49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo takes 'good step' in 49ers' preseason win over Chiefs

Jimmy Garoppolo takes 'good step' in 49ers' preseason win over Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan vowed to keep Jimmy Garoppolo in Saturday night’s preseason game long enough for the quarterback to show he could get the offense into a rhythm.

That’s exactly what happened. 

“It was definitely better than the week before, and that would have been hard not to do,” Shanahan said. “It was cool that they got to stay out there longer, get into a little bit of a rhythm.”

Garoppolo did his best to not pay attention to negative publicity after his unproductive 11 snaps Monday night in Denver, and he ended up playing 37 snaps with the first-team offense in Saturday’s 27-17 win over the Chiefs. 

“You have to ignore it and just go play football,” Garoppolo said. “I thought it was a good step coming back here to K.C., the place where it all started. Just to get that out of the way, it’s another step in the right direction.” 

During pregame, Garoppolo even went to the exact spot at Arrowhead Stadium where he tore his ACL last season to reflect on what he’s gone through since the injury happened. 

“Pregame, I wanted to check on the spot,” Garoppolo said. “Once I did that, it was over with, time to move on.

“A lot has happened in the year since then. I don’t know, I just thought it’d be good to go back there and remember everything I’ve gone through.” 

That moment might have been just what the quarterback needed. Over five separate drives, Garoppolo threw to 10 different receivers, and completed 14 of his 20 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown, giving him a 116.2 rating. Garoppolo’s longest throw was a 33-yarder to Richie James in the first quarter.

“It was good,” Garoppolo said. “It was a lot different than last week. Like I said, once you get the first first down, then you start to get into a rhythm. The run game was looking real good. I barely got touched except for the one sack, but the line blocked tremendously upfront. So, that makes everything a lot easier.” 

Shanahan explained that the progress from Garoppolo’s first game back to his second is natural. 

“It’s not a big surprise when a guy is out for a long time, especially coming off an ACL,” Shanahan said. “That’s just how football goes sometimes, especially in the preseason.

”Last week wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked. But it definitely did look that bad live. Today, everyone was on the page a little bit better.”

Shanahan reported that Garoppolo was relatively even-keeled throughout the week, but the coach did see a little emotion out of his signal-caller. 

“A little bit,” Shanahan said. “Jimmy does get amped up sometimes, which I think can be a quality. It’s definitely a quality at times. Sometimes when it’s hard to focus, you have to bring them down a little bit, so you deal with that ebb and flow in games and throughout the week, throughout the season.” 

[RELATED: What we learned about 49ers in preseason win vs. Chiefs]

Garoppolo’s productivity set the pace for the rest of the 49ers’ offense, which managed 23 first downs and 381 total yards over 68 total plays.

The next time Garoppolo will see live game action is Week 1 at Tampa Bay, as he’s expected to sit out next week’s preseason finale against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Where 'The Catch,' 'Immaculate Reception' should stand in NFL history

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AP/USATSI

Where 'The Catch,' 'Immaculate Reception' should stand in NFL history

The Bay Area was on the wrong side of one of the most iconic plays in NFL history, and the right side of another. 

The Raiders remained stuck in the marital party rather than matrimony when Franco Harris' "Immaculate Reception" gave the upstart Pittsburgh Steelers a 13-7 win over the Silver and Black in the 1972 AFC Divisional Round. The loss in Pittsburgh was coach Jon Madden's third consecutive in the conference playoffs, and the legendary coach would lose three consecutive AFC championships before winning Super Bowl XI -- the Raiders' first. The Steelers would not win the Super Bowl or the year after, but the victory over the Raiders was Chuck Noll's first in the postseason and marked the first of eight straight playoff berths for the team that would define the 1970s. 

Just shy of a decade later, the 49ers kick-started their dynasty with another catch against an iconic franchise. Dwight Clark's 6-yard touchdown reception from Joe Montana, known simply as "The Catch," sent the 49ers to their first Super Bowl berth -- and their first of five wins. Clark's game-winning back-of-the-end-zone grab against the Dallas Cowboys has been immortalized with a pair of statues outside Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, and marks the true turning point in San Francisco's dynastic era. 

NFL Media recently ranked "The Immaculate Reception" and "The Catch" No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, on its list of 100 greatest plays in NFL history. It's hard to think of two more iconic moments, but is that the right order? Let's examine the case for each play. 

The case for 'The Immaculate Reception'

Is it possible to imagine this play without NFL Films' "Classic Battle" playing underneath or John Facenda's voice? Yet, the iconic shot of Harris catching Terry Bradshaw's ricocheted pass intended for John Fuqua inches before it hit the ground has done nothing to dispel the controversy surrounding the play. 

Officials ultimately determined that the ball deflected off of hard-hitting Raiders safety Jack Tatum and into the arms of Harris following Bradshaw's desperate fourth-and-10 heave, thus making the catch legal. Had they ruled Fuqua only touched it, it would have been an illegal catch on the last play of the game, and the Raiders would have moved on and advanced to the AFC Championship Game. 

