49ers

Even Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers know Joe Montana is the G.O.A.T.

joegoatap.jpg
AP

Even Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers know Joe Montana is the G.O.A.T.

Michael Jordan started the conversation on Twitter, and LeBron James chimed in on the question that will never leave our minds: Who is the G.O.A.T.?

Of course, we’re talking about quarterbacks Tom Brady versus Aaron Rodgers before the two square off on Sunday Night Football. 

But why are we even having this debate? Even Brady and Rodgers know Joe Montana is the G.O.A.T.

Growing up in Northern California — Brady in San Mateo and Rodgers in Chico — both players were 49ers fans throughout their childhoods and idolized Montana. Brady even dressed as his favorite players, Joe Cool, for Halloween 35 years ago. 

Brady was 6 when he dressed up as Montana for Halloween, but he was 4 when he was at Candlestick Park for the greatest play in 49ers history. On Jan. 10, 1982, Brady cried the whole first half in San Francisco, begging for a foam finger. In the fourth quarter, Dwight Clark gave fans tears of joy that day with The Catch in the back of the end zone against the Cowboys.

Asked about Montana comparisons back in 2016 before Brady’s first time playing the 49ers in San Francisco, the Patriots star make his feelings loud and clear on comparisons. 

“I don’t ever see myself like him,” Brady said to the Mercury News. “He was so spectacular, and I think he’s in a league of his own."

Brady also knows that the modern NFL favors quarterbacks and passing much more than it did for Montana. After multiple rule changes to protect quarterbacks and encourage passing, we’re seeing records broken left and right for a reason. 

"I don't agree with that," Brady said to ESPN in 2017 when asked if he’s passed Montana as the G.O.A.T. "and I'll tell you why. I know myself as a player. I'm really a product of what I've been around, who I was coached by, what I played against, in the era I played in. I really believe if a lot of people were in my shoes they could accomplish the same kinds of things. So I've been very fortunate.”

Rodgers didn’t don Montana’s gear for Halloween, as far as we know, but he did have a piece of Montana on him while starring at the University of California. Rodgers played at Cal for two seasons, 2003 and 2004, before going No. 24 overall in the 2005 NFL Draft to the Green Bay Packers.

While at Cal, Rodgers wore a Montana 49ers shirt under his No. 8 jersey. 

Brady has one more Super Bowl ring than Montana with five, while Rodgers has one ring to his name. But Brady, with three losses on the biggest stage, knows why Montana is the G.O.A.T.

"He was a winner. Every time he took the field, it felt like the 49ers were going to win," Brady said in his interview with the Mercury News. 

Whenever the 49ers were on the field in the Super Bowl and Montana was under center, they did win, as the G.O.A.T. was a perfect 4 for 4. 

Kwon Alexander impressed with what he saw from Dre Greenlaw, stepping into his role

greenlawap.jpg
AP

Kwon Alexander impressed with what he saw from Dre Greenlaw, stepping into his role

SANTA CLARA – In the locker room following the 49ers’ first loss of the season, veteran cornerback Richard Sherman preached to his teammates about using the 27-24 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks as a learning experience.

“Like Sherm said, it’s just what we needed,” 49ers rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

The 49ers entered Monday night as the only unbeaten team in the NFL. They come out of the game with an 8-1 record, and a half-game lead over the Seahawks (8-2) in the NFC West.

“In this league, you’re never going undefeated. But at the same time, it’s a wake-up call," Greenlaw said. "It lets you know you can be beat any night. You got to bring your 'A game' every time. I think from here on out, a lot of guys are going to bring forward their best foot and play and execute and finish out the season strong.”

Greenlaw started Monday’s game in place of Kwon Alexander, who is out for the season after undergoing surgery last week to repair a torn pectoral. Greenlaw recorded eight tackles and had an interception of a Russell Wilson pass in overtime.

The play, along with Greenlaw’s 47-yard interception return, put the 49ers’ offense in position to win the game. But the offense stalled after gaining a first down, and rookie fill-in kicker Chase McLaughlin shanked a 47-yard field goal attempt after making a kick of the same distance to force overtime on the final play of regulation.

