Three things you need to know from 49ers' first win of 2017 season

Three things you need to know from 49ers' first win of 2017 season

SANTA CLARA -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 31-21 win over the New York Giants in Week 10 on Sunday:

The 49ers broke their nine-game losing streak to open the season with many of their young players – on both sides of the ball – stepping up with huge contributions.

Quarterback C.J. Beathard had his best day as a pro – and, now, maybe it is not such a foregone conclusion that coach Kyle Shanahan will elevate Jimmy Garoppolo to the starting lineup after the bye week.

Some young players provided strong days on the defensive side, too. Reuben Foster led the team with 10 tackles; safety Adrian Colbert has looked like a natural as he patrols center field; and second-year player Ronald Blair injected some pass rush into a 49ers’ defense that has been inconsistent in getting after the quarterback.

“It’s the first of many,” Foster said of the victory. “This team is special. I’m really excited about this victory and how hard our team pushed. This team has a hell of a passion for the sport. No matter how much we lose, this team does not give up. That’s what I love about this team.”

With that youth comes a lot of enthusiasm. There was a large wet spot in the middle of the locker room, where Shanahan was doused with a water bucket to celebrate the victory.

Center Daniel Kilgore said his position group was tired of hearing everyone talk about how crappy the 49ers’ offensive line has been this season. (Only, he did not use the word.)

The 49ers’ offensive line paved the way for the club’s second-highest scoring output of the season. Beathard was not sacked and he was hit just twice in 25 passing attempts. That’s a huge improvement over a week ago, when the Arizona Cardinals sacked Beathard five times and knocked him down 16 times.

“I feel like I barely got hit, barely even got touched,” Beathard said. “That’s a credit to everybody. The coaching staff; the play calling; the receivers getting open; the O-line blocking their tails off, and Carlos (Hyde) and tight ends doing their jobs in protections and then obviously getting the ball out. I think they did a great job of that.”

The 49ers did not fall behind, so they could stick with the running game from start to finish. The 49ers ran the ball 33 times and gained a season-high 186 yards on the ground. The 49ers kept drives alive with an impressive 67-percent conversion rate on third downs (8 of 12).

The run set up the pass. And vice versa. Running back Carlos Hyde led the way with 98 yards receiving on 17 rushing attempts. Rookie Matt Breida entered and enjoyed plenty of success, too. Breida gained 55 yards on nine carries, including a 33-yard touchdown run.

The 2008 Detroit Lions do not have to worry about sharing their place in history with the 49ers. (But the Cleveland Browns are still in the hunt to be the only other winless team during a 16-game regular season.)

And the 49ers are guaranteed not to lose next week, either. That’s because they can now enjoy their bye week and rest their bodies after a particularly grueling stretch of games.

The team will report to the practice facility on Monday, but Shanahan will excuse the players for the remainder of the week to fuel up for the final six-week stretch of the regular season.

The 49ers head into the bye week on a high note after experiencing for the first time.

“When you lose nine in a row you learn to savor the moments and enjoy these,” Shanahan said. “It was tough work for us to get our first win and we got it. I think the guys knew how much it meant to me and I knew how much it meant to them. I think we’re a pretty close team and I think we’ve gotten closer through adversity.”

Eric Reid presents Colin Kaepernick Ambassador of Conscience Award

Eric Reid presents Colin Kaepernick Ambassador of Conscience Award

AMSTERDAM — Amnesty International gave former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick its Ambassador of Conscience Award on Saturday for his kneeling protest of racial injustice that launched a sports movement and might have cost him his job.

Onetime San Francisco 49ers teammate Eric Reid presented Kaepernick with the award during a ceremony in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands.

In his acceptance speech, the award-winner described police killings of African Americans and Latinos in the United States as lawful lynchings.

"Racialized oppression and dehumanization is woven into the very fabric of our nation — the effects of which can be seen in the lawful lynching of black and brown people by the police, and the mass incarceration of black and brown lives in the prison industrial complex," Kaepernick said.

Kaepernick first took a knee during the pre-game playing of the American national anthem when he was with the 49ers in 2016 to protest police brutality.