Iconic, improbable imagery and an ahead-of-its time officiating controversy? "The Immaculate Reception" really is the NFL bottled down to its essence, containing the perfect combination of components that keep football fans coming back -- with plenty of grievances. 

The case for 'The Catch'

There have been a lot of catches in NFL history, but there is only one "Catch." Well, unless you're a 49ers fan counting Terrell Owens and Vernon Davis' playoff game-winning touchdown grabs as proper sequels. 

"The Catch" has only been aided by time. The 49ers won four more Super Bowls after winning their first two weeks following the win over Tom Landry and the Cowboys. For the rest of his illustrious career, Landry would not win more games (12) than he did in the 1981 season and he would not lose by a closer margin in a playoff game than the one-point defeat in the NFC championship. Had the 49ers not won, it's possible Landry's Cowboys dynasty would have found second life against the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI, setting off all sorts of hypotheticals over the ensuing decades.

Meanwhile, Joe Montana went on to become one of, if not the most iconic quarterback in NFL history, and "The Catch" tops the list of his iconic moments. His John Candy-inspired game-winning drive in Super Bowl XXIII and dominant fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles months later are all well and good, but "The Catch" truly is when he -- and Clark -- became legends in the Bay Area and beyond. 

[RELATED: How AB's Raiders-to-Patriots could cost him $29M]

Verdict

You could flip a coin on these two plays and come up with the right answer. But for our money, "The Catch" gets the edge for its impact on NFL history. 

Had "The Immaculate Reception" gone the other way, the Raiders' eventual Super Bowl coronation likely would have had to wait, anyway. The Steelers lost in the 1972 AFC Championship Game to the Miami Dolphins who, as we are reminded each and every season, is the only team in the Super Bowl era to win all of its regular-season and playoff games. The Steelers would also need to wait another two seasons before winning their first Super Bowl. 

"The Catch," meanwhile, truly began the 49ers' reign over the 1980s. If it had gone the other way, does that ever truly begin? Do the Bengals knock off "America's Team" in the ensuing Super Bowl, ending their status as one of the NFL's preeminent sad-sack franchises? If the Cowboys win, does that buy Landry time with Jerry Jones? Does Jones still buy the team? 

Clark's touchdown reception marked a turning point for the 49ers and the rest of the NFL. For that reason, "The Catch" gets the narrow edge. 

49ers injury report: Game-time decision if Dee Ford will play vs. Steelers

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AP

49ers injury report: Game-time decision if Dee Ford will play vs. Steelers

Defensive end Dee Ford is feeling better after sitting out the second half of the 49ers’ game last week against the Cincinnati Bengals with discomfort in his knee and quadriceps, coach Kyle Shanahan said.

“Hopefully, he’ll be feeling good on Sunday,” Shanahan said. “He said he felt good. He looked good walking through. But I know that’ll go all the way up to Sunday.”

Ford, who is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, sat out practices Wednesday and Thursday. He was scheduled to take part in limited practice on Friday, but the 49ers dialed back their planned practice to a walk-through at their Santa Clara facility because of the high intensity of the practices earlier in the week.

“I know he’s feeling better now than he has the last few days, but he’s still not fully there, yet,” Shanahan said of Ford. “We’ll see how these last 48 hours go. Hopefully, they go well. If it does, I know he feels confident to go out there, especially with time off the following week.”

The 49ers face the Steelers on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium. After the game, the club will have a bye week before returning to action on Monday, Oct. 7, against the Cleveland Browns.

Rookie defensive end Nick Bosa (ankle), and safeties Jaquiski Tartt (toe) and Jimmie Ward (hand) are also listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. Bosa and Tartt are expected to play, while Ward is likely to miss his third consecutive game to open the season.

Shanahan said he expects rookie wide receiver Jalen Hurd to be available after the bye week. Hurd has sat out five weeks with a back condition.

“He’s on track,” Shanahan said of Hurd. “We’ll see how it is once we get back from the bye week. I know he has a lot of work to do when we all get away from here a little bit for the four days. It’ll be big the work he puts in when we’re away. We expect him to be ready when we get back.”

The 49ers will not have the services of wide receiver Trent Taylor for at least eight weeks after he underwent surgery to repair a Jones fracture on his right foot. The bone has healed, Shanahan said, but there were issues with some of the soft tissue around the bone on the outside of his foot that has caused a flareup. Taylor is eligible to return to action on Nov. 17 against the Arizona Cardinals.

[RELATED: 49ers place Taylor on IR, re-sign Young]

The 49ers placed Taylor on injured reserve and signed veteran offensive tackle Sam Young. Shanahan said he does not think Young will be active and in uniform for Sunday’s game.

49ers injury report

OUT
RB Tevin Coleman (ankle)
WR Jalen Hurd (back)
OT Joe Staley (leg)
WR Trent Taylor (foot) – injured reserve

Questionable
DE Dee Ford (quadriceps
S Jaquiski Tartt (toe)
DE Nick Bosa (ankle)
DB Jimmie Ward (hand)

Steelers injury report

OUT
FB Roosevelt Nix (knee)
LB Vince Williams (hamstring)
LB Anthony Chickillo (foot)