“I knew Greenlaw was going to step in,” Alexander said. “I had no doubt about him. I saw it on his face when he first walked through the door.

“He’s been a tremendous rookie, doing everything right, working hard. He put a lot of extra film in this week and it all paid off. He got an interception. I’m proud of him. I’m happy for him. He’s a great young man.”

Greenlaw said he played with a lot of confidence because of the support he received on the field from middle linebacker Fred Warner, along with the encouragement Alexander gave him on the sideline.

“I made some mistakes, but I made some plays,” Greenlaw said. “I felt confident. I knew Fred was going to play his heart out, and he had my back. Having Kwon out there on the sideline, he brought us confidence. I felt good running around.”

Warner said Greenlaw stepped in and did as well as could be expected in taking over for Alexander.

“He honestly stepped in and did a great job,” Warner said of Greenlaw, a fifth-round pick from Arkansas. “I can’t say anything bad. Kwon is a seasoned vet, but Dre came out and played as such. He was communicating great. He got aligned.”

Warner had an exceptional game, as he recorded 10 tackles, including his first two NFL sacks. He forced a fumble that DeForest Buckner returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

What can the 49ers take from this loss?

“Just learn from our mistakes, look at yourself in the mirror and see what you could’ve done and keep moving,” Warner said.

Why Jimmy Garoppolo sees 49ers' loss to Seahawks as 'reality check'

Why Jimmy Garoppolo sees 49ers' loss to Seahawks as 'reality check'

SANTA CLARA -- After the 49ers' heartbreaking 27-24 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was confident the offense didn't need a major overhaul to bounce back in Week 11.

Monday's loss at Levi's Stadium was Garoppolo's second-worst game of the season statistically. He completed just 24 of his 46 attempts for 248 yards, throwing one touchdown, one interception and posting a 66.2 passer rating. 

“I think I could throw the ball better, we could catch it better,” Garoppolo said Monday. “It’s a little bit of everything it’s not one specific thing that sticks out. It’s a bit of a reality check for us. We’ll go back and respond this week.”  

Players will never make injuries an excuse but Garoppolo lacked his top options Monday night. George Kittle, his No. 1 target, was inactive. Emmanuel Sanders, who had quickly become Garoppolo's second favorite pass-catcher, left the game in the first half with a rib injury.  

Coach Kyle Shanahan needed to make personnel adjustments during the game and had mixed results. While Deebo Samuel finished the night as the top receiver, catching eight of his 11 targets for 112 yards, Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis each failed to record a catch on three targets. 

“The receivers were battling,” Garoppolo said. “We had some injuries happen and people were being mixed and matched in different spots. But I thought overall those guys played well. We’ve just got to make plays when your number’s called.”

Shanahan credited the offense and his QB for making some good plays, but he said they were largely inconsistent. The 49ers trailed by 11 points headed into the fourth quarter, but Shanahan liked that his QB was not rattled facing his largest deficit of the season. 

“Jimmy doesn’t really change,” Shanahan said. “Jimmy is always the same, so there’s no difference there. I think like the whole offense, I thought he battled. I thought he battled very hard. Hung in the pocket for a while. I thought he made some big plays, but I know he made a number of plays he’d like to have back.”

Garoppolo already is looking forward to the week ahead to reduce the offense's mistakes going forward. The 49ers have a short turnaround, playing the Arizona Cardinals for the second time in three weeks Sunday. 

“It’s just about execution at the end of the day,” Garoppolo said. “It’s nothing crazy, just got to go do your job, execute and move on play after play and just do that throughout the entire game. We’ve been good at that, it just, we had a couple hiccups tonight. Just got to correct them and move on.”

[RELATED: McLaughlin tries to make sense of missed FG in 49ers' loss]

One thing that Garoppolo has no doubt about is that the 49ers will bounce back from their first loss of the season seamlessly. Most of the locker room has lived through two losing seasons under Shanahan, and the QB is confident his teammates will quickly shake off their disappointment.

“You go back and you watch the tape,” Garoppolo said. “You got to be critical on yourself. ‘What could we have done better? What caused this to happen?’ You’ve got to be hard on yourselves. I think we have a good group of guys in there with the right mindset who are going to come into work tomorrow and fight."