49ers

Kyle Shanahan's football mind at root of 49ers' dominant win vs. Bengals

Kyle Shanahan's football mind at root of 49ers' dominant win vs. Bengals

CINCINNATI -- As the jubilant 49ers squad returned the locker room, excited to return home after a 10-day stint on the road, on the opposite side of the stadium, a stunned Bengals team wondered what exactly had hit them. 

The 49ers offense got into a rhythm and there was no stopping them. They put 41 points up on the board and racked up 572 yards of offense. The defense sacked Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton four times and intercepted him once. That’s not to say the 49ers were perfect, because they weren’t. 

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw three touchdown passes, but still notched an interception on an obvious bad decision. There were blown coverages made by San Francisco's defense, but all-in-all it was a dominant performance on the field. 

What might have been the most crucial piece to the 49ers’ dominance of the Bengals was the football mind of Kyle Shanahan. The offense pulled out all the stops, using misdirection and even a trick play to throw Cincinnati off, and created mismatches that they were able to take advantage of. 

Shanahan and the offense left the Bengals defense dazed and confused. The evidence is in their postgame quotes. 

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor 

“We just need to be better with our eyes. They do a really good job with the play-actions off the run game. When they’re running the ball so successfully and you’re hell-bent on stopping the run, that’s when they pop one on you over the top. That’s where you saw that come from.”

“They can be sound in what they’re doing defensively by keeping everything in front of them. Offensively, they have all facets of their game open.” 

Cornerback William Jackson 

“They came out with a lot of gadget plays. They used every trick in the book.”

“It’s about having the right eyes and being in the right spot. They clearly play some Madden.” 

Defensive end Carlos Dunlap 

“They out-executed us with their game plan.”

“They challenged our eyes and leverage. All day.”

“It was everything. Pre-snap, post-snap, changing gaps and challenging us on the edge. They challenged us on the edge trying to bounce the ball. They were making more plays than us. I missed some plays early. We have to make plays.” 

Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick 

“They got us a little off. They got us rattled today. We definitely could have communicated better, and executed the plays better. For the most part, they played hard-nosed football and took it right to us today.”

“They ran a lot of trick plays -- a lot of misdirection plays. There are some things we have to work on, obviously. For the most part, to me personally, they just brought it to us. They outplayed us. They just shoved it down us. We couldn’t get it going today.” 

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo 

Jimmy G even recognized the rhythm that Shanahan was in calling plays in Cincinnati. He explained how it makes his job easier and keeps the momentum going.

“His mind is incredible,” Garoppolo said of his head coach. “Just how he’s two plays ahead while we’re running the current play. It makes everything so easy. When he gets in a rhythm like that, it puts everyone in a good position.”

[RELATED: Jimmy G tops fantasy QBs to add with Big Ben, Brees out]

Shanahan spoke earlier in the week about the staff working longer hours because they were on the road and away from their families. It paid dividends in Cincinnati, but hopefully they won’t have to sacrifice their personal lives for another strong performance in Week 3.

Deebo Samuel's insane catch in 49ers' win had Nate Burleson going nuts

Deebo Samuel's insane catch in 49ers' win had Nate Burleson going nuts

If 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel's incredible circus catch against the Cardinals on Sunday caused you to go crazy, you're not the only one.

Former NFL wide receiver and current NFL Network analyst Nate Burleson highlighted the catch in this week's edition of "Toe Drag Swag," and to say that 11-year veteran was impressed with the rookie was an understatement.

"Now this one is nasty," Burleson said. "Deebo Samuel. Don't forget about him. He goes up and gets this. It bounces off of the back pad, bounces off the helmet of [Patrick] Peterson and then he tracks the ball. Deebo Samuel is snatching footballs like the real Deebo in 'Friday' was snatching chains.

"But how 'bout that concentration, though? You're trying to catch it over the back of one of the best corners in the business. It bounces off his back, it bounces off his head and then you still have the awareness to get your feet down before you go out of bounds."

In case you need a refresher, here are a few slo-mo replays.

Burleson went on to shower the 2019 second-round pick with praise.

"Deebo Samuel, for a young player who is transitioning from position to position, has stepped up and is one the best targets that Jimmy Garoppolo has on this offense," Burleson said. "Look at this play again. Keeping his eyes on the ball the whole time, in between two defenders, and still gets his feet down for one of the best catches in the business."

[RELATED: Samuel makes history vs. Cardinals]

After catching 22 passes for 227 yards over the first seven games he played in this season, Samuel has broken out with 16 receptions for 246 yards combined the last two weeks. Garoppolo targeted the rookie wide receiver a total of 21 times against the Seahawks and Cardinals.

Samuel is starting to make a believer out of everyone, including Burleson.

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Why 49ers' Jeff Wilson enjoyed celebrating game-winning TD vs. Cardinals

Why 49ers' Jeff Wilson enjoyed celebrating game-winning TD vs. Cardinals

Jeff Wilson has done a lot with a little bit of playing time this season.

The 49ers running back has scored five touchdowns in seven games in 2019, finding the end zone on 10 percent of the offensive snaps in which he has lined up. His latest TD was the winning one in San Francisco's 36-26 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at Levi's Stadium.

It came on Wilson's lone offensive snap of the day, and he celebrated appropriately.

"It was just like all the pain I ever felt, all the mistakes I ever made, all the good times I ever had, just all that came out and went," Wilson told KNBR's "Papa & Lund" show Tuesday (H/T 49ers Webzone). "This game meant a lot to me. Obviously, just not playing the whole game, just to get one play, and then the play, you get in and score, and it's for a big moment for the game, it was just all so surreal to me."

[RELATED: How Packers, 49ers gave LaFleur bros 'win-win' situation]

The 49ers got by with a little help from their depth in Week 11, as backup tight end Ross Dwelley hauled in a pair of touchdowns in place of George Kittle and rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel played on more offensive snaps than anyone else at a skill position. Kittle and running back Matt Breida returning likely would push Dwelley and Wilson, respectively, down the depth chart for San Francisco's Sunday night matchup with the 8-2 Green Bay Packers.

If Wilson manages to get another scoring opportunity, the 49ers know they can trust him to deliver in a big moment and be ready to celebrate.