49ers

Matt Breida should be his healthiest in weeks for 49ers-Giants game

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MATT MAIOCCO

Matt Breida should be his healthiest in weeks for 49ers-Giants game

SANTA CLARA -- Running back Matt Breida has been listed as questionable for five of the 49ers’ last six games.

He has not missed a game.

In fact, after giving the subject some thought, Breida disclosed he has not missed a game since his freshman year of high school, when he sat out with a broken forearm.

“You just play through it,” Breida said. “You’re never really going to be healthy. I think there are a lot of guys, it depends on whether or not they’re willing to play or they want to play or if they can play.”

Breida has started every game since Week 2 of this season despite dealing with knee, shoulder and ankle issues. When the season opened, he was expected to share the load with veteran Alfred Morris. But Breida has taken over as the team's primary back.

Breida leads the 49ers with 531 yards and two touchdowns on 96 rushing attempts. He ranks ninth in the NFL, and nobody with more rushing yards can top his 5.5-yard average.

While coach Kyle Shanahan gave the team four days off after the 49ers’ 34-3 victory over the Raiders last Thursday, there were no days off for Breida, who received regular treatment on his ailing body parts.

“It definitely helped me out a lot,” Breida said. “I’m starting to get back on the right track.”

Breida should be the healthiest he has been since Week 3 -- when he sustained a knee sprain in Kansas City -- on Monday when the 49ers face the New York Giants at Levi’s Stadium. Then, he will get additional time to recover during the bye week before he returns to his home area with a Nov. 25 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In Week 4, Breida’s shoulder popped out against the Los Angeles Chargers. One week later against the Arizona Cardinals, he sustained an ankle sprain. He compared the injuries this season to what he experienced as a sophomore at Georgia Southern, when he played through shoulder and ankle issues.

Earlier this season, Shanahan suggested the 49ers might give Breida a week off to rest his body. But Breida has been such an important part of the offense, and he insisted on playing. This is the first week in a while that there is no question Breida will be available.

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

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USATSI

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.