49ers

Kyle Shanahan would've liked Jimmy Garoppolo to step out of bounds

Kyle Shanahan would've liked Jimmy Garoppolo to step out of bounds

Immediately after Jimmy Garoppolo suffered his season-ending knee injury Sunday, 49ers fans asked one question: Why didn’t the quarterback just step out of bounds on that fateful play in Kansas City?

Well, NBC Sports Bay Area 49ers insider Matt Maiocco asked Kyle Shanahan that very question during his press conference Monday. The 49ers coach’s answer was as lengthy as it was revealing.

“I think everyone’s [response] is the same after it happened. ‘Why didn’t you just get out of bounds?’ “ Shanahan said. “I think it’s a reminder to all quarterbacks and coaches. Just turn on the tape any Sunday, and you’re going to watch 15 plays by quarterbacks jumping over people, not getting out of bounds, doing a little extra to move the chains where it’s a hell of a play and everyone’s glad they did it. Then, you see some guys get out of bounds, and you’re like, ‘Yeah, that’s what you’re supposed to do.’ 

"Then, you have something like this that you’re reminded of why you do coach that and why quarterbacks should do it. But, those guys are competitive guys who want to do whatever they can to win the game. You’re not assuming just by going and staying in bounds you’re going to tear your knee up. Sometimes, you get hit a lot harder because of that, which is what I thought happened until I heard later.

“But, I think that’s something that Jimmy will probably look at differently going forward because I know he’ll remember this the rest of his life. Nothing against him. I think this happens with everyone. Like I said, you see it every Sunday.

“I think it’s just a reminder for everyone why that is the obvious coaching point and why you need to stick with that.”

Shanahan is right that Garoppolo won’t soon forget his decision. It cost him the remainder of this season, and now he’ll have to look forward to rehab and 2019.

“He’s down, just as everyone would expect,” Shanahan said. “Jimmy was real excited about this year, and we were real excited to go through it with him. Got to go through a few games, but I know he was very disappointed. I know it was hard for him last night, it was hard today, and it’ll be hard over these next few weeks.

“But, Jimmy is a tough person. He’ll bounce back from this, and he’ll be ready to go next year.”

NFL coaches likely will show their quarterbacks video of the play, hoping to avoid the same fate the 49ers now face. Shanahan, though, is confident in what Garoppolo will be when he returns next season and what C.J. Beathard can be in the interim.

“Quarterbacks can come back from knee injuries. They do it all the time,” Shanahan said. “I don’t think this will affect him going forward. Yeah, he’ll have a long recovery. He’ll have to heal. But, right when the offseason starts, I think he’ll be there. ...

“So, I’m still very excited about Jimmy and the future of him here, and I feel fortunate that we have a backup quarterback that we have a lot of confidence in.”

Saints' Sean Payton snaps over failed two-point conversion vs. 49ers

Saints' Sean Payton snaps over failed two-point conversion vs. 49ers

Saints coach Sean Payton wasn't in a mood to be second-guessed following his team's last-minute Week 14 loss to the 49ers.

San Francisco ultimately won the thrilling back-and-forth matchup by two measly points -- a game in which New Orleans attempted two two-point conversions.

Both failed.

After Tre'Quan Smith scored on an 18-yard touchdown pass to give New Orleans a 46-45 lead with 53 seconds remaining, quarterback Drew Brees went back to the same well for the two-point conversion attempt, but the pass intended fell incomplete. On the ensuing possession, 49ers tight end George Kittle caught a 39-yard reception on fourth-and-2, eventually setting up a game-winning Robbie Gould 30-yard field goal as time expired.

But after the tough loss, it was the former two-point try, not the latter, that Payton was questioned about -- while shopping for groceries, no less.

"I certainly understand the fans asking questions," Payton said Thursday on his weekly WWL Radio show. "I got the guy at frickin' Whole Foods asking me about the two-point play. I looked at him, the guy in the meat section, and I said, 'Hey, your steaks don't look too good right now. Worry about your frickin' meat.' "

Oh man. What's the over/under on how many "Worry about your frickin' meat" shirts will be at the Superdome when the Saints host the Colts on Monday night?

The play in question occurred midway through the first quarter, after Saints tight end Jared Cook hauled in his second touchdown reception of the contest. The 49ers were assessed a personal foul on the play, and rather than take the yardage on the kickoff, Payton couldn't pass up being so close to the goal line.

On the two-point try, Brees handed the ball off to a motioning Taysom Hill, who promptly was stuffed by multiple San Francisco defenders well short of the end zone. 

"I didn't feel like kicking a touchback, thought about kicking an onside kick," Payton explained. "So on the 1-yard line, I think we're gonna get two points. And then we get the defense misaligned -- obviously it doesn't have any success. And then the game ends, and, 'Why were you going for two?' Because I wanted to. We were on the 1-yard line."

Misaligned, huh? Payton was correct in stating that the 49ers were in an atypical alignment with two safeties on the same side of the field, but according to San Francisco defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, that was intentional.

"We knew it was coming," Saleh said Thursday in response to Payton's claim that one of the safeties accidentally lined up on the wrong side. "I’m not going to say he wasn’t on the right side because of the way we execute certain things and all our different goal-line packages that we have, but that play was a gimme one to me with Taysom Hill where he was aligned. That was a layup in my opinion."

[RELATED: 49ers severely battered, bruised with three regular-season games to go]

The tape sure seems to suggest the 49ers knew what was coming:

The Saints hung 46 points on the 49ers, so clearly, not many of Payton's play-calls were of the layup variety. But the first two-point attempt?

You might say he butchered that one.

George Kittle's strong run-blocking skills for 49ers proved by stat

George Kittle's strong run-blocking skills for 49ers proved by stat

"George Kittle, not really a blocker ... "

We didn't say this, but FS1's Doug Gottlieb sure did. And Gottlieb certainly heard the comments from everyone online essentially saying he didn't know what he was talking about.

But if you still need numbers to back up the 49ers tight end's elite blocking skills, Next Gen Stats has you covered: 

Kittle certainly has a presence -- both in the run and the pass game -- and the numbers show that. 

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has praised Kittle's run-blocking game before, which only adds to the evidence proving sometimes, it's best to watch Kittle continue in his greatness -- no comments necessary.

[RELATED: Kittle was key success in run game vs. Ravens]

To add to it, Gottlieb's comments came after the 49ers' Week 13 20-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, one where the tight end received an overall 72.9 grade from Pro Football Focus and a 78.1 run-blocking grade.

That was Kittle's best run-blocking grade of the season to that point.