49ers

49ers takeaways: What we learned from 14-9 loss to Bears at Levi's Stadium

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USATSI

49ers takeaways: What we learned from 14-9 loss to Bears at Levi's Stadium

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SANTA CLARA -– The NFC North champion Chicago Bears turned Levi’s Stadium into their West Coast home Sunday.

Thousands of Bears backers invaded Northern California, and the 49ers were unable to beat Chicago at its own game.

The Bears held on for a 14-9 victory, as Nick Mullens threw a desperation fourth-down pass out of bounds when he could have run for the first down from the Chicago 45-yard line with more than a minute to play.

In a game dominated by defense and both offenses lacking in big-play ability, the Bears were able to grind it out to snap the 49ers’ two-game winning streak. Chicago improved to 11-4, while the 49ers fell to 4-11.

Things got heated late in the fourth quarter when 49ers safety Marcell Harris’ late hit on a sliding Mitchell Trubisky led to a scuffle along the Bears sideline.

Cornerback Richard Sherman, and Bears players Joshua Bellamy and Anthony Miller were ejected from the game for the final five minutes of the game.

Here are three quick takeaways from the game:

Top priority: Re-sign Robbie

Robbie Gould has been darn-near automatic since signing with the 49ers on the first day of NFL free agency in 2017. But the kicker's contract is up at the end of the season, and Gould kept his family in Chicago because of the uncertainty of the offseason.

The 49ers must do everything in their power to keep Gould around. After all, Levi’s Stadium is not an easy venue for kickers. The 49ers need a veteran to handle the chores, and Gould, 36, is one of the best in the history of sport.

On Sunday, Gould made all three of his field-goal attempts. Last year, he kicked five field goals in a 15-14 victory over the Bears, the team for which he played his first 11 NFL seasons.

Gould has made 71 of his 74 field-goal attempts in two seasons with the 49ers, and rates No. 2 on the NFL’s all-time accuracy list.

The battle to keep Mack contained

49ers offensive tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey held up well against Bears edge rusher Khalil Mack, a leading candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Mullens got rid of the ball quickly with three-step drops, and the 49ers made an emphasis on staying out of third-and-long situations. On the 49ers’ first trip inside the red zone, coach Kyle Shanahan opted to take the three points instead of pressing the issue on a third-and-11 play. Running back Jeff Wilson took an inside handoff for 2 yards, as Shanahan decided not to risk a sack and pushing the 49ers out of field-goal range.

Mack became a big factor in the second half, as he had quarterback pressures on three consecutive plays in one three-and-out series.

Because of the Bears’ threat of a pass rush, the 49ers were not able to push the ball down the field. Mullens completed 22 of 38 passes for 241 yards and no touchdowns with one interception.

Goodwin back in every-down role

When the 49ers signed Marquise Goodwin before the 2017 season, they did not envision him being a starter and an every-down player. But Goodwin was back in that role after Dante Pettis left with a knee injury in the first half.

Goodwin was at the center of one of the big plays of the game when a Mullens fourth-quarter pass deflected off his hands, leading to linebacker Danny Trevathan’s interception. The 49ers would like to pick and choose how, when and where to use Goodwin’s speed through the course of a game.

Pettis likely will be a starter next season, and the 49ers have to figure out how to get another starting-caliber wideout on the roster next season. Goodwin played sparingly the past three weeks, as Pettis and Kendrick Bourne were the starters.

After Pettis’ injury, Goodwin played and caught three passes for 29 yards.

2019 NFL Draft Preview Show for 49ers and Raiders: How to watch online

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NBC Sports

2019 NFL Draft Preview Show for 49ers and Raiders: How to watch online

The 2019 NFL Draft is finally here! And the stakes are at an all-time high for the 49ers and Raiders.

San Francisco owns the No. 2 overall pick Thursday night, and Oakland has the Nos. 4, 24, and 27 picks. Both teams are looking to select franchise cornerstones who can turn their squads around after disappointing 2019 campaigns where they each went 4-12.

