49ers

How many plays will Garoppolo know in first start? 'Game plan is for Jimmy'

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How many plays will Garoppolo know in first start? 'Game plan is for Jimmy'

SANTA CLARA – Jimmy Garoppolo is nowhere close to learning the entire 49ers’ offense.

But as he takes over as the 49ers' starter Sunday against the Chicago Bears, Garoppolo does not have to be comfortable with the entire breadth of coach Kyle Shanahan’s system.

“When you go into the week with him as the starter, the playbook is this week,” Shanahan said on Wednesday, one day after he informed Garoppolo and C.J. Beathard of his decision to make a change at quarterback.

“It’s not a big inventory of our training camp and OTAs. What’s our game plan to beat Chicago? We put that in all Monday night and Tuesday with the idea that we were going to go with Jimmy. This game plan is for Jimmy and he’ll work at it all week.”

Shanahan will meet with Garoppolo late in the week to solidify the call sheet for Sunday's game, he said.

"Whatever he doesn’t feel comfortable with and doesn’t get down in these three practices, then we’ll take it out," Shanahan said. "Whatever we go with on Sunday, he’ll know 100 percent of it."

Garoppolo, who arrived at 49ers headquarters on Oct. 31 after being acquired in a trade with the New England Patriots, is balancing his studies this week to learn the 49ers’ game plan making his first start this season while also gaining and understanding of the Bears’ defense.

“That’s been the tricky part the last couple of weeks,” Garoppolo said. “I’ve kind of gotten in to a little bit of a routine with that. I know I was the backup the last couple of weeks, but you still prepare like you’re the starter. Learning the other team’s defenses. Watching as much film as you can. There are still things we put in I’ll learn for the first time. That part of the learning curve, I’m pretty comfortable with now. I got a nice routine for it.”

Part of Garoppolo's routine will consist of meeting with center Daniel Kilgore to go through the 49ers’ different protections so they are working on the same page on Sunday. Kilgore realizes he must take on more responsibility with a quarterback who is still figuring out the team’s offense.

“He’s been in a complex offense before,” Kilgore said. “He knows how to study. He backed up Tom Brady, one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. I would say he feels much more comfortable since Day 1. How much more comfortable is he?

“Out of 10, he’s anywhere from a 6 to 7, from what I see. He just has to go out on Sunday and have fun.”

Beathard is still nursing a left knee bruise and a hip strain. He is not scheduled to practice on Wednesday. Shanahan said he is optimistic Beathard will practice Thursday and Friday and be available to serve as Garoppolo’s backup on Sunday.

If Beathard is unable to suit up, the 49ers would likely promote undrafted rookie quarterback Nick Mullens from the practice squad.

Aside from Jimmy G injury, 49ers' loss to Packers is worst 2018 moment

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Aside from Jimmy G injury, 49ers' loss to Packers is worst 2018 moment

Editor’s note: The 49ers break for the bye week with a 2-8 record. This is part of a series that recaps the first 10 games with an eye to the future. In this installment, we look at the team's worst moment after 10 weeks. 

With the 49ers holding on to just two wins thus far, there are quite a few choices for the worst moment of the 2018 season. The obvious choices, of course, are losing Jerick McKinnon and Jimmy Garoppolo to season-ending ACL injuries. 

Looking at actual football plays, one moment led to a proverbial stake being driven into the hearts of 49ers players and fans alike.

With 1:13 left on the game clock at Lambeau Field in Week 6, 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard threw a deep pass intended for Marquise Goodwin down the middle of the field. A similar play earlier had successfully produced a 49ers touchdown in the second quarter.

This time, the outcome was markedly different. Packers cornerback Kevin King intercepted the ball, and Green Bay took over at its own 10-yard line. 

Aaron Rodgers then used the remaining 1:07 of the game to drive the Packers nearly the length of the field to set up kicker Mason Crosby for the game-winning field goal. The 49ers left Green Bay with their fourth loss of the season.

[RELATED: 49ers' best moment of the 2018 season involves George Kittle]

There are three other honorable mentions of heart-breaking 49ers moments:

-- In Week 4 against the Chargers, the 49ers had a chance to regain the lead in the fourth quarter after they led 14-0 earlier in the game. With 2:38 left on the clock, Beathard threw a short pass intended for Alfred Morris, but Chargers defensive end Isaac Rochell picked off the throw, and the 49ers subsequently lost 29-27.

-- Week 8 provoked similar feelings when Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen threw to five different receivers in his TD drive to put Arizona ahead 16-15 late in the fourth quarter. The ensuing two-point conversion to Larry Fitzgerald took the wind out of the 49ers' sails, but their last offensive play of the game was the most heart-dropping.

With seven seconds left on the clock, the 49ers were at Arizona’s 45-yard line. Center Erik Magnuson, who was in for Weston Richburg, fumbled the snap and lost any chance the 49ers had of tying the score.

-- Eli Manning’s game-winning touchdown drive in Week 10 with the 2:46 left on the game clock put the Giants ahead 27-23. The 49ers got the ball back with 53 seconds left in the game but couldn’t produce, and suffered their eighth loss of the season.

George Kittle 82-yard catch-and-run TD is 49ers' play of 2018 thus far

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USATSI

George Kittle 82-yard catch-and-run TD is 49ers' play of 2018 thus far

Editor’s note: The 49ers break for the bye week with a 2-8 record. This is part of a series that recaps the first 10 games with an eye to the future. In this installment, we look at the best moment from the first 10 weeks.

The 49ers have just two wins, so it could be argued their best moments so far this season have come when the game clock hit 0:00 at the end of those two games.

But if you're really taking only one singular moment, there’s no comparison as to which to chose.

It happened in Week 4, with a little less than three minutes left on the clock in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers. That's when 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard found tight end George Kittle wide open 20 yards downfield with a pass. Kittle did the rest, running 60 yards diagonally to the left edge of the end zone for a touchdown.

It still stands as the 49ers' longest pass play of 2018. It also was the longest play in the NFL this season until Cleveland Browns rookie running back Nick Chubb ripped off a 92-yard run in Week 10.

Beathard and Kittle’s incredible play marked the first time the Iowa stars had connected for a touchdown in their football careers. They have played together since they were freshmen for the Hawkeyes.

After the game, Kittle explained the 49ers had been working on the play for a while. He was just waiting for it to be called.

“Safeties playing on the opposite hash, the guy drops me because he thinks I’m running vertical, C.J. finds me," Kittle said, "and [I] got a good cut on the safety. He kind of stumbled, and just got a run from there.”

While the game didn’t end how the 49ers wanted -- the Chargers won 29-27 -- Kittle explained the play did give them momentum toward a comeback after trailing by nine points. It gave the fans hope, too.

“After I caught my breath, yes. I was ready," Kittle said. "The defense got a three-and-out, and we got a field goal the next time to put us in the lead. I was pretty excited about that.”

Kittle has enjoyed an extremely productive season, with 50 catches for 775 yards, putting him on pace to break 1,200 yards for the season. His 15.5 yards per reception ranks third among NFL tight ends behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' O.J. Howard (16.8) and the Pittsburgh Steelers' Jesse James (15.6). It also lands Kittle 18th among wide receivers and tight ends combined.