49ers

How 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo looked on each preseason drive vs. Chiefs

How 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo looked on each preseason drive vs. Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Coming off a rough debut earlier in the week, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo saw his most action of the preseason Saturday night against the Chiefs.

Garoppolo completed 1 of 6 passes for zero yards Monday night against the Denver Broncos. It was his first game since he sustained a torn ACL in his left knee in Week 3 of last season against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

Garoppolo fared much better in his return to Arrowhead, in what is expected to be his final game action before the start of the regular season. His pass protection was improved, and he looked much more comfortable in the pocket, completing 14 of 20 passes in the first half for 188 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions. His passer rating was 116.2.

Garoppolo played the entire first half, taking 37 snaps. Nick Mullens replaced him under center at the beginning of the third quarter.

Here’s a drive-by-drive look at how Garoppolo performed:

Fifth series: Setting up another short field goal

Garoppolo ran a successful two-minute drill, moving the 49ers 43 yards on seven plays in 1:11 to set up Robbie Gould for a 34-yard field goal before the end of the half. The 49ers took a 13-0 lead.

Garoppolo completed an 11-yard pass to running back Matt Breida, then found tight end Ross Dwelley on back-to-back plays for 23 yards and 7 yards. He made an ill-advised throw to the goal line into triple coverage for Dante Pettis. Cornerback Rashad Fenton broke it up.

On third and 3, Garoppolo threw to Tevin Coleman for 2 yards. He was stopped at the sideline just shy of the first down to set up Gould’s field goal.

Fourth series: Drive stalls on breakup

After running plays by Coleman and Matt Breida combined to net a first down, Garoppolo hit consecutive pass completions for first downs, too.

Garoppolo hit Deebo Samuel with a play in the deep middle for 21 yards. Then, he flipped a short pass on a rollout to his right to Dante Pettis, who turned it into a 13-yard gain. He also hit fullback Kyle Juszczyk on a short pass for 4 yards.

But the drive stalled when Garoppolo’s pass for Dwelley on third and 3 was broken up by Kansas City safety Daniel Sorensen. Garoppolo’s throw was slightly behind Dwelley, but he should have held onto the ball. Garoppolo went 3-for-4 for 38 yards on the drive.

Gould hit a 29-yard field goal to cap the drive.

Third series: Three-and-out

The 49ers’ pass protection broke down on a third-and-3 play on which left tackle Joe Staley was beaten by former Seattle Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark for a sack. On first down, Garoppolo threw high to Dwelley, who got both hands on the ball but could not make the catch.

Second series: On point

Garoppolo made two nice throws to set up and then score the team’s first touchdown of the game. He lofted a 20-yard pass to Matt Breida, who lined up in the slot and made a diving grab before safety Juan Thornhill could get there.

On the previous play, Garoppolo hit Richie James on a 33-yard pass against the tight coverage of cornerback Rashad Breeland, who had his back turned.

On the opening set of downs, Garoppolo hit Samuel with a quick slant for 6 yards. On third and 8, he floated a pass to Dante Pettis on an out pattern for 16 yards and a first down.

Garoppolo went 4-for-4 for 75 yards on the drive. The 49ers put together a seven-play, 78-yard drive that lasted 4 minutes, 11 seconds. The touchdown tied the game at 7-7.

First series: 50 percent accuracy

Garoppolo’s first pass, under pressure from unblocked Chiefs pass-rusher Reggie Ragland, was intended near the line of scrimmage for Dante Pettis but broken up by Breeland.

On third and 7, Garoppolo and Pettis were not on the same page. Garoppolo threw inside, while Pettis remained outside. But the drive continued due to a defensive holding penalty away from the ball.

On second and 10 from the 30, Garoppolo hit Kendrick Bourne over the middle. Bourne picked up 18 yards and a first down.

After Garoppolo fluttered a second-down pass incomplete for Marquise Goodwin, he went back to Goodwin and hit him with a tight spiral for a 9-yard gain on a third-and-6 play.

Juszczyk caught a swing pass from Garoppolo, made the first defender miss, and picked up 5 yards. On third and 2, Tevin Coleman was stopped for a 1-yard gain. On fourth down, Garoppolo’s pass was batted down by Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones.

Garoppolo finished the first series, completing three of six pass attempts for 32 yards. His passer rating after one drive is 66.0.

