49ers relying on Kendrick Bourne to step up vs. Buccaneers in Week 12

49ers relying on Kendrick Bourne to step up vs. Buccaneers in Week 12

TAMPA, Fla., — The pressure is on 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne to step up in place of Pierre Garçon and Marquise Goodwin this weekend. 

Garçon was ruled out for Sunday's matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while Goodwin is doubtful to play because of a personal matter.

Bourne has been the go-to stand-in at every receiver spot this season. Goodwin, Trent Taylor, Dante Pettis and Garçon all sat out games with injuries, and Bourne was the one to take their place, no matter the role. 

After a slow start to his rookie year, and a heart-to-heart talk with 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan about keeping his focus, Bourne improved his game. He has continued to progress in his sophomore season -- not only in his stats but in learning the different receiver roles of the offense. 

In 2017, Bourne caught 16 of his 34 targets for 257 yards -- a 47.1 percent catch rate. He held on to 23 of his 37 targets for 230 yards through the first 10 games this season, giving him a 62.2 percent rate. Three of those receptions were touchdowns.

Following the 49ers' loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 4, Shanahan praised Bourne’s efforts in taking over for Pettis, who was injured early in the first quarter.

“It’s a challenge for any receiver to be moved around a ton in games,” Shanahan said then. ”It does put a lot of pressure on them, so you would always like to make it easier for guys. 

“But I was very impressed with him last week for stepping up and doing that when he wasn’t preparing all week to do that. So, he showed he had the ability to do that last week, and if need be this week, he’s definitely more prepared for it. I expect him to do the same, if not better.”

Eight weeks later, Shanahan discussed Bourne’s continued progress.

"I thought it took a little bit for KB to come on last year,” Shanahan said. “I thought he finished the second half of the season very well. I don’t think he’s taken a step back. 

“He’s gotten more opportunities this year through injuries, just like he did last year. When he has gotten those opportunities, he’s taken advantage of them. I think he’s going in the right direction. I’ve been happy with KB.”

[RELATED: Four 49ers players to watch Sunday vs. Bucs]
Bourne spent his college career under the radar at Eastern Washington University, with then-teammate and current Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp holding the spotlight. Over three seasons, Bourne caught 132 passes for 1,929 yards and 20 touchdowns. 

Being a reliable target in the red zone, where the 49ers' offense has struggled, is an important part of Bourne’s game.

“He’s got some size to him, but he’s got hands,” Shanahan said. “I think down there, people talk about size being a huge advantage down there because places are smaller, or the windows are smaller, but it’s not just height. It’s strength and having the hand-eye [coordination] to attack the ball. 

“You just need a little bit of separation. You’ve got to be able to get your feet under you and be balanced. He’s got size down there, he’s got aggressive hands and he’s not afraid to get hit.”

Ravens' John Harbaugh reacts to 49ers' Tim Ryan's Lamar Jackson remarks


Ravens' John Harbaugh reacts to 49ers' Tim Ryan's Lamar Jackson remarks

49ers broadcaster Tim Ryan was suspended for one game after comments made about Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson following Sunday’s loss.

“He’s really good at that fake, Lamar Jackson, but when you consider his dark skin color with the dark football with a dark uniform, you could not see the thing,” Ryan said on the show (H/T The San Francisco Chronicle).

The comments created a social media firestorm, but Ravens head coach John Harbaugh isn’t interested in furthering the controversy.

“I don’t really know too much about it or understand the context of it. It’s not relevant to what we’re trying to accomplish right now,” Harbaugh said, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com.

[RELATED: 49ers' Harris to start at strong safety for injured Tartt]

Former 49ers defensive end Dennis Brown will replace Ryan on Sunday’s broadcast in New Orleans.

49ers injury report: Marcell Harris to start in place of Jaquiski Tartt

49ers injury report: Marcell Harris to start in place of Jaquiski Tartt

BRADENTON, Fla. – Marcell Harris on Sunday will be back where he ended his rookie season with the 49ers.

Harris will take over as the 49ers’ starter at strong safety with Jaquiski Tartt out for at least one game after sustaining cracked ribs in the team’s 20-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 13.

Tartt and backup defensive tackle Jullian Taylor (elbow) have been ruled out for the 49ers’ game Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

Two of the 49ers’ seldom-used wide receivers, Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis, are listed as questionable, along with left tackle Joe Staley. Goodwin has knee and foot issues, according to the team, while Pettis has already missed one game with a knee injury.

Staley has missed three games after surgery to repair a fractured and dislocated finger. He is expected to play Sunday.

All other 49ers players, including Dee Ford and Richard Sherman, will be available for Sunday’s game.

Harris started the final five games of his rookie season after being a sixth-round draft pick from Florida in 2018. He did not earn a spot on the team’s 53-man roster at the beginning of this season. Harris was promoted from the practice squad in October and has appeared in nine games this season.

“I’m real happy for Marcell,” coach Kyle Shanahan said on "49ers Game Plan," which airs Saturday at 7 p.m. on NBC Bay Area (Ch. 3). “He’s gone come a long way, in that he was a very good college player, tore his Achilles his senior year, which really hurt him. That’s why we were able to get him in the draft. It affected him his whole rookie year.

"He’s been able to string together about eight months where he has been healthy, and when you’re made of the right stuff, you have the talent and you can stay healthy, you usually just need the time.”

Harris took over for Tartt on Sunday and made one of the top plays in the game when he took the ball away from Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson on a running play to create a turnover.

[RELATED: Sanders has been valuable resource for 49ers' young WRs]

49ers injury report

S Jaquiski Tartt (ribs)
DT Jullian Taylor (elbow)

WR Marquise Goodwin (knee, foot)
WR Dante Pettis (knee)
T Joe Staley (finger)