49ers

49ers' D.J. Jones couldn't be happier with marriage of football, life

49ers' D.J. Jones couldn't be happier with marriage of football, life

SANTA CLARA -- The town of Scooba, Mississippi, with a population of 700, is a long way from -- and, at the same time, tantalizingly close to -- college football’s premier conference.

D.J. Jones found himself in the small town, home to East Mississippi Community College, after his grades in high school prevented him from going somewhere in the SEC or any other four-year school.

Jones said on The 49ers Insider Podcast that he was "110 percent" disappointed in himself that he ended up at the junior college that would later become the setting for the Netflix series “Last Chance U.”

However, while at East Mississippi, the school won the national championship and sent many star athletes into the NCAA Division I ranks.

But it certainly was not by choice that Jones ended up at a junior college.

“I felt like I let my entire city down,” Jones said of Greenville, South Carolina. “I felt like I let my parents down. And most of all, I let myself down. But as time went by, all the accolades started coming.”

Jones turned the negative into a positive, becoming one of the top prospects in the country and earning a scholarship to Ole Miss.

“It’s make or break,” Jones said. “Either you decide to step up and get on your academics, which was my issue, or you continue to do what you did and you go to the streets or end up in jail or you don’t amount to anything.

“I feel like junior college was the perfect place for me coming out of high school. It got me to where I am.”

The 49ers selected Jones in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Jones worked his way into the starting lineup late last season, and he has been a key component in the 49ers’ base defense this season as the starting nose tackle.

The 24-year-old was in the middle of two tackles at the goal line during the 49ers’ first-half defensive stand against the Los Angeles Rams in San Francisco's 20-7 win on Sunday. But, mostly, his job is to take care of business on the early downs and watch his teammates get after the quarterback in passing situations.

Jones said he believes the new attacking approach of defensive line coach Kris Kocurek has paid dividends for all of the team’s defensive linemen.

“It’s a show on third down, to be honest,” Jones said. “Dee Ford, (Nick) Bosa, Buck (DeForest Buckner) and (Arik) Armstead, they’re freaks of nature. Those four guys are scary coming at you, coming at the quarterback, collapsing the pocket the way they do.

“But I couldn’t be happier with the guys that we got and what we do on first down to get to third down.”

[RELATED: Shanahan not allowing 49ers to feel like they've arrived]

Jones also could not be happier with the meshing of football and his personal life.

Just hours before the 49ers’ game last week on "Monday Night Football," he proposed marriage to his girlfriend Kayla Fannin on the 49ers’ sideline in front of his family and her family. Jones said the idea to propose at Levi’s Stadium was a result of discussions with Austin Moss -- the 49ers’ director of player engagement -- and teammate Solomon Thomas.

“I’ve loved the football field from a young age,” Jones said. “I fell in love with the field. And I fell in love with her. So I felt like I had to do it right then and there.”

Jones said he could not drop a knee and propose before an ordinary Sunday game. Kayla's father is a pastor who has never missed a church service.

While the members of both families traveled to the Bay Area on the Saturday before the game, Jones’ future father-in-law flew in on Monday.

“We understood that he didn’t want to miss church,” Jones said. “I needed him to be here. I asked him for her hand a couple months ago. He said, ‘Yes,’ so I knew he had to be here. And he wanted to be here, so I’m glad he made it. I’m glad everybody kept it a secret.”

Why Jimmy Garoppolo sees 49ers' loss to Seahawks as 'reality check'

Why Jimmy Garoppolo sees 49ers' loss to Seahawks as 'reality check'

SANTA CLARA -- After the 49ers' heartbreaking 27-24 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was confident the offense didn't need a major overhaul to bounce back in Week 11.

Monday's loss at Levi's Stadium was Garoppolo's second-worst game of the season statistically. He completed just 24 of his 46 attempts for 248 yards, throwing one touchdown, one interception and posting a 66.2 passer rating. 

“I think I could throw the ball better, we could catch it better,” Garoppolo said Monday. “It’s a little bit of everything it’s not one specific thing that sticks out. It’s a bit of a reality check for us. We’ll go back and respond this week.”  

Players will never make injuries an excuse but Garoppolo lacked his top options Monday night. George Kittle, his No. 1 target, was inactive. Emmanuel Sanders, who had quickly become Garoppolo's second favorite pass-catcher, left the game in the first half with a rib injury.  

Coach Kyle Shanahan needed to make personnel adjustments during the game and had mixed results. While Deebo Samuel finished the night as the top receiver, catching eight of his 11 targets for 112 yards, Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis each failed to record a catch on three targets. 

“The receivers were battling,” Garoppolo said. “We had some injuries happen and people were being mixed and matched in different spots. But I thought overall those guys played well. We’ve just got to make plays when your number’s called.”

Shanahan credited the offense and his QB for making some good plays, but he said they were largely inconsistent. The 49ers trailed by 11 points headed into the fourth quarter, but Shanahan liked that his QB was not rattled facing his largest deficit of the season. 

“Jimmy doesn’t really change,” Shanahan said. “Jimmy is always the same, so there’s no difference there. I think like the whole offense, I thought he battled. I thought he battled very hard. Hung in the pocket for a while. I thought he made some big plays, but I know he made a number of plays he’d like to have back.”

