49ers

49ers snap count: Unlikely heroes show up in big win over Cardinals

49ers snap count: Unlikely heroes show up in big win over Cardinals

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers suited up six wide receivers for the second time this season due to the rash of injuries at other positions.

Five of the wideouts in uniform caught passes in the 49ers’ 36-26 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium in a game that clinched the 49ers’ first winning season since 2013.

Rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel had eight receptions on the 10 passes Jimmy Garoppolo directed his way. Samuel had 134 yards receiving on the day.

Samuel (shoulder) and veteran Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) toughed it out while battling physical conditions throughout the game. Sanders caught three passes for 33 yards.

Wide receiver Richie James, running back Jeff Wilson and safety D.J. Reed made the most of their few opportunities.

James got the offense moving in the second quarter with a 57-yard run after catching a screen pass from Garoppolo. He played 10 offensive snaps in the game.

Wilson was on the field for one play, and he managed to beat an all-out blitz with a 25-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown for the go-ahead points with 31 seconds remaining.

[RELATED: 49ers' Wilson makes only offensive play count in win vs. Arizona]

And Reed played three defensive snaps, and had a 4-yard return for a touchdown after scooping up a fumble on the final play of the game.

Dante Pettis saw the least amount of playing time of any of the 49ers’ receivers. He was on the field for two offensive snaps, did not see any passes thrown his way, and saw no action on special teams.

Each of the 49ers’ eight active defensive linemen were on the field for 21 plays or more, including newly signed defensive end Damontre Moore. He played 23 snaps and contributed a forced fumble that clinched the game in the closing minute.

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

Offense

Total offensive snaps: 77
Quarterback – Jimmy Garoppolo 77
Running back – Kyle Juszczyk 41, Tevin Coleman 38, Raheem Mostert 38, Jeff Wilson 1
Wide receiver – Deebo Samuel 61, Kendrick Bourne 42, Emmanuel Sanders 36, Marquise Goodwin 23, Richie James 10, Dante Pettis 2
Tight end – Ross Dwelley 69, Garrett Celek 23, Levine Toilolo 1
Offensive line – Laken Tomlinson 77, Mike Person 77, Mike McGlinchey 77, Justin Skule 77, Weston Richburg 77
Did not play – QB Nick Mullens, Ben Garland

Defense

Total defensive snaps: 69
Defensive line – Nick Bosa 57, DeForest Buckner 52, Arik Armstead 48, Solomon Thomas 26, Damontre Moore 23, Sheldon Day 23, Jullian Taylor 21, Dee Ford 21
Linebacker – Fred Warner 69, Dre Greenlaw 67, Elijah Lee 25
Defensive back – Jimmie Ward 69, Jaquiski Tartt 69, Richard Sherman 69, Emmanuel Moseley 65, K’Waun Williams 42, Ahkello Witherspoon 6, D.J. Reed 3, Tarvarius Moore 2, Marcell Harris 2

Special teams

Total special teams plays: 26
Mark Nzeocha 22, Lee 22, Moore 22, Harris 17, James 15, Witherspoon 14, Wilson 13, Celek 12, Mitch Wishnowsky 11, Bourne 10, Ward 10, Moore 10, Buckner 9, Armstead 9, Reed 8, Toilolo 7, Kyle Nelson 6, Mostert 6, Tartt 6, Moseley 6, Warner 5, Thomas 5, Day 5, Daniel Brunskill 4, Chase McLaughlin 4, Person 4, Richburg 4, Tomlinson 4, McGlinchey 4, Skule 4, Goodwin 4, Juszczyk 2, Greenlaw 2

Not active

QB C.J. Beathard
K Robbie Gould
RB Matt Breida
LB Azeez Al-Shaair
LT Joe Staley
TE George Kittle
NT D.J. Jones

Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson interested in Antonio Brown as teammate

Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson interested in Antonio Brown as teammate

Around and around we go.

Almost any other wide receiver who burned as many bridges as Antonio Brown has over the last two years would never draw interest from another NFL team ever again. But due to his tantalizing talent and prolific production, he continues to get the benefit of the doubt.

He doesn't deserve it, but it's understandable. Forget receivers, when Brown is on the field, there are few offensive players more frightening for defensive coordinators. Of course, he also has proven himself to be a nightmare for his own coaches. Thus is the risk/reward factor he presents.

Despite his risk far outweighing the reward as of late, interest in Brown doesn't appear to be waning. 

Back in May, it was reported that Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson "would love" to add Brown to his receiving corps. A little more than a month later, the two were connecting on routes on a practice field.

Yes, that is a Raiders helmet that Brown is wearing. How'd his time in Oakland go, again? But I digress...

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Wilson doesn't appear to be the only star quarterback interested in adding Brown to his roster. After former NFL receiver Chad Johnson took to Twitter to express his preference for Brown to join the Texans, Houston QB Deshaun Watson didn't exactly pour cold water on the idea.

The Texans were on the wrong end of one of the more one-sided trades in recent memory this offseason when they questionably sent standout receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals. Houston did acquire Brandin Cooks from the Los Angeles Rams, but perhaps Watson believes his receiving corps is missing an ingredient.

[RELATED: 49ers don't need Brown to be favorites, but Seahawks might]

If Brown is signed -- which is a big if -- it's unlikely he would be able to play much at all this coming season, regardless of which team signed him. A trio of Personal Conduct Policy investigations must be concluded before he can sign with a team, and even if all that is settled, it is widely expected that he would be facing a lengthy suspension upon rejoining the league.

Do you trust Brown to behave through that entire process? At this point, it's difficult to understand why anyone would. But clearly, some players still feel the risk is worth the reward.

Why Warren Moon believes 49ers are favorites in competitive NFC West

Why Warren Moon believes 49ers are favorites in competitive NFC West

The 49ers ran through the NFC playoffs, held a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV and arguably have improved this offseason. So, they've got to be the favorites in their own division, right?

It wouldn't exactly be going out on a limb to take that stance, as San Francisco currently is the betting favorite to emerge not just from the NFC West, but the conference as a whole. There's a reason for that, and Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon doesn't disagree.

"You'd have to go with San Francisco right now," Moon said Thursday on 95.7 The Game's "Joe, Lo and Dibs" show when asked which team is the favorite in the NFC West. "I mean, they're the defending NFC champs. They bring back pretty much everybody from that football team. 

"They've lost a couple of receivers, but I still think they have a lot of good talent on their team. Their strength is going to be in their running game. I think their offensive line just got strengthened by signing (Trent Williams). So, they're going to be the team to beat, but this is going to be one of the more competitive divisions in the NFL.

"You've got Seattle, who's going to be right there. ... And then you always have the Rams, who you just don't know how good they're going to be. And then Arizona is going to be much more improved. So this is going to be a very, very competitive division, as it usually is."

[RELATED: Report: 49ers' Mostert requested pay raise this offseason]

The 49ers might be the deserved favorites in the division, but Moon is correct. The NFC West was tough enough last year, when San Francisco split the season series with the Seahawks and went down to the wire in both meetings with the Cardinals. As good as the 49ers are, claiming a second straight division title will be no easy task.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]