49ers snap count: Emmanuel Moseley replaces Ahkello Witherspoon late

49ers snap count: Emmanuel Moseley replaces Ahkello Witherspoon late

The 49ers’ defense faced their biggest challenge of the season. And with the team in need of a stop, the coaching staff decided it was time to get cornerback Emmanuel Moseley on the field in place of Ahkello Witherspoon.

“Just a gut feeling,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said about the decision to go with Moseley with the NFC West title on the line.

Witherspoon started and played 59 snaps at right cornerback in the 49ers’ critical Sunday night game against the Seattle Seahawks. Moseley made a play in the final minute to help the 49ers preserve a 26-21 victory, clinching home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson completely ignored Richard Sherman’s side of the field the entire game and went after Witherspoon, who was coming off a rough game against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 16.

Shanahan and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh expressed confidence last week in Witherspoon’s ability to turn it around. But it got to the point late in the second half that the 49ers felt the best shot they had to win the game was with Moseley on the field.

Witherspoon gave up six receptions (on eight targets) for 71 yards, including touchdown receptions to Tyler Lockett (14 yards) and D.K. Metcalf (14 yards). Wilson’s scoring pass to Metcalf cut the 49ers’ lead to 26-21 with 3:36 remaining.

That’s when the 49ers turned to Moseley.

“Ahkello has played some good ball this year, so has Moseley,” Shanahan said. “Just at the end there when you know I don’t get to see it all, but want to give E-Man a chance. You know they were coming at him a couple times and I did not think Ahkello played a bad game by any means.”

Wilson went after Moseley on the final drive, completing two of the five passes thrown his way for 34 yards. Moseley made one of the best defensive plays of the game with a diving pass-breakup to prevent a potential 12-yard touchdown pass to Metcalf with 51 seconds remaining in the game.

The 49ers have some time to figure out what they want to do at cornerback, but it appears likely Moseley will get the call when the club opens the playoffs with an NFC divisional-round game at Levi’s Stadium on Saturday, Jan. 11.

Shanahan said immediately following the game he would watch the game film on the trip back to the Bay Area to help him form his opinion of Witherspoon’s overall performance.

“I’ll see it on the plane but I thought they just got him in a couple opportunities and came up short in both of those,” Shanahan said. “Wanted to throw another guy in there and see how it went, and I’ll see on the plane when I watch the film.

“But nothing against Ahkello going forward, but we put two guys out there who believe in. We switched it up there at the end.”

[RELATED49ers report card: Grades on offense, defense in 26-21 win over Seahawks]

Moseley started nine games, beginning Week 5 against Green Bay after Witherspoon missed two months due to a foot sprain.

Here is a look at how much everyone on the 49ers played Sunday on offense, defense, and special teams:


Total offensive snaps: 50
Quarterback – Jimmy Garoppolo 50
Running back – Kyle Juszczyk 34, Raheem Mostert 27, Tevin Coleman 15, Matt Breida 8
Wide receiver – Emmanuel Sanders 46, Deebo Samuel 39, Kendrick Bourne 10, Richie James 4
Tight end – George Kittle 47, Levine Toilolo 15, Ross Dwelley 5
Offensive line – Daniel Brunskill 50, Mike McGlinchey 50, Laken Tomlinson 50, Ben Garland 50, Joe Staley 50
Did not play – QB Nick Mullens, WR Dante Pettis, OL Mike Person


Total defensive snaps: 75
Defensive line – DeForest Buckner 65, Nick Bosa 64, Arik Armstead 63, Sheldon Day 30, Solomon Thomas 30, Anthony Zettel 29, Kevin Givens 10, Kentavius Street 8
Linebacker – Fred Warner 75, Dre Greenlaw 74, Azeez Al-Shaair 18, Mark Nzeocha 1
Defensive back – Marcell Harris 75, Richard Sherman 74, Jimmie Ward 73, Ahkello Witherspoon 59, K’Waun Williams 56, Emmanuel Moseley 15, Tarvarius Moore 6