Garoppolo already is looking forward to the week ahead to reduce the offense's mistakes going forward. The 49ers have a short turnaround, playing the Arizona Cardinals for the second time in three weeks Sunday. 

“It’s just about execution at the end of the day,” Garoppolo said. “It’s nothing crazy, just got to go do your job, execute and move on play after play and just do that throughout the entire game. We’ve been good at that, it just, we had a couple hiccups tonight. Just got to correct them and move on.”

[RELATED: McLaughlin tries to make sense of missed FG in 49ers' loss]

One thing that Garoppolo has no doubt about is that the 49ers will bounce back from their first loss of the season seamlessly. Most of the locker room has lived through two losing seasons under Shanahan, and the QB is confident his teammates will quickly shake off their disappointment.

“You go back and you watch the tape,” Garoppolo said. “You got to be critical on yourself. ‘What could we have done better? What caused this to happen?’ You’ve got to be hard on yourselves. I think we have a good group of guys in there with the right mindset who are going to come into work tomorrow and fight." 

49ers report card: Grades on offense, defense in 27-24 loss to Seahawks

49ers report card: Grades on offense, defense in 27-24 loss to Seahawks

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers, the last unbeaten team in the NFL, are unbeaten no longer.

The Seattle Seahawks came to town and emerged with a 27-24 overtime victory that took a physical toll on the 49ers while also providing another dose of anguish for the home fans at Levi’s Stadium.

The 49ers fall to 8-1 on the season, while the Seahawks are right back in the NFC West hunt with an 8-2 mark.

Here are the 49ers’ grades from their first loss of the season:

Rushing offense

Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert combined for 68 yards on 15 rushing attempts, but the 49ers managed only two first downs on the ground.

Matt Breida really struggled, as he was clearly bothered by an ankle injury before leaving the game in the second half. Breida managed just 18 yards on 10 carries. The 49ers were not able to open consistent holes on the ground, as Seattle made it a point to slow down the running game. The Seahawks' front seven won this battle quite decisively.

Grade: D-minus

Passing offense

The pass protection really struggled.

Jimmy Garoppolo really struggled.

The pass-catchers really struggled.

This was a bad night for this group all the way around. Offensive tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey were back in the lineup, and the Seattle pass rush feasted. Garoppolo lost two fumbles on sacks, including one that Jadeveon Clowney scooped up and returned for a touchdown.

The 49ers were playing without tight end George Kittle. No. 1 receiver Emmanuel Sanders went down in the first half with a rib injury. Deebo Samuel stepped up with eight receptions for 112 yards, but everyone else really struggled. Kendrick Bourne had a touchdown reception, but he had some costly dropped passes, too.

Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis had three passes thrown their way apiece. Neither caught a pass and both players had drops. They made zero contribution.

Garoppolo completed 24 of 46 passes for 248 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He should have had a few more interceptions, but Seattle’s defense let some easy opportunities slip away.

Grade: F

Rushing Defense

The 49ers run defense did a commendable job against Chris Carson, who gained 89 yards on 25 rushing attempts. The 49ers had to be happy with the effort to hold Carson to 3.6-yard per attempt.

Russell Wilson was the Seahawks’ most-effective runner, as he gained 53 yards on six scrambles. Those yards, though counting toward the rushing total, were on plays that started out as passes.

K’Waun Williams had a forced fumble of running back Rashaad Penny that DeForest Buckner recovered in the third quarter.

Grade: B

Passing Defense

The 49ers did a good job against Wilson, who completed 24 of 34 passes for 232 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Linebacker Dre Greenlaw had what looked like a huge interception in overtime, along with a 47-yard return. However, the 49ers failed to cash in.

The 49ers' pass-rush got after Wilson, sacking him five times for minus-43 yards. Fred Warner had two sacks. Arik Armstead had 1.5 sacks, while D.J. Jones added a sack and K’Waun Williams came up with a half-sack.

The 49ers got back into the game in the fourth quarter when DeForest Buckner had a 12-yard fumble return for a touchdown after Armstead and Williams teamed up for a sack.

Jaquiski Tartt saved a touchdown in the first half when he stripped DK Metcalf of the ball near the goal line.

Grade: A-minus

Special Teams

Rookie kicker Chase McLaughlin was in line to be the star of the game after making a pressure kick at the end of regulation to send it to overtime. But when he had a chance to win it in the extra session, his kick sailed so far to the left that it ended up in the tunnel in the corner of the end zone.

Mitch Wishnowsky averaged 46.4 yards on his five punts, but he had one touchback and Tyler Lockett had a 20-yard return to leave him with a net average of 37.6 yards.

Richie James did not get much going in the return game.

Grade: C-minus

[RELATED: McLaughlin tries to make sense of missed FG]

Overall

First, it looked as if the 49ers were going to win a blowout. Then, it looked as if Seattle would pull away. It was a back-and-forth encounter that ended with Seattle taking home the victory in overtime.

The 49ers made so many mistakes. And the Seahawks let them off the hook with their failure to capitalize on many other potential mistakes. The 49ers’ defense gave the 49ers a chance to win, but the offense was mostly a disaster.

Grade: D