The 49ers are eying help on the defensive line, with Ohio State's Nick Bosa, Kentucky's Josh Allen, and Alabama's Quinnen Williams being their most likely targets with the No. 2 pick. NBC Sports Bay Area's 49ers Insider Matt Maiocco has San Francisco taking Bosa with that selection in our latest mock draft.

The Raiders, holding three first-round picks, are a wild card. They have been linked almost every top prospect in the draft, including dynamic quarterback Kyler Murray as well as Bosa, Allen, Williams, and Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver. NBC Sports California's Raiders Insider Scott Bair has Oliver going to Oakland at No. 4 in our latest mock. Bair also has the Raiders taking Alabama running back Josh Jacobs and Temple cornerback Rock Ya-Sin with their No. 24 and No. 27 picks, respectively.

NBC Sports has collected football talent from around the country to look ahead to the draft in the NFL Draft Preview Show, which will begin at Noon PT and stream exclusively in the MyTeams App.

Maiocco and Bair will join experts from the NBC Sports regional sports networks to break down what to expect for each team during the 2019 NFL Draft.

Here are the guests:

Bay Area -- 49ers: Matt Maiocco
California -- Raiders: Scott Bair
Boston -- Patriots: Tom Curran
Chicago -- Bears: JJ Stankevitz
Washington: JP Finlay
Philly -- Eagles: Derrick Gunn
Northwest -- Seahawks: Aaron Fentress

Here's how you can watch NBC Sports' NFL Draft Preview Show online:

DATE: Thursday, April 25, 2019
TIME: Noon P.T.
WHERE: MyTeams app

Quinnen Williams, Josh Allen impressed with 49ers before 2019 NFL Draft

Quinnen Williams, Josh Allen impressed with 49ers before 2019 NFL Draft

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- General manager John Lynch spent a portion of his pre-draft session with the media on Monday raving about Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams.

On Wednesday, Williams returned the favor.

“They left a great impression on me, just to meet those guys out there,” said Williams, whom the 49ers hosted on a top-30 visit this month. “I met John Lynch. He’s a great guy.”

Williams is a legitimate option for the 49ers to consider with the No. 2 overall pick. Williams’ name has also come up in speculation over the past week that the Arizona Cardinals could select him with the top pick. Assuming the Arizona Cardinals take Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray with the top selection, the 49ers' pick would likely come down to Williams or Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa.

Williams was a first-year starter at nose tackle for Alabama, and he quickly shot up draft boards with a season in which he registered 19.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks.

“The season he had may have been as good of a college football season that I’ve ever seen,” Lynch said. “He was just dominant.”

As Williams began to talk about Lynch, he laughed about a highlight he saw of him during a TV show about Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders. Lynch was a nine-time Pro Bowl player during his 15-year career with Tampa Bay and Denver.

“I saw him juke John Lynch,” Williams said of Sanders. “It was so funny because I know John Lynch now.”

If Williams were to end up with the 49ers, he would likely team up on the interior defensive line with DeForest Buckner. Williams said he met Buckner during his visit to Santa Clara. His takeaway: “He’s huge.”

Williams said he would relish the opportunity to play alongside one of the best defensive tackles in the game. Buckner was named to his first NFC Pro Bowl team after totaling a career-high 12 sacks.

“I’m not going to any franchise thinking I’m the man, thinking this or that,” Williams said. “I’m thinking that I’m coming to any franchise and I’m bringing a weapon that can help the team and push the pocket. This game has turned to a real passing game and me, as a defensive lineman, I’m a pass-rusher. I go get it. But I can also stop the run at an elite level.”

[RELATED: Quinnen Williams leans on family, football after great loss]

Another player the 49ers could consider with the No. 2 pick in the draft is Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen, who led the nation with 17 sacks last season as a senior. Allen mentioned the weather and the food as some of the highlights of his visit to meet with the 49ers in Santa Clara.

Allen came away feeling good about the possibility of playing for defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and new defensive line coach Kris Kocurek. Allen said the 49ers told him he would play defensive end in their defensive scheme.

“My hand would be in the dirt, rushing the passer and setting the edge,” he said.