Bochy shows support for 49ers' Alex Smith


Bochy shows support for 49ers' Alex Smith

SAN FRANCISCO -- In a time normally reserved for deflecting questions about a potential playoff rotation or Melky Cabrera's status with the club, Bruce Bochy decided to have a little fun.

Little over an hour before Barry Zito threw the first pitch to Josh Rutledge, Bochy met with reporters in the Giants dugout with a 49ers hat perched atop his large head.

After news broke that 49ers quarterback Alex Smith barely avoided a 15,000 fine for wearing a Giants hat in his postgame press conference, which he did last season as well, Bochy decided to share his thoughts on Smith and his infamous hat.

"This is our way of supporting him for supporting us," Bochy said. "And we're all 49ers fans here so this is in honor of Alex. I'm glad he didn't have to pay the fine. That's good news."

Bochy wasn't shy about his 49er fandom.

"I'm a big 49er fan. Since I've been here, I've always followed them. And what a great club they are. Great team. Tremendous defense. Coach Jim Harbaugh and his quarterback, they're solid. Tremendous year last year and they're going to have another great year this year."

Bochy's 49ers hat was a size 7 3/4, smaller than his normal 8 1/8 lid. Because of the size difference, Bochy had clubhouse guru Mike Murphy stretch the hat out for him. Bochy said he doesn't expect any punishment from Major League Baseball for wearing the non-approved gear.

"I don't think so; I hope not," Bochy said. "We're having some fun with this. This is what it's about. Some times we take things a little too serious, I think. Smith comes out here and supports us and we do appreciate it so this is our way of saying thanks."

Smith apparently got word of Bochy's gesture, according to 49ers Insider Matt Maiocco.

Sergio Romo is also a vocal supporter of the 49ers and was decked out in a Joe Montana jersey and 49ers winter hat after a win over the Braves on Aug. 23. At the time, I asked him who would win a chess match between Bochy and Harbaugh. Romo surprisingly didnt vote for his skipper.

"Romo said that? I dont know," was Bochys reaction when informed of Romo's response.

It may be hard to get the two men to sit down for a game of chess, but Bochy did express a desire to get to know Harbaugh better after being limited to brief interactions in the past.

"He's pretty busy, I'm pretty busy right now," Bochy said. "But at some point I'd love to sit down with him. With the Giants' season looking like it will extend well into October and the 49ers considered a Super Bowl-caliber team, it may be awhile before both men aren't busy.

How Seahawks' Russell Wilson beat 49ers' pass rush with play-action


How Seahawks' Russell Wilson beat 49ers' pass rush with play-action

The 49ers got to Russell Wilson in Monday night's 27-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Wilson was sacked a season-high five times at Levi's Stadium, posting his second-worst passer rating of 2019 (86.9) and a season-low 43.6 QBR. He also threw his second interception of the season and fumbled for the first time since Week 4. 

Yet Wilson did just enough to remain effective in spite of that pressure, showing why he is an MVP frontrunner when he led the Seahawks to their game-winning field-goal drive in overtime. Wilson also employed plenty of misdirection to keep the 49ers' dominant pass rush at bay, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. 

On the season, the 49ers have pressured QBs on 29.7 percent of dropbacks. That 17 percent pressure rate on play-action plays would be 30th-best in the NFL if extended over a full season, just behind the Cincinnati Bengals (17.1 percent) and just ahead of the Oakland Raiders (15.9 percent). 

For reference, those two teams have combined for five fewer sacks (30) than the 49ers have all season. 

Wilson's play-action success could give opposing teams something of a blueprint, and that could trip up the 49ers in their own division down the stretch. In addition to playing the Seahawks once more, the 49ers also will play the Los Angeles Rams in Week 16 at Levi's. Rams coach Sean McVay loves using play-action, and the Rams were far more efficient last season on play-action passes than traditional ones. The Rams have taken a step back this season and the 49ers kept LA's offense in check in Week 6, but play-action remains a big part of the Rams' offense and the 49ers will have to be ready for it.

[RELATED: 49ers ready to focus on Cardinals after tough Seahawks loss]

It doesn't stop with the Seahawks and Rams. Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is known for his play-action abilities, too, while Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers also have been better in play-action this season. The 49ers play Green Bay and Arizona in each of the next two weeks. 

San Francisco has a difficult slate of QBs remaining on its schedule, including ones who succeed where Wilson did Monday night. That's one additional area the 49ers will have to shore up down the stretch. 

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo's 'bad night' surprised NBC Sports' Peter King

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo's 'bad night' surprised NBC Sports' Peter King

Despite the 49ers not suffering their first loss until Week 10, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t exactly set the world on fire with his play in 2019.

He has done enough to lead his team to victories in all but one game this season, but the 49ers haven’t had to ask much of their signal-caller thanks to a dominant defense and a highly-potent running game.

His first chance to make a statement against a great team in prime time didn’t go as expected, as Garoppolo was just above a 50 percent completion percentage and had his worst QB rating (66.2) of the year in Monday night’s 27-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

"At one point, I remember looking up at the TV, and I said, 'I cannot remember Jimmy Garoppolo playing with happy feet like this,'" King told Mike Florio and Chris Simms of Pro Football Talk. "Look, this is whatever, like his 18th NFL start, so we don't really know him yet, but that was a bad night for Jimmy Garoppolo and for 49ers fans who want to love him, who want to have faith in him."

The 49ers might have fallen in the team’s first true test of 2019, but there are plenty of worthy opponents on the horizon for San Francisco.

[RELATED: Why 49ers fans should be optimistic after loss to Seahawks]

After hosting the Cardinals in Week 11, San Francisco will take on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in a recently flexed matchup on "Sunday Night Football," followed up by trips to Baltimore and New Orleans in consecutive weeks.

So there will be ample opportunity for Jimmy G and his squad to rebound in front of a prime-time audience.