Instant Analysis: Starters shine, but 49ers lose in last second vs Vikings

Instant Analysis: Starters shine, but 49ers lose in last second vs Vikings


MINNEAPOLIS – The 49ers exhibited a facet of their offense on Sunday night in front of a nationally televised audience that had been featured on a regular basis during training camp.

The first team offense under the direction of quarterback Brian Hoyer scored touchdowns on the first two drives to supply the early highlights in a 32-31 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night.

Reserve 49ers running back Raheem Mostert took over in the second half with two touchdowns but the Vikings' reserves scored 15 points in the final six minutes to pull off the win over the 49ers' reserves.

It was the third exhibition game for both teams, and the game in which the starters typically see their most extensive run of the preseason.

Hoyer, who put together a strong summer of play to solidify his standing as the 49ers’ starter, got the Minnesota Vikings’ secondary to bite on a play fake. Then, he delivered a perfect pass to speedster Marquise Goodwin, who got behind cornerback Xavier Rhodes and safety Andrew Sendejo for a 46-yard touchdown on the 49ers’ opening drive.

On the next possession, running back Carlos Hyde got a step on Vikings safety Harrison Smith on a slant pattern and Hoyer delivered a perfect pass that resulted in 24-yard touchdown.

Hoyer completed his first nine pass attempts of the game, and finished the first half with 12 completions in 17 attempts for 176 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 143.3.

Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard opened the second half in place of Hoyer. Beathard completed 7 of 13 pass attempts for 159 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Beathard was not as sharp has he was in the two previous games. But he got some help along the way from Mostert, who took a short pass on a third-and-22, and turned it into an 87-yard touchdown.

Mostert, already one of the 49ers’ core special-teams players, made a strong case for his inclusion on the 53-man roster. He caught two passes for 104 yards and gained 26 yards on four rushing attempts, including a 4-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.

Veteran Matt Barkley finished the game at quarterback. He completed both of his two pass attempts for 19 yards.

Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster made his presence felt on the first snap of the game, as he stuffed rookie running back Dalvin Cook for a 5-yard loss after a swing pass from quarterback Sam Bradford.

Foster did not stop there, recording a game-high eight tackles in the first half. Neither Foster nor NaVorro Bowman played in the second half.

Bowman, who was replaced when the 49ers went with six defensive backs, was second on the team with four tackles in the first half.

Starting free safety Jimmie Ward, who was activated off the physically-unable-to-perform list on Wednesday, did not suit up for the game. Ward is returning to action after missing nearly a month with a hamstring injury.

Cornerback Will Redmond (ankle), wide receiver Aaron Burbridge (hamstring) and guard Joshua Garnett (knee) did not suit up.

--Left tackle Joe Staley was replaced in the first quarter due to a knee injury. The injury did not appear serious, as Staley remained standing on the sideline and did not have much interaction with the team’s medical staff.

--Undrafted rookie Matt Breida was the second running back into the game, seeing spot duty in place of Hyde in the first half. Breida started the second half and put together some nice runs on his way to 29 yards on seven rushing attempts.

--Jaquiski Tartt started at free safety in place of Ward. Undrafted rookie Lorenzo Jerome started the first two exhibition games at free safety.

--Cornerback Rashard Robinson ran stride-for-stride with Vikings deep threat Stefon Diggs on a long route and broke up Sam Bradford’s pass down the right sideline.

--First-year kicker Nick Rose drilled a 55-yard field goal in the third quarter.

--Rookie slot receiver Trent Taylor caught three passes for 36 yards.

--Veteran pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil recorded a sack on a third-and-10 situation in the first quarter to force a Vikings punt.

--Rookie cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon was called for 23-yard pass interference penalty when he did not turn around on a pass intended for Michael Floyd.

--Minnesota’s Jerick McKinnon returned a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter. Kendrick Bourne had the best chance when he came up empty on a diving tackle attempt, and McKinnon brushed aside Robbie Gould en route to the end zone.

Roger Craig, Terrell Owens, John Lynch among Hall of Fame semifinalists


Roger Craig, Terrell Owens, John Lynch among Hall of Fame semifinalists

Former 49ers running back Roger Craig, in his final year on the modern-era ballot, is a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the 10th consecutive year.

Craig is among 27 semifinalists announced for the Class of 2018. The list includes six first-year eligible candidates and four other players who have been eligible previously but are semifinalists for the first time.

Wide receiver Terrell Owens and safety John Lynch, currently 49ers general manager, are among the return semifinalists. Lynch was among the final 10 players last year, while Owens made it to the top 15.

The list of first-year eligible semifinalists includes wide receiver Randy Moss, defensive back Ronde Barber, guard Steve Hutchinson, linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, and defensive lineman Richard Seymour.

The four previously-eligible players who are semifinalists for the first time are safety LeRoy Butler, defensive ends Leslie O’Neal and Simeon Rice, and cornerback Everson Walls.

