Instant Replay: 49ers fall in Miami, lose franchise-record 10th straight

Instant Replay: 49ers fall in Miami, lose franchise-record 10th straight


MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The 49ers on Sunday earned a piece of club history – the ignominious kind.

The franchise, which opened for business in 1946, lost for the 10th consecutive time to stand alone as the longest streak of futility the organization has ever endured.

The Miami Dolphins on Sunday took advantage of a couple of critical 49ers mistakes then held off a late charge en route to a 31-24 victory that erased the woeful 1978 team from San Francisco’s record book.

The 49ers had a chance to score a potential game-tying touchdown in the final seconds, but quarterback Colin Kaepernick was stopped just short of the goal line by the Dolphins' defense as time expired.

A season that started with promise – a 28-0 victory over the Los Angeles Rams – has completely blown apart on first-year coach Chip Kelly. The 49ers are 1-10 entering next week’s game at the Chicago Bears.

In a season in which the team is reliving the same recipe for disaster every week, it was more of the same on Sunday.

While Kaepernick continued to play well as the 49ers’ top offensive threat, whether he’s running or pass, he did not get a whole lot of help from his targets on the other end.

Tight end Garrett Celek lost a fumble in the first half to thwart a 49ers scoring chance. And on the first playoff the second half, wide receiver Torrey Smith let a pass deflect off his hands for an interception.

Those miscues led to 10 points for the Dolphins, who improved to 7-4 under first-year coach Adam Gase. The Dolphins extended their win streak to six games.

The 49ers in 2015 passed on Gase, who was a finalist for the head-coaching job. Instead, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke settled on Jim Tomsula, who was promoted from his position as defensive line coach to replace Jim Harbaugh.

Tomsula was fired after the 49ers went 5-11 in his only season. The Dolphins hired Gase in January, while the 49ers tabbed Kelly to replace Tomsula.

Now, the 49ers are actually worse under Kelly.

In a script that has been repeated often this season, the 49ers actually started off strong and competitive on Sunday.

After the 49ers’ defense produced a three-and-out on the Dolphins first possession, Kaepernick and the 49ers offense took the field to a chorus of boos from the crowd. But Kaepernick quickly silenced jeers when he picked up 14 yards on a run play on the 49ers’ first play.

The 49ers put together an impressive opening drive, marching 62 yards on eight plays, capped by Kaepernick’s 11-yard touchdown pass to running back Carlos Hyde.

It was Hyde’s 40th career reception and his first NFL receiving touchdown.

In the second half, Kaepernick had short touchdown passes to Celek of 4 yards and Smith of 1 yard.

Kaepernick had another solid showing for the 49ers. He completed 29 of 46 pass attempts for 296 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Kaepernick also led the 49ers in rushing with 113 yards on 10 carries.

Kaepernick is fifth player since the 1970 merger with 100 rush yards rushing and three touchdown passes in a game. Randall Cunningham, Michael Vick, Cam Newton and Marcus Mariota each previously accomplished the feat.

However, Miami got a huge day from quarterback Ryan Tannehill on a day in which the 49ers' run defense slowed down running back Jay Ajayi. Tannehill was spectacular in picking the 49ers apart. He completed 20 of 30 passes for 285 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

49ers injury report
Linebacker Shayne Skov, a second-year player from Stanford, sustained a knee injury late in the first half and was ruled out from returning to the action against the Miami Dolphins.

Wide receiver Quinton Patton was diagnosed with a concussion in the third quarter. He must go through the NFL’s return-to-play protocol to be cleared to play in next week’s game against the Chicago Bears.

Skov was injured while covering a punt late in the first half. He required assistance to leave the field from the 49ers' medical staff.

Skov has appeared in nine games this season, mostly on special teams. He played a handful of snaps on Sunday at middle linebacker in the first half when Nick Bellore left briefly with an injury.

Squandering a chance
The 49ers’ offense was putting together a good drive in the second quarter when Celek fumbled at the end of a 15-yard pass play. Cornerback Byron Maxwell forced the fumble and linebacker Kiko Alonso made the recovery.

The 49ers had driven 59 yards from their 25-yard line before the turnover. Kaepernick picked up 30 yards on a scramble on a third-down play to extend the drive.

The Dolphins took over and immediately drove 84 yards on 11 plays to score the go-ahead touchdown.

