalke’s redshirt draft picks. The team selected him in the fourth round of the 2015 draft despite a torn ACL that ended his final season at Georgia Tech.

Smelter spent his first season on an injured list. He was waived at the beginning of the past two seasons, finishing both years on the 49ers’ practice squad. Smelter appeared in two games in 2016 and caught one pass for 23 yards.

Last season, the 49ers signed wide receivers Louis Murphy and Max McCaffrey to spots on the 53-man roster instead of Smelter, who remained on the practice squad.

Wide receiver DeAndre Carter, who also spent the entire season on the practice squad, was signed recently to the team’s 90-man roster.

Others who finished the season on the 49ers practice squad to remain on the team’s offseason roster are: quarterback Nick Mullens, tight end Cole Wick, offensive linemen Andrew Lauderdale and Pace Murphy, linebacker Boseko Lokombo, and defensive backs Trovon Reed and Channing Stribling.

The 49ers also signed fullback Malcolm Johnson, who spent last season on injured reserve with the Seattle Seahawks. Johnson appeared in 19 games over the 2015 and ’16 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. He was a sixth-round draft pick in ’15.

Offensive linemen Cameron Hunt, who finished the season on the 49ers’ practice squad, remains unsigned. Guard JP Flynn is also unsigned. He sustained a torn patellar tendon in November and underwent surgery that was expected to keep him out up to nine months.