49ers' Dante Pettis redeems himself with game-winning TD vs. Steelers

49ers' Dante Pettis redeems himself with game-winning TD vs. Steelers

SANTA CLARA -- Wide receiver Dante Pettis worked his way back into the good graces of 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan during practices the past two weeks.

And if there was still any question about his status with the coaching staff, Pettis’ touchdown catch in traffic on Sunday made it official. His clutch grab provided Shanahan with one of his more emotional and fulfilling victories.

“I really wasn’t thinking anything,” Pettis said following the 49ers' 24-20 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. “When you’re in that moment, you just lock into the play, try to focus on the ball -- and that’s about it.”

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo looked for Pettis and showed confidence in threading the ball between two defenders for a 5-yard touchdown pass with 1:20 remaining in the fourth quarter for the winning points at Levi’s Stadium.

Said Garoppolo, "Dante is phenomenal in practice. I know you guys aren't seeing all that but he battles his ass off in practice. He has a great mindset of just when his number is called, he's ready. So you got to appreciate a guy like that. It's just having all that competitiveness and everything. You love to see that as a quarterback because you can trust that guy."

“He’s just gotten better each week,” Shanahan said, as the 49ers improved to 3-0 for the first time since 1998.

“We all know how he finished last year. He had a few bumps in the road throughout training camp. It’s been well-documented and talked about. I’ve been extremely impressed with how he responded since the first week of the season. He’s taken the challenge, been working as hard as anyone on the team.”

Shanahan said Pettis had a good week of practice in Youngstown, Ohio, before the Week 2 game at Cincinnati. But Pettis was held without a reception against the Bengals. On Sunday, he caught four passes for 20 yards against Pittsburgh, but also had a catchable pass deflect off his hands for a first-half interception.

When the 49ers needed a touchdown to avoid what could have been a disheartening, brutal loss, Shanahan and Garoppolo dialed Pettis’ number.

“It was good,” Pettis said. “There have obviously been a bunch of ups and downs. I know that’s part of sports. I’ve been around professional sports my whole life. I know what happens. You’re not just going to frickin’ be good every single day.

“Just being able to fight through that ... now I know what it’s like to go through that, it’s like, I know I can really do this thing. I know I’m here for a reason.”

Pettis, the son of former major league baseball player Gary Pettis, finished his rookie season strong and appeared to be a lock to be a starting wide receiver this season. But Pettis struggled in training camp this summer, and played just two snaps in the team’s Week 1 win at Tampa Bay.

Pettis, whose lack of urgency and aggression appeared to leave Shanahan frustrated, made the play to secure the contested pass and enabled the 49ers to pull off the emotional victory against the Steelers.

“It’s huge,” 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk said. “For Jimmy, for Kyle, to have that confidence to go to him when the game’s on the line, means everything. And for him to come up with it -- and that was not an easy catch. There were guys all over him, but (I’m) extremely proud of the way he responded. I didn’t want to stop celebrating with him out there.”

Garoppolo showed no hesitancy in going back to Pettis and trusting him to make the play that would rescue the 49ers’ offense from a five-giveaway day.

“It’s not really surprising to me that he threw it to me,” Pettis said. “It’s just Jimmy, he’s going to make a good decision and throw the ball where it needs to go. And he just made a good throw right there.”

[RELATED: Watch Jimmy G's game-winning TD pass to Pettis vs. Steelers]

The play -- and the support he received from his teammates -- clearly meant a lot to Pettis, a second-round draft pick in 2018.

“I think we have a pretty special team,” he said. “Everybody has each other’s back. When someone’s down a little bit, people are going to let them know, ‘Hey, we’re behind you. We know what you can do.' I never felt like anybody was looking at me like, 'this guy needs to step it up' or whatever.”

49ers-Cardinals odds, predictions: Betting lines, picks for NFL Week 11 game


49ers-Cardinals odds, predictions: Betting lines, picks for NFL Week 11 game

Everything hasn't been coming up roses for the 49ers in the last week thanks to some injuries and an overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

The team will face the Cardinals for the second time in three weeks in Week 11. After failing to sack Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray in the first meeting, Nick Bosa will try to do better the second time around.

Murray has been sacked 31 times, which ranks as the third-most in the league. San Francisco, on the other hand, ranks second in the NFL in total sacks (35) and yards allowed per game (251.6).

Here is how NFL writers across the league see the 49ers-Cardinals game shaking out:


Caesars: SF -480
Consensus: SF -500
Westgate: SF -550
Wynn: SF -550

[RELATED: How to watch 49ers-Cardinals Week 11 game online, on TV]


Josh Weinfuss, ESPN: 49ers 31, Cardinals 20
Nick Wagoner, ESPN: 49ers 27, Cardinals 17
Michael David Smith, PFT: 49ers 16, Cardinals 13
Michael Florio, PFT: 49ers 34, Cardinals 21

Colin Kaepernick calls out Roger Goodell, NFL owners following workout


Colin Kaepernick calls out Roger Goodell, NFL owners following workout

First, Colin Kaepernick sent a message with his arm. Then he sent one with his words.

"I've been ready for three years, and I've been denied for three years," Kaepernick told the media following his NFL workout in Atlanta on Saturday. "We all know why I came out here and showed it today in front of everybody -- we have nothing to hide. So we're waiting for the 32 owners, the 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them to stop running. Stop running from the truth, stop running from the people. 

"Around here, we're ready to play. We're ready to go anywhere. My agent Jeff Nalley is ready to talk to any team. I'll interview with any team at any time. I've been ready, I'm staying ready and I'll continue to be ready."

By most accounts, Kaepernick was thoroughly impressive in his workout, showcasing the arm strength that once made him perhaps the most feared quarterback in the league. The workout originally was supposed to be held at the Falcons practice facility and closed to the media, but Kaepernick and his representatives changed the location to ensure transparency.

"Our biggest thing with everything today was making sure we had transparency in what went on," Kaepernick said. "We weren't getting that elsewhere, so we came out here."

"It's important that y'all are here," he said to the media in attendance. "Y'all been attacked for the last three years. Y'all continue to be attacked. We appreciate what y'all do. We appreciate you being here today. We appreciate the work you do for the people and telling the truth. That's what we want in everything."

All Kaepernick has ever wanted is a fair opportunity. We can debate whether or not what took place Saturday was indeed "fair", but clearly, he feels he proved enough with his performance. Now we wait and see if the NFL's intentions were at all genuine, or if the workout simply was a thinly-veiled PR move.

[RELATED: Five best team fits for Colin Kaepernick]

"We'll continue to give you updates as we hear," Kaepernick said in closing. "We'll be waiting to hear from Roger Goodell, the NFL, the 32 teams ... we'll let you know if we hear from them.

"Ball's in their court, we're ready to go."