This ‘n’ that
--The 49ers received a brief reprieve when Tannehill’s 10-yard pass to DeVante Parker, originally ruled as a touchdown, was overturned on review. Referee Ron Torbert determined Parker’s hand touched out of bounds before his second foot landed inbounds.

Two plays later, Ajaji beat 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold around the left edge on a pitch to score a 2-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-all.

--The Dolphins took a 14-7 lead late in the first half on Tannehill’s 16-yard pass to tight end Dion Sims between Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt.

--Tannehill hit Kenny Stills on a 43-yard pass for a 24-14 lead in the third quarter. Tannehill squeezed the pass into Stills along the left sideline before safety Antoine Bethea could get there to cover the play.

--The Dolphins lead was extended to 31-14 on Tannehill’s 15-yard pass to rookie wide receiver Leonte Carroo early in the fourth quarter.

--Cornerback Jimmie Ward was cleared to play in the game after being in the NFL’s concussion return-to-play protocol all week. He returned to the starting lineup.

--Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch (ankle) and defensive lineman Quinton Dial (knee and neck) were delared inactive for the game.

--The Dolphins did not have three of their starting offensive linemen available for the game. Left tackle Branden Albert (wrist), left guard Laremy Tunsil (shoulder) and center Mike Pouncey (hip) were all inactive due to injuries.

--Rookie defensive lineman Ronald Blair recorded his first unassisted sack of the season. His third-quarter sack gave him 1.5 sacks on the season. The 9-yard sack pushed the Dolphins out of field-goal range.

Four 49ers players to watch Sunday vs. Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium

Four 49ers players to watch Sunday vs. Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium

The 49ers have not won in Kansas City since 1982.

OK, maybe it’s not as bad as it seems. After all, that streak consists of just four games. But the past three games have been Chiefs blowout victories of 44-9 in 1997, 41-0 in 2006, and 31-10 in 2010.

Arrowhead Stadium is considered one of the most difficult outdoor venues for opposing teams in the NFL. And things should be rocking on Sunday when second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes makes his first start at home. 

Here are four 49ers who can help spoil what the folks in Kansas City expect to be a festive day.

LB Reuben Foster

Foster returns to action on Sunday after missing the first two games of the season due to a suspension for violations of the NFL’s policies on substances of abuse and personal conduct. His presence should provide a boost to the 49ers, who got uneven play at the weakside linebacker spot during his absence.

Foster is a dynamic playmaker who should help offset some of Kansas City’s speed advantage. Foster is likely to start, alongside middle linebacker Fred Warner, giving the 49ers a player who can range sideline-to-sideline to track down explosive running back Kareem Hunt.

The 49ers also expect veteran linebacker Malcolm Smith to make his 49ers debut after missing all of last season with a torn pectoral and the first two games this season with a hamstring injury. The 49ers will undoubtedly find a way to get Smith on the field with Foster and Warner.

RB Matt Breida

The 49ers must match Kansas City’s big-play ability with some of their own. Veteran running back Alfred Morris is the grinder. Breida is the home-run hitter.

Breida enters Sunday’s game as the NFL’s leading rusher with 184 yards on just 22 rushing attempts. In the 49ers’ 30-27 victory over the Detroit Lions last week, Breida accounted for 159 yards from scrimmage. His 11.4 yards per touch was the highest verage for a 49ers running back since Frank Gore averaged 11.7 yards per touch in game against Seattle in 2009.

The 49ers must establish their outside zone running game, which should help slow down the Kansas City pass rush in order to enable quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to make some plays down the field.

CB Ahkello Witherspoon

The 49ers’ first two opponents have virtually ignored their receivers on the side of the field where Richard Sherman lines up. On the other side, Witherspoon has seen a lot of action. And that does not figure to change this week after he struggled in coverage against the Lions.

Witherspoon is not 100 percent, as he nurses an ankle injury. But he the 49ers say he is expected to play. If he is cleared to play and he says he can play, he is held to the same standard as everyone else. Mahomes will test Witherspoon early and often. And if Witherspoon is not up to the task, especially in attempting to run with wide receiver Tyreek Hill, the 49ers will have to consider once against taking him off the field in order to give the team its best chance of coming out of Kansas City with a victory.

TE George Kittle

Kittle had a big game in the opener at Minnesota, and it could have been a whole lot better. Last week, he was not a big part of the team’s game plan.