In January, the list of modern-era candidates will be trimmed to 15 individuals. There will be a total of 18 finalists, including contributor finalist Bobby Beathard and seniors finalists Robert Brazile and Jerry Kramer. Hall of Fame rules stipulate from four to eight new members will be selected every year.

Beathard, Brazile and Kramer will be voted on separately and, like all other finalists, must receive 80-percent approval from the full selection committee at the annual selection meeting on Feb. 3, 2018 in Minneapolis, the day before Super Bowl LII.

Craig's teams made it to the playoffs in each of his 11 NFL seasons, including his first eight years with the 49ers. In 1985, he became the first player in NFL history with 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season.

Owens, who played his first eight seasons with the 49ers, was a first-team All-Pro performer six times. He ranks second all-time in receiving yards (15,934) and third with 153 receiving touchdowns.

Lynch, a hard-hitting safety with Tampa Bay and Denver, was selected to nine Pro Bowls in his 15-year career. He recorded 26 interceptions, forced 16 fumbles and recovered nine in his career.

Steve Atwater, S – 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets | (Times as a Semifinalist: 7 – 2012-18)
Ronde Barber, CB/S – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Tony Boselli, T – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve) | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2016-18)
Isaac Bruce, WR – 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
LeRoy Butler, S – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Don Coryell, Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 10 – 2005, 2010-18)
Roger Craig, RB – 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings | (Times as a Semifinalist: 10 – 2009-18)
Brian Dawkins, S – 1996-2008 Philadelphia Eagles, 2009-2011 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2017-18)
Alan Faneca, G – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2016-18)
Torry Holt, WR – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
Steve Hutchinson, G – 2001-05 Seattle Seahawks, 2006-2011 Minnesota Vikings, 2012 Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Joe Jacoby, T – 1981-1993 Washington Redskins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2005, 2008, 2013-18)
Edgerrin James, RB – 1999-2005 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals, 2009 Seattle Seahawks | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
Jimmy Johnson, Coach – 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2014-18)
Ty Law, CB – 1995-2004 New England Patriots, 2005, 2008 New York Jets, 2006-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
Ray Lewis, LB – 1996-2012 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
John Lynch, FS – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2013-18)
Kevin Mawae, C/G – 1994-97 Seattle Seahawks, 1998-2005 New York Jets, 2006-09 Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
Karl Mecklenburg, LB – 1983-1994 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 7 – 2012-18)
Randy Moss, WR – 1998-2004, 2010 Minnesota Vikings, 2005-06 Oakland Raiders, 2007-2010 New England Patriots, 2010 Tennessee Titans, 2012 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Leslie O'Neal, DE – 1986, 1988-1995 San Diego Chargers, 1996-1997 St. Louis Rams, 1998-1999 Kansas City Chiefs | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Terrell Owens, WR – 1996-2003 San Francisco 49ers, 2004-05 Philadelphia Eagles, 2006-08 Dallas Cowboys, 2009 Buffalo Bills, 2010 Cincinnati Bengals | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2016-18)
Simeon Rice, DE – 1996-2000 Arizona Cardinals, 2001-06 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2007 Denver Broncos, 2007 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Richard Seymour, DE/DT – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Brian Urlacher, LB – 2000-2012 Chicago Bears | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Everson Walls, CB – 1981-89 Dallas Cowboys, 1990-92 New York Giants, 1992-93 Cleveland Browns | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Hines Ward, WR – 1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2017-18)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area is one of 48 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee.

John Lynch: Eventually, Garoppolo 'is going to be our guy'


John Lynch: Eventually, Garoppolo 'is going to be our guy'

SANTA CLARA – General manager John Lynch came close Tuesday to announcing which quarterback will start for the 49ers this week.

But the official announcement that rookie C.J. Beathard will start Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks will have to come from coach Kyle Shanahan, he said.

“C.J. (Beathard) played extremely well against the Giants, and that’s likely,” Lynch told reporters at Levi’s Stadium. “But I’ll let Kyle speak to that.”

Lynch reiterated that they want to give newly acquired Jimmy Garoppolo the best chance to succeed. Garoppolo spent part of the 49ers' bye week learning the basics of the offensive system in meetings with quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello. Garoppolo also met one-on-one with Shanahan.

Beathard had his best game as a pro on Nov. 12, before the bye week, as he threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-21 victory over the New York Giants. Garoppolo arrived in Santa Clara on Oct. 31 in a trade with the New England Patriots.

Lynch said he feels Garoppolo “is going to be our guy,” so the organization does not feel any urgency to rush him onto the field. In fact, Lynch sounded as if the 49ers are not placing a high priority on spending big on the quarterback position with Garoppolo and Beathard on the team.

"You still study every position, but we feel pretty good about where our quarterback room is,” Lynch said.