Special teams

Total special teams plays: 22
Moore 18, Elijah Lee 17, Nzeocha 17, Moseley 16, James 13, Mitch Wishnowsky 12, Antone Exum 11, Ward 10, Mostert 9, Breida 9, Dwelley 8, Buckner 8, Armstead 8, Al-Shaair 8, D.J. Reed 7, Kyle Nelson 6, Harris 6, Toilolo 5, Bourne 5, Thomas 5, Robbie Gould 4, Justin Skule 4, Staley 4, Garland 4, Brunskill 4, McGlinchey 4, Tomlinson 4, Juszczyk 3, Day 3, Coleman 2, Warner 2, Greenlaw 2, Kittle 1, Bosa 1, Williams 1, Zettel 1

Not active

QB C.J. Beathard
S Jaquiski Tartt (ribs)
RB Jeff Wilson
CB Dontae Johnson
TE Daniel Helm
DE Dee Ford (hamstring)
WR Jordan Matthews

NFL rumors: Rams trade Brandin Cooks to Texans for second-round pick

NFL rumors: Rams trade Brandin Cooks to Texans for second-round pick

The Los Angeles Rams' rebuild continues.

After releasing former All-Pros Todd Gurley and Clay Matthews during free agency, the Rams continued their roster overhaul by reportedly agreeing to send wideout Brandin Cooks to the Houston Texans in exchange for several draft picks, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Thursday citing a source.

LA has been dealing with salary cap issues, trying to find money to pay franchise quarterback Jared Goff, all-world defensive lineman Aaron Donald, defensive back Jalen Ramsey and the other 49 players needed to fill out an NFL roster.

The team still ends up taking a dead cap hit on Cooks in 2020, but at least removes the remaining four years of his deal from the books.

With the departure of offensive weapons Gurley and Cooks along with Matthews’ defensive presence, it will be a very different LA attack the next time the team takes on the 49ers.

[RELATED: Here's what McGlinchey had to say on Staley's 49ers future]

After four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, Cooks struggled through injuries and inconsistency on his way to just 583 receiving yards in 14 games during the 2019 season.

ProFootballTalk reported Thursday that the team already took a financial hit by holding onto Cooks this far into his contract.

With the 49ers aiming to defend their title as NFC champions, the Seattle Seahawks remaining strong and the Arizona Cardinals fleecing Bill O’Brien and those head-scratching Texans for DeAndre Hopkins earlier this spring, there’s a clear new team at the bottom of the NFC West.

If we end up getting an NFL season in 2020, expect the division’s doormat to be in Tinseltown.

NFL Draft 2020: Why 49ers could trade up to No. 5 for Jeffrey Okudah

NFL Draft 2020: Why 49ers could trade up to No. 5 for Jeffrey Okudah

The NFL draft demonstrates to fans just how bold their team’s general managers can be.

Those willing to take a risk and try to move up in the first round sacrifice significant draft capital in exchange for a chance at a home run.

The 49ers happen to be one of those select few teams possessing multiple first-round picks in this year’s draft, giving GM John Lynch an opportunity to make a big splash.

One potential way Lynch could extend San Francisco’s championship window is by fortifying the secondary with Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah, writes Bleacher Report’s Marcus Mosher.

In this trade, the 49ers make the bold jump up to secure the former Ohio State Buckeye. But with the 49ers lacking in trade capital this year, they could send picks No. 13, No. 31 and another 2021 third-round selection. 

The 49ers have a win-now roster and could use a stud cover man to pair with Richard Sherman. Okudah is one of the best players in the draft and would give the team another versatile corner who could be used in both man and zone coverage. 

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Okudah is the consensus top defensive back in this year’s draft, combining length to disrupt the passing game with top-line speed, putting up a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The Niners came up just short of hoisting the Lombardi trophy in February, despite holding dynamic gunslinger Patrick Mahomes to just 286 yards passing and the lowest postseason quarterback rating of his career.

[RELATED: 49ers' Thieneman teams with non-profit to make ventilators]

Okudah could provide an immediate impact in the secondary on the other side of Richard Sherman, but should the team sacrifice both of its first-round draft picks to fortify a position that is lower on the list of needs for Lynch’s roster?

Many fans likely rather would see the team grab one of this year's seemingly endless crop of talented wide receivers at No. 13 and then waiting and nabbing a cornerback later like TCU product Jeff Gladney at No. 31 overall.

We’ll find out just how bold this 49ers' front office wants to be in exactly two week’s time.