49ers

49ers' Dee Ford could miss a couple games, coach Kyle Shanahan says

49ers' Dee Ford could miss a couple games, coach Kyle Shanahan says

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers could be down another edge rusher on Sunday night, as it appears defensive end Dee Ford is unlikely to play against the Green Bay Packers.

Ford sustained a right hamstring strain on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals while throwing Kyler Murray for a 5-yard sack in the second quarter of the 49ers’ 36-26 victory at Levi’s Stadium. Ford ranks third on the team with 6.5 sacks.

“Any time you have a hamstring strain, there is concern it could be a couple of weeks,” coach Kyle Shanahan said on Monday.

The 49ers hope to get tight end George Kittle back on the field after missing two games with undisclosed knee and ankle issues. Shanahan declined to identify the nature of Kittle’s injuries.

“I know it was enough to keep most people out for some time, which is has for George,” Shanahan said. “He’s missed two games now, and I know it will go down to the wire again this week. But hoping this week will be different.”

The 49ers (9-1) have a huge NFC matchup on Sunday night against the Packers (8-2). The 49ers lead the race in the NFC West, as well as home-field advantage in the playoffs. The Seattle Seahawks (8-2) are one game behind the 49ers for the division lead. The New Orleans Saints (8-2) are also in the mix for home-field advantage.

Shanahan said running back Matt Breida (ankle) and kicker Robbie Gould (right quadriceps) are uncertain for participation in practice on Wednesday due to their injuries. Gould has missed two games, while Breida sat out Sunday’s game.

[RELATED: Why Bosa believes Cardinals made right call with Kyler]

Wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) and Deebo Samuel (shoulder) played Sunday but are uncertain for practice participation on Wednesday. Their availability will be determined later in the week.

Nose tackle D.J. Jones (groin) and left tackle Joe Staley (finger) are not expected to be available this week due to their injuries.

 

Saints' Sean Payton snaps over failed two-point conversion vs. 49ers

Saints' Sean Payton snaps over failed two-point conversion vs. 49ers

Saints coach Sean Payton wasn't in a mood to be second-guessed following his team's last-minute Week 14 loss to the 49ers.

San Francisco ultimately won the thrilling back-and-forth matchup by two measly points -- a game in which New Orleans attempted two two-point conversions.

Both failed.

After Tre'Quan Smith scored on an 18-yard touchdown pass to give New Orleans a 46-45 lead with 53 seconds remaining, quarterback Drew Brees went back to the same well for the two-point conversion attempt, but the pass intended fell incomplete. On the ensuing possession, 49ers tight end George Kittle caught a 39-yard reception on fourth-and-2, eventually setting up a game-winning Robbie Gould 30-yard field goal as time expired.

But after the tough loss, it was the former two-point try, not the latter, that Payton was questioned about -- while shopping for groceries, no less.

"I certainly understand the fans asking questions," Payton said Thursday on his weekly WWL Radio show. "I got the guy at frickin' Whole Foods asking me about the two-point play. I looked at him, the guy in the meat section, and I said, 'Hey, your steaks don't look too good right now. Worry about your frickin' meat.' "

Oh man. What's the over/under on how many "Worry about your frickin' meat" shirts will be at the Superdome when the Saints host the Colts on Monday night?

The play in question occurred midway through the first quarter, after Saints tight end Jared Cook hauled in his second touchdown reception of the contest. The 49ers were assessed a personal foul on the play, and rather than take the yardage on the kickoff, Payton couldn't pass up being so close to the goal line.

On the two-point try, Brees handed the ball off to a motioning Taysom Hill, who promptly was stuffed by multiple San Francisco defenders well short of the end zone. 

"I didn't feel like kicking a touchback, thought about kicking an onside kick," Payton explained. "So on the 1-yard line, I think we're gonna get two points. And then we get the defense misaligned -- obviously it doesn't have any success. And then the game ends, and, 'Why were you going for two?' Because I wanted to. We were on the 1-yard line."

Misaligned, huh? Payton was correct in stating that the 49ers were in an atypical alignment with two safeties on the same side of the field, but according to San Francisco defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, that was intentional.

"We knew it was coming," Saleh said Thursday in response to Payton's claim that one of the safeties accidentally lined up on the wrong side. "I’m not going to say he wasn’t on the right side because of the way we execute certain things and all our different goal-line packages that we have, but that play was a gimme one to me with Taysom Hill where he was aligned. That was a layup in my opinion."

[RELATED: 49ers severely battered, bruised with three regular-season games to go]

The tape sure seems to suggest the 49ers knew what was coming:

The Saints hung 46 points on the 49ers, so clearly, not many of Payton's play-calls were of the layup variety. But the first two-point attempt?

You might say he butchered that one.

George Kittle's strong run-blocking skills for 49ers proved by stat

George Kittle's strong run-blocking skills for 49ers proved by stat

"George Kittle, not really a blocker ... "

We didn't say this, but FS1's Doug Gottlieb sure did. And Gottlieb certainly heard the comments from everyone online essentially saying he didn't know what he was talking about.

But if you still need numbers to back up the 49ers tight end's elite blocking skills, Next Gen Stats has you covered: 

Kittle certainly has a presence -- both in the run and the pass game -- and the numbers show that. 

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has praised Kittle's run-blocking game before, which only adds to the evidence proving sometimes, it's best to watch Kittle continue in his greatness -- no comments necessary.

[RELATED: Kittle was key success in run game vs. Ravens]

To add to it, Gottlieb's comments came after the 49ers' Week 13 20-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, one where the tight end received an overall 72.9 grade from Pro Football Focus and a 78.1 run-blocking grade.

That was Kittle's best run-blocking grade of the season to that point.