49ers

49ers' new-attitude defense shows out vs. Bengals, holds key to wins

49ers' new-attitude defense shows out vs. Bengals, holds key to wins

CINCINNATI — The 49ers' defense was overshadowed by an offense that put 41 points and 572 yards on the board against the Bengals, but it still had a Sunday not to forget.

San Francisco held Cincinnati to 316 yards in total offense, including a shockingly low 25 on the ground. Another 66 yards of that total came on the Bengals' final offensive play -- a garbage-time touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to John Ross. Take that away, and the Bengals' total offensive output was 250 yards as the 49ers rolled 41-17 at Paul Brown Stadium.

That one week after the 49ers held the Buccaneers to 17 points and 295 total yards in a season-opening road win.

Ronald Blair, Solomon Thomas, Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner all recorded quarterback sacks Sunday, and linebacker Kwon Alexander logged his first interception as a 49er and the seventh of his NFL career. The defense also racked up eight pass break-ups, with Alexander responsible for three, Ahkello Witherspoon and D.J. Reed for two apiece, and Jullian Taylor for one.

The 49ers' new attitude on defense is noticeable, and much of the credit for that goes to Alexander and defensive end Dee Ford being added to the lineup and, of course, veteran cornerback Richard Sherman's presence.

Jimmy Garoppolo explained how unique the group is and how Alexander really has changed the mood.

"Yeah, Kwon's awesome, man," the 49ers quarterback said. "He really is. The defense as a whole, it’s a different attitude, and I’ve never been around a defense like that. When I turn the ball over and they hold them to a field goal and miss it, it just gives you so much more confidence in those guys. They played their asses off, and it’s incredible."

Alexander could be considered an instigator of sorts. He's always seen on the sideline with a lot of energy, and if any trash talk is happening on the field, you'd best believe that he's involved. He also takes full responsibility for second-year pro Fred Warner's vocal emergence this season.

[RELATED: Grading 49ers' offense, defense in rout of Bengals]

Alexander believes motivation is cyclical, with all phases of the game keeping the energy high for each other. He thrives off it.

"Everybody buying in, doing what they got to do," Alexander said. "Offense doing what they got to do running the ball, D going out there making plays and turnovers ...

"Everybody was just feeding off each other, and once you do that, once you get a team feeding off each other and playing fast, you’re going to win a lot of games."

So, while the offense had a better showing Sunday, the defense is what could keep the 2-0 49ers' upward trajectory on course. Not only is the unit capable of helping pull out a win when the offense struggles, but the defense can alleviate pressure on Jimmy G and Co. to perform.

Joe Montana statue at Levi's Stadium defaced after 49ers-Seahawks game

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Joe Montana statue at Levi's Stadium defaced after 49ers-Seahawks game

SANTA CLARA – The statue of legendary 49ers quarterback Joe Montana outside Levi’s Stadium was vandalized on Monday night following San Francisco's 27-24 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks, according to authorities.

Jorge Alberto Lopez of Santa Clara was booked into Santa Clara County Jail on a charge of felony vandalism, Santa Clara Police announced in a press release.

According to the report, a security officer at Levi’s Stadium witnessed Lopez grab the facemask of the statue and pull it off. The suspect was arrested at 9:50 p.m. on Monday.

The 49ers released the following statement on Wednesday:

“The Joe Montana statue that is part of the ‘The Catch’ art installation located inside the stadium’s Gate A plaza was vandalized following our recent Monday Night Football game. Security personnel apprehended the individual soon thereafter and the Santa Clara Police Department arrested the individual on felony vandalism charges. Crews have already begun repairs on the statue and expect work to be complete prior to Sunday’s home game. As this is an ongoing police matter, we will not have any additional comment.”

[RELATED: Bosa lost for first time in two years in 49ers' MNF defeat]

The statue of Montana was dedicated last October and is accompanied by a statue of Dwight Clark making the leaping catch in the 1981 NFC Championship Game that lifted the 49ers to their first Super Bowl. The statue has since been repaired.

49ers' Nick Bosa suffered first loss in over two years vs. Seahawks

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49ers' Nick Bosa suffered first loss in over two years vs. Seahawks

49ers rookie sensation Nick Bosa experienced something Monday night that the 22-year-old hasn’t faced in over two years.

He lost a game.

That’s right, the defensive end hadn’t suffered defeat prior to San Francisco's loss to the Seahawks on Monday night since his sophomore season at Ohio State.

That game was especially rough for Bosa, as he was ejected in the second quarter after a pretty blatant targeting penalty for a hit on Iowa's quarterback.

Bosa’s Buckeyes won the first three games of 2018 before he injured his knee and missed the final 11 games of his collegiate career.

[RELATED: 49ers clarify Kittle not officially ruled out vs. Cardinals]

The 49ers hope to restart Bosa’s winning streak Sunday when they take on the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium.