49ers notes: Mike McGlinchey accepts challenge in middle of debut

49ers notes: Mike McGlinchey accepts challenge in middle of debut

49ers rookie offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey had a notable NFL debut on Sunday when he was asked to do something he never did during his career at Notre Dame.

After starting and playing the first 34 snaps of his first professional game at right tackle, McGlinchey was forced to move to right guard for the final 32 offensive plays in the 49ers’ 24-16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. McGlinchey never played a snap at guard in college.

When right guard Mike Person and his replacement, Joshua Garnett, both sustained foot injuries, the 49ers had few options. Veteran tackle Garry Gilliam entered the game, and the 49ers had a decision to make. Gilliam had not practice much in the past month due to a concussion.

“Especially in the first game, you don’t want to do that,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “Once it happened, though, you got to decide which way to go. We thought he’d be better in there at guard, just since he’s been practicing the last month, where Gilliam just got in here the last week.

“My hat’s off to him. He didn’t hesitate. He was excited about the challenge and went in there and did his best. I was definitely happy that he was willing to do that.”

McGlinchey said 49ers offensive line coach John Benton asked him, “McGlinch, you want to play guard?”

McGlinchey said, “Sure.”

McGlinchey slid down one spot to line up next to center Weston Richburg. McGlinchey had not taken any snaps at guard since his arrival with the 49ers as the No. 9 overall pick in the draft.

“I told Weston, ‘You’re going to have to help me out a little bit,' and he did, so we made it work," McGlinchey said.

Morris fumble explained

Running back Alfred Morris claimed neither Linval Joseph or Harrison Smith made much of a play on his costly second quarter fumble at the goal line. The Vikings’ best defender on that play, according to Morris, was perspiration.

Morris said he was surprised by the humidity inside U.S. Bank Stadium. He said his fumble was a result of having wet arms.

"My arms were super sweaty,” Morris said. “The ball was already coming out."

On a second-and-goal play from the 1-yard line, Joseph was credited with causing the fumble and Harrison recovered. The 49ers were looking to tie the game at 10-10 at the time.

This ‘n’ that

Linebacker Brock Coyle was diagnosed with a concussion. He must pass through the NFL’s return-to-play protocol to be cleared for the 49ers’ game Sunday against the Detroit Lions. . . Garnett, who was carted off the field with a foot injury on the second play of the third quarter, said he felt his injury was not serious. “I’m going to be fine,” Garnett said. “I’m a warrior. I’ll be back out there.” . . . Richard Sherman recovered a fumble in the second quarter and hand-delivered the ball to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Sherman said he told Garoppolo the defense would get the ball back to him, so he literally gave the ball to him. . . Second-year defensive lineman Solomon Thomas made a major blunder with 2:54 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Vikings facing a fourth-and-1 situation. Minnesota was letting the play clock wind down with no intention of snapping the ball. But Thomas jumped offside on Kirk Cousins’ hard count. With the new set of downs, the Vikings ran an additional minute off the clock. “I think he knows,” Shanahan said. “I can sit there and yell as loud as I want at him, but I think he knows. I think everyone in the world knows that.”

Aside from Jimmy G injury, 49ers' loss to Packers is worst 2018 moment


Aside from Jimmy G injury, 49ers' loss to Packers is worst 2018 moment

Editor’s note: The 49ers break for the bye week with a 2-8 record. This is part of a series that recaps the first 10 games with an eye to the future. In this installment, we look at the team's worst moment after 10 weeks. 

With the 49ers holding on to just two wins thus far, there are quite a few choices for the worst moment of the 2018 season. The obvious choices, of course, are losing Jerick McKinnon and Jimmy Garoppolo to season-ending ACL injuries. 

Looking at actual football plays, one moment led to a proverbial stake being driven into the hearts of 49ers players and fans alike.

With 1:13 left on the game clock at Lambeau Field in Week 6, 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard threw a deep pass intended for Marquise Goodwin down the middle of the field. A similar play earlier had successfully produced a 49ers touchdown in the second quarter.

This time, the outcome was markedly different. Packers cornerback Kevin King intercepted the ball, and Green Bay took over at its own 10-yard line. 

Aaron Rodgers then used the remaining 1:07 of the game to drive the Packers nearly the length of the field to set up kicker Mason Crosby for the game-winning field goal. The 49ers left Green Bay with their fourth loss of the season.

[RELATED: 49ers' best moment of the 2018 season involves George Kittle]

There are three other honorable mentions of heart-breaking 49ers moments:

-- In Week 4 against the Chargers, the 49ers had a chance to regain the lead in the fourth quarter after they led 14-0 earlier in the game. With 2:38 left on the clock, Beathard threw a short pass intended for Alfred Morris, but Chargers defensive end Isaac Rochell picked off the throw, and the 49ers subsequently lost 29-27.

-- Week 8 provoked similar feelings when Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen threw to five different receivers in his TD drive to put Arizona ahead 16-15 late in the fourth quarter. The ensuing two-point conversion to Larry Fitzgerald took the wind out of the 49ers' sails, but their last offensive play of the game was the most heart-dropping.

With seven seconds left on the clock, the 49ers were at Arizona’s 45-yard line. Center Erik Magnuson, who was in for Weston Richburg, fumbled the snap and lost any chance the 49ers had of tying the score.

-- Eli Manning’s game-winning touchdown drive in Week 10 with the 2:46 left on the game clock put the Giants ahead 27-23. The 49ers got the ball back with 53 seconds left in the game but couldn’t produce, and suffered their eighth loss of the season.

George Kittle 82-yard catch-and-run TD is 49ers' play of 2018 thus far


George Kittle 82-yard catch-and-run TD is 49ers' play of 2018 thus far

Editor’s note: The 49ers break for the bye week with a 2-8 record. This is part of a series that recaps the first 10 games with an eye to the future. In this installment, we look at the best moment from the first 10 weeks.

The 49ers have just two wins, so it could be argued their best moments so far this season have come when the game clock hit 0:00 at the end of those two games.

But if you're really taking only one singular moment, there’s no comparison as to which to chose.

It happened in Week 4, with a little less than three minutes left on the clock in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers. That's when 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard found tight end George Kittle wide open 20 yards downfield with a pass. Kittle did the rest, running 60 yards diagonally to the left edge of the end zone for a touchdown.

It still stands as the 49ers' longest pass play of 2018. It also was the longest play in the NFL this season until Cleveland Browns rookie running back Nick Chubb ripped off a 92-yard run in Week 10.

Beathard and Kittle’s incredible play marked the first time the Iowa stars had connected for a touchdown in their football careers. They have played together since they were freshmen for the Hawkeyes.

After the game, Kittle explained the 49ers had been working on the play for a while. He was just waiting for it to be called.

“Safeties playing on the opposite hash, the guy drops me because he thinks I’m running vertical, C.J. finds me," Kittle said, "and [I] got a good cut on the safety. He kind of stumbled, and just got a run from there.”

While the game didn’t end how the 49ers wanted -- the Chargers won 29-27 -- Kittle explained the play did give them momentum toward a comeback after trailing by nine points. It gave the fans hope, too.

“After I caught my breath, yes. I was ready," Kittle said. "The defense got a three-and-out, and we got a field goal the next time to put us in the lead. I was pretty excited about that.”

Kittle has enjoyed an extremely productive season, with 50 catches for 775 yards, putting him on pace to break 1,200 yards for the season. His 15.5 yards per reception ranks third among NFL tight ends behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' O.J. Howard (16.8) and the Pittsburgh Steelers' Jesse James (15.6). It also lands Kittle 18th among wide receivers and tight ends combined.