This week, he might be needed to quickly beat man coverage in the middle of the field and make plays as Garoppolo and the 49ers’ offense will aim to quiet the boisterous crowd at Arrowhead Stadium.

Garoppolo was sacked six times against Detroit, and a lot of the 49ers' problems stemmed from the receivers’ inability to get open quickly. That is where Kittle must excel, in order to give Garoppolo quick and easy solutions to beat the pressure. Kittle has seven catches for 112 yards through two games to lead the team, and he might need to have a huge game for the 49ers to pull off the upset.

49ers notes: Raheem Mostert looks to stop Chiefs speedster Tyreek Hill

49ers notes: Raheem Mostert looks to stop Chiefs speedster Tyreek Hill

Raheem Mostert has been an under-the-radar outstanding player for the 49ers the past two seasons. On Sunday, his presence could be a huge part of the team’s bid to leave Arrowhead Stadium with a victory.

Kansas City speedster Tyreek Hill is one of the most dangerous players in the NFL. In addition to being a big-play threat at wide receiver, Hill has returned four punts for touchdowns in his 33-game career, including one this season.

“Tyreek Hill is as good as anyone in this league every time he touches the ball, whether it’s at running back, receiver, punt returner, kick returner,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said on “49ers Game Plan,” which airs on NBC Bay Area (Ch. 3) on Saturday at 7 p.m.

“It does not matter. He’s got a chance to score every time. It really helps when you have, in my opinion, the best gunner in the league.”

Mostert is the 49ers’ best special-teams player and leads the NFL with six special-teams tackles. He might not be the only answer the 49ers have in their quest to keep Hill in check, but if punter Bradley Pinion gives him a returnable punt, Mostert can erase the mistake.

It’s a matchup of speed versus speed. According to the 49ers, Mostert was clocked last week at 23.68 mph running down the field. Hill’s top speed, as tracked by Zebra, the NFL’s on-field player-tracking provider, was 23.24 mph.

“He can get down there as good as anyone,” Shanahan said of Mostert. “And he’s fearless and he’ll run through someone, legally, and usually make that play.”

Mostert said he has been studying Hill and detected a number of different moves that he can use to make the first person miss.

“He’s got short-area quickness,” Mostert said. “You could put him in a phone booth, and he’ll can still make somebody miss. You have to be careful.”

Good as Gould

Robbie Gould broke the 49ers record last week with his 30th consecutive made field-goal attempt. The league record is 44, which Adam Vinatieri set in 2015 and ’16.

In a league in which kickers are losing their jobs every week, Gould, 35, is still going strong in his 14th NFL season. He was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after kicking three field goals and setting the club record for consecutive kicks in a 30-27 win over the Detroit Lions.

“You’ve got to be mentally tough and have a team that believes in you and will stick with you until you figure it out a little bit,” Gould said. “I was lucky enough to have that with Chicago when I was young. But I think the biggest thing is, teams want to win and they want to win now. When you’re young, you’re going to make mistakes. Things are going to happen and you just have to come back and rebound from it.”

Gould ranks the places he’s kicked -- Chicago, New York and Santa Clara -- as three of the most difficult in the NFL because of the weather conditions. He said the wind is constantly shifting at Levi’s Stadium.

This ‘n’ that

The last time Shanahan went to Arrowhead Stadium, he said, was in 1997 when it was his job to hold the cord for his father’s headset. Kyle Shanahan’s father, Mike, coached the Denver Broncos to a 14-10 victory over the Chiefs that day. “That was the last year that people were holding cords,” Shanahan said of the NFL’s conversion to wireless headsets. The Broncos ended up defeating the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII. “I was the last guy to hold cords in the Super Bowl,” Shanahan said. “That’s my claim to fame.” ...

The NFL fined Lions running back LeGarrette Blount $10,026 for coming off the sideline to level 49ers linebacker Elijah Lee after Lee hit Matthew Stafford near the sideline on Sunday. Stafford did not run out of bounds. Lee was not penalized or fined for the play. ...

Shanahan said it is likely that cornerback Richard Sherman will have a reduced practice schedule this season. Left tackle Joe Staley already has a scheduled day off from practice every week. “Anybody right at that 30 age, we try to change their practice schedule a little bit,” Shanahan said. “Once you hit that 30 mark, from a starting point, we don’t always like to practice you all three days. Some guys we do, it depends on how much they go and stuff. But, as the year gets going, not just Sherm but anyone really over 30, will probably be having their practice schedule altered.”