"How can you stand for the national anthem of a nation that preaches and propagates, 'freedom and justice for all,' that is so unjust to so many of the people living there?" he said at Saturday's award ceremony.

Other players joined his protest in the 2016 season, drawing the ire of President Donald Trump, who called for team owners to fire such players.

In response to the player demonstrations, the NFL agreed to commit $90 million over the next seven years to social justice causes in a plan.

Kaepernick wasn't signed for the 2017 season following his release in San Francisco.

Reid, a safety who is now a free agent, continued Kaepernick's protests by kneeling during the anthem last season. Reid has said he will take a different approach in 2018.

Kaepernick paid tribute to his friend for his own role in the protest movement.

"Eric introducing me for this prestigious award brings me great joy," Kaepernick said. "But I am also pained by the fact that his taking a knee, and demonstrating courage to protect the rights of black and brown people in America, has also led to his ostracization from the NFL when he is widely recognized as one of the best competitors in the game and in the prime of his career."

Amnesty hands its award each year to a person or organization, "dedicated to fighting injustice and using their talents to inspire others."

Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty called Kaepernick "an athlete who is now widely recognized for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination."

Previous recipients of the award include anti-Apartheid campaigner and South African President Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who campaigned for girls' right to education even after surviving being shot by Taliban militants.

"In truth, this is an award that I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force," Kaepernick said.

Five NFL Draft options if 49ers make first-round trade

Five NFL Draft options if 49ers make first-round trade

The 49ers have their starting and backup quarterbacks on the roster for at least the next three seasons. That luxury opens up their draft options to concentrate on other areas.

Quarterbacks Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen could be selected within the first eight picks of the draft. If those four quarterbacks are chosen, it means the 49ers will get – at worst – the fifth-ranked player on their draft board.

And if there is still one of those quarterbacks available when the 49ers go on the clock at No. 9 overall, it invites the possibility of a trade-back option.

The 49ers could trade back and still get one of the five players – Tremaine Edmunds, Roquan Smith, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Harold Landry or Marcus Davenport – highlighted as first-round draft options.

But if the 49ers move further back or acquire an additional pick in the first round, here are some of their options...

OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
The 49ers must start thinking about a time when two new offensive tackles are going to be required. McGlinchey (6-8, 312) began his career at right tackle before shifting to the left side. That versatility could come in handy for the 49ers, as right tackle Trent Brown enters the final year of his contract and might not be back in 2019. Moreover, six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley is 34 years old, and it is uncertain how much longer he can play at a high level. McGlinchey has the athleticism that Shanahan covets. He began high school as a tight end and also played on the basketball team.

OT Kolton Miller, UCLA
Miller is an exceptional athlete who should get better and better. He ran the third-fastest time among offensive linemen at the combine and placed near the top of all the other agility drills. Miller started off his college career on the right side before shifting over to protect the blind side of quarterback Josh Rosen. With any offensive lineman the 49ers select, the club could consider having him begin his career at guard before moving him to tackle whenever the need arises.

CB Josh Jackson, Iowa
Jackson was among the 49ers’ final pre-draft visits to Santa Clara. The team needs another cornerback to join presumptive starters Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon. At 6-0 3/8, Jackson is not as tall as initially advertised, but his style of play and long arms would fit well within the 49ers’ scheme. He has great instincts, as shown by his nation-leading eight interceptions and 26 pass breakups.

WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
The consensus best wide receiver in the draft could provide Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan with another option in the passing game to join starters Pierre Garçon and Marquise Goodwin. Garçon is the possession receiver and Goodwin is the deep threat. Ridley is versatile and polished, which makes him a nice chess piece to utilize early in his career for specific matchups.

WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
It should be noted that the 49ers like their receiver corps, a group that also includes Trent Taylor, Aldrick Robinson and Kendrick Bourne. But Sutton (6-3, 219) would give the 49ers more size to exploit matchups. He gets high marks off the field. There is no rush to get him out there before he is ready. The 49ers can take their time to develop him, as they would have him under their control contractually for five seasons. He has spent time learning from Anquan Boldin.