49ers

Shanahan: Leon Hall's experience helps, but 'his strongest asset is...'

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USATI

Shanahan: Leon Hall's experience helps, but 'his strongest asset is...'

SANTA CLARA – Leon Hall originally worked out for the 49ers in May. He was brought back to the Bay Area in early September for another audition.

Finally, the 49ers made the move this week to sign Hall, 32, a 10-year NFL veteran with 27 career interceptions. The other nine current members of the 49ers' secondary have combined for 17 career interceptions.

The 49ers hope Hall can bring some stability and knowledge to a young, inconsistent secondary. The 49ers rank 26th in the NFL in passing yards allowed (249.8 yards per game) and 31st in third-down efficiency.

“First and foremost, you have to acknowledge that it’s young in the secondary,” Hall said. “And I’m far beyond the oldest member of the secondary. So that said, experience helps.”

Hall spent his first nine NFL seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals after arriving as the No. 18 overall pick in 2007 from Michigan. He spent last season with the New York Giants.

Coach Kyle Shanahan acknowledged Hall's experience is a big reason the 49ers reached out to him. But Shanahan said his versatility is also attractive after the 49ers had to piece together their secondary against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday due to injuries.

“I think his strongest asset is that he can play pretty much all the positions back there,” Shanahan said. “He played at a very high level in Cincinnati as an outside corner, being a high draft pick and doing that for a number of years. And he’s a very smart player who we’ve also seen play nickel. He played the safety position, too, with the Giants last year.

“We’ve had a bunch of injuries last week and we’ve got a veteran guy in here who is a great person, who works hard, who also can play all the positions and help us wherever we need be, so his versatility really makes for a big asset for us.”

Hall, who grew up a fan of the 49ers in Southern California, said he can find satisfaction from the challenge of helping a young team win its first game.

“They got some talent here,” Hall said. “I’m sitting at home at watching it. I can see it. There are some things, obviously, that can be tightened up. So that’s part of my excitement is coming there trying to help them get their first tab into the win column and go from there.”

The 49ers placed veteran cornerback Asa Jackson on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury. Rookie cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon is working back through the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Marquise Goodwin stays positive through more family tragedy

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AP

Marquise Goodwin stays positive through more family tragedy

SANTA CLARA – Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin revealed another tragedy struck his family this week.

Just five weeks after the death of his unborn child due to complications in pregnancy, Goodwin revealed his biological father passed away last week.

“I’m blessed,” Goodwin said after the 49ers’ 25-23 victory over the Tennessee Titans. “I’ve been dealing with a lot. I’m blessed. I’m thankful for the opportunity. God has shown me so much in this season. I had a lot going on this year losing my baby and I just recently lost my biological father this week.

“It’s just been a lot, but I really didn’t let the outside negative energy affect how I play, how I approach this game or how I come to work each day. I just kind of stayed positive and kept my mind fresh, and I relied on God to bring me through all of the situations that I’ve been through.”

Goodwin has played a key role in the 49ers’ three-game winning streak. On Sunday, he caught a career-high 10 passes for 114 yards in the 49ers’ win over the Titans. In the past three games, Goodwin has 24 receptions for 319 yards.

Goodwin has already posted the best numbers of his five-year NFL career with 51 receptions for 897 yards.

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 25-23 win over Titans

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 25-23 win over Titans

SANTA CLARA -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 25-23 victory over the Tennessee Titans in Week 15 on Sunday:

1. JIMMY DOES IT AGAIN
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has brought something special to the 49ers. The team won just once in its first 11 games of the season. Since Garoppolo took over as the starter, the 49ers are 3-0, including two late-game comebacks.

His performance Sunday was his best, as the 49ers took down the Titans – a team battling for a spot in the AFC playoffs.

The 49ers were trailing by one point with 1:07 remaining and had the ball at their own 25-yard line. Garoppolo immediately completed passes to Trent Taylor, George Kittle and Marquise Goodwin. And the next thing you know, the 49ers had moved 48 yards down the field for the game-winning field goal.

Garoppolo completed 31 of 43 pass attempts for 381 yards and a touchdown. His passer rating was 106.8.

The 49ers are settling for way too many field goals, so all is not perfect. But considering where this team – where this offense – was before Garoppolo arrived on the scene, and it has been a remarkable transformation.

The 49ers rolled up 414 yards of total offense despite a sputtering run game. Garoppolo spread the ball around to nine different receivers – including himself. He made the ill-advised decision to hold onto a ball that came back at him after being deflected at the line of scrimmage. Garoppolo was quickly tackled for a 6-yard loss.

So, yes, he’s not perfect.

2. GOOD AS GOULD
As if five field goals and a streak of 19 accurate kicks in a row was not enough, Robbie Gould had to make one more on the final snap of the game to prevent what would have been a heart-breaking defeat.

Gould was true, making a 45-yarder as time expired, to go along with kicks of 38, 48, 28, 50 and 48 yards. He made five field goals two weeks ago against his former team, the Chicago Bears, in a 15-14 victory at Soldier Field.

In the past three weeks, Gould has made 15 field goals – something no kicker has done in NFL history over a three-game stretch.

Gould has made 36 of his 38 field-goal attempts (.947 accuracy) and already is second all-time in club history for made field goals in a season. David Akers made 44 in 2011.

3. THE SUPPORTING CAST
Every game during the 49ers’ three-game win streak there has been someone else who steps up in a big play. Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, however, has been the constant.

Goodwin caught a career-high 10 passes for 114 yards, including an 11-yarder on the field drive that helped get the 49ers into range for Gould’s winning kick. In three games with Garoppolo as the starter, Goodwin has 24 receptions for 319 yards.

But he is not alone.

Tight end Garrett Celek had three catches for 63 yards. Rookie tight end George Kittle had a big 24-yard reception on the final drive and finished with 52 yards receiving. Undrafted rookie wideout Kendrick Bourne contributed four catches for 85 yards.

And on the defensive side, there was no play bigger than DeForest Buckner’s stop of DeMarco Murray on a third-and-2 play for no gain that forced the Titans to settle for Ryan Succop’s 50-yard field goal with 1:07 remaining and ensured the 49ers would have enough time for Garoppolo to work his magic.