49ers' new-attitude defense shows out vs. Bengals, holds key to wins

49ers' new-attitude defense shows out vs. Bengals, holds key to wins

CINCINNATI — The 49ers' defense was overshadowed by an offense that put 41 points and 572 yards on the board against the Bengals, but it still had a Sunday not to forget.

San Francisco held Cincinnati to 316 yards in total offense, including a shockingly low 25 on the ground. Another 66 yards of that total came on the Bengals' final offensive play -- a garbage-time touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to John Ross. Take that away, and the Bengals' total offensive output was 250 yards as the 49ers rolled 41-17 at Paul Brown Stadium.

That one week after the 49ers held the Buccaneers to 17 points and 295 total yards in a season-opening road win.

Ronald Blair, Solomon Thomas, Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner all recorded quarterback sacks Sunday, and linebacker Kwon Alexander logged his first interception as a 49er and the seventh of his NFL career. The defense also racked up eight pass break-ups, with Alexander responsible for three, Ahkello Witherspoon and D.J. Reed for two apiece, and Jullian Taylor for one.

The 49ers' new attitude on defense is noticeable, and much of the credit for that goes to Alexander and defensive end Dee Ford being added to the lineup and, of course, veteran cornerback Richard Sherman's presence.

Jimmy Garoppolo explained how unique the group is and how Alexander really has changed the mood.

"Yeah, Kwon's awesome, man," the 49ers quarterback said. "He really is. The defense as a whole, it’s a different attitude, and I’ve never been around a defense like that. When I turn the ball over and they hold them to a field goal and miss it, it just gives you so much more confidence in those guys. They played their asses off, and it’s incredible."

Alexander could be considered an instigator of sorts. He's always seen on the sideline with a lot of energy, and if any trash talk is happening on the field, you'd best believe that he's involved. He also takes full responsibility for second-year pro Fred Warner's vocal emergence this season.

[RELATED: Grading 49ers' offense, defense in rout of Bengals]

Alexander believes motivation is cyclical, with all phases of the game keeping the energy high for each other. He thrives off it.

"Everybody buying in, doing what they got to do," Alexander said. "Offense doing what they got to do running the ball, D going out there making plays and turnovers ...

"Everybody was just feeding off each other, and once you do that, once you get a team feeding off each other and playing fast, you’re going to win a lot of games."

So, while the offense had a better showing Sunday, the defense is what could keep the 2-0 49ers' upward trajectory on course. Not only is the unit capable of helping pull out a win when the offense struggles, but the defense can alleviate pressure on Jimmy G and Co. to perform.

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger to undergo MRI, could miss 49ers game

bigbenap.jpg
AP

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger to undergo MRI, could miss 49ers game

The 49ers are 2-0 for the first time since 2012, and they've started a season with two consecutive road wins for the first time since 1989. They won't have their starting left tackle when they play their first home game of the season, in Week 3 against the Steelers, but it's possible Joe Staley won't be the most critical player missing from that contest.

That's not a jab at Staley, mind you. As the protector of Jimmy Garoppolo's blind side, his importance to San Francisco cannot be overstated. But he's not the quarterback, and Pittsburgh could be without its signal-caller next Sunday at Levi's Stadium.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was removed from Sunday's 28-26 loss to the Seattle Seahawks after appearing to injure his throwing arm during the second quarter. Roethlisberger did not return, and reportedly is scheduled to undergo an MRI on his elbow.

Roethlisberger was in obvious discomfort after the play on which the injury occurred. However, according to ESPN's Dianna Rusini, Big Ben reportedly had been dealing with inflammation in his right elbow during the past week.

As such, Roethlisberger's status for Week 3 obviously is in question. Making matters worse for the Steelers, they traded away their former backup quarterback, Joshua Dobbs, to the Jaguars last week for a 2020 fifth-round draft pick. Additionally, running back James Connor went to the blue tent late in the loss to the Seahawks and did not return.

Mason Rudolph came on in relief of Roethlisberger and performed admirably, completing 12 of 19 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns as the Steelers almost pulled off a late comeback. However, there's a reason why he was third-string on the depth chart as of one week ago, and there's no question Pittsburgh is a stronger team with Big Ben behind center.

[RELATED: Now-injured Staley vows to coach 49ers rookie left tackle]

Depending on the results of Roethlisberger's MRI, the 49ers could face a significantly depleted team at some very important positions.