49ers

How 49ers' Richard Sherman is living up to shutdown corner reputation

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How 49ers' Richard Sherman is living up to shutdown corner reputation

Richard Sherman didn't live up to his own lofty standards in his first season with the 49ers. 

Sherman failed to record an interception for the first time in his NFL career in 2018, and he compiled a career-low four passes defensed during his first season with San Francisco. His debut campaign was solid, but by his own account, Sherman played "on one leg" in 2018 as he recovered from tearing his Achilles tendon during the previous season. 

But Sherman is healthy now, and the 31-year-old is playing like the cornerback who earned a reputation as one of the NFL's most fearsome defenders. Through eight games, no cornerback has held opposing quarterbacks to a lower passer rating than Sherman, according to Pro Football Focus. 

https://twitter.com/PFF/status/1191871825078300672

As NFL writer Vincent Frank noted Tuesday morning, opposing QBs would be better off, statistically, spiking the ball instead of targeting Sherman.

Sherman's health is a driving force behind his return to form, but the 49ers' improvement along the defensive line can't be underestimated, either. The 49ers drafted Nick Bosa (7.0 sacks) with the No. 2 overall pick in April's draft, traded for Dee Ford (5.5 sacks) and have seen Arik Armstead grow into a pass-rushing dynamo (5.5 sacks) in a contract season. San Francisco is much better up front than it was in 2018, and opposing QBs are under far more duress as a result. 

The statistical differences are stark. A season ago, the 49ers tied for 22nd in the league with 37 sacks and set an NFL record in futility with just seven forced turnovers. Through eight games this season, the 49ers already have 30 sacks (third) and 16 turnovers (tied for fourth). 

[RELATED: 49ers FB Juszczyk 'ready to ride' Monday vs. rival Seahawks]

The 49ers' defense has led San Francisco to its first 8-0 start in three decades, but Sherman still identified areas for improvement ahead of Monday night's NFC West showdown with the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium. It's easily the venue's biggest game since the Sherman-led Seahawks embarrassed the 49ers on Thanksgiving five years ago, and Sherman infamously ate turkey on the field after Seattle's 19-3 win. 

Sherman is playing as well as he did then, and the 49ers will be glad he's on their side this time around. 

Ravens' John Harbaugh reacts to 49ers' Tim Ryan's Lamar Jackson remarks

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Ravens' John Harbaugh reacts to 49ers' Tim Ryan's Lamar Jackson remarks

49ers broadcaster Tim Ryan was suspended for one game after comments made about Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson following Sunday’s loss.

“He’s really good at that fake, Lamar Jackson, but when you consider his dark skin color with the dark football with a dark uniform, you could not see the thing,” Ryan said on the show (H/T The San Francisco Chronicle).

The comments created a social media firestorm, but Ravens head coach John Harbaugh isn’t interested in furthering the controversy.

“I don’t really know too much about it or understand the context of it. It’s not relevant to what we’re trying to accomplish right now,” Harbaugh said, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com.

[RELATED: 49ers' Harris to start at strong safety for injured Tartt]

Former 49ers defensive end Dennis Brown will replace Ryan on Sunday’s broadcast in New Orleans.

49ers injury report: Marcell Harris to start in place of Jaquiski Tartt

49ers injury report: Marcell Harris to start in place of Jaquiski Tartt

BRADENTON, Fla. – Marcell Harris on Sunday will be back where he ended his rookie season with the 49ers.

Harris will take over as the 49ers’ starter at strong safety with Jaquiski Tartt out for at least one game after sustaining cracked ribs in the team’s 20-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 13.

Tartt and backup defensive tackle Jullian Taylor (elbow) have been ruled out for the 49ers’ game Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

Two of the 49ers’ seldom-used wide receivers, Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis, are listed as questionable, along with left tackle Joe Staley. Goodwin has knee and foot issues, according to the team, while Pettis has already missed one game with a knee injury.

Staley has missed three games after surgery to repair a fractured and dislocated finger. He is expected to play Sunday.

All other 49ers players, including Dee Ford and Richard Sherman, will be available for Sunday’s game.

Harris started the final five games of his rookie season after being a sixth-round draft pick from Florida in 2018. He did not earn a spot on the team’s 53-man roster at the beginning of this season. Harris was promoted from the practice squad in October and has appeared in nine games this season.

“I’m real happy for Marcell,” coach Kyle Shanahan said on "49ers Game Plan," which airs Saturday at 7 p.m. on NBC Bay Area (Ch. 3). “He’s gone come a long way, in that he was a very good college player, tore his Achilles his senior year, which really hurt him. That’s why we were able to get him in the draft. It affected him his whole rookie year.

"He’s been able to string together about eight months where he has been healthy, and when you’re made of the right stuff, you have the talent and you can stay healthy, you usually just need the time.”

Harris took over for Tartt on Sunday and made one of the top plays in the game when he took the ball away from Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson on a running play to create a turnover.

[RELATED: Sanders has been valuable resource for 49ers' young WRs]

49ers injury report

Out
S Jaquiski Tartt (ribs)
DT Jullian Taylor (elbow)

Questionable
WR Marquise Goodwin (knee, foot)
WR Dante Pettis (knee)
T Joe Staley (finger)