NaVorro Bowman left lasting impression on George Kittle and Trent Taylor


NaVorro Bowman left lasting impression on George Kittle and Trent Taylor

SANTA CLARA -- NaVorro Bowman not only made an impact on the 49ers fan base, but Trent Taylor and George Kittle shared their first impressions of the All-Pro linebacker. 

“Yeah, I was terrified,” Kittle said. “He’s a monster, are you kidding me? I was a rookie coming from Iowa. I didn’t run a lot of routes so going against a guy like that was awesome. I’m pretty sure my entire OTAs he would just do curls down the entree rack before practice so he’d look even bigger for practice. Terrifying."

“Absolutely, yeah,” Taylor confirmed. “Me and Kittle were rookies at the time and I knew I wasn’t trying to get anywhere close to him. He was a scary looking dude.” 

Both Kittle and Taylor, while being wary of the veteran linebacker, spoke about the example Bowman set at the facility. 

“He and Joe [Staley] have done a really good job of setting the standard of how you practice,” Kittle said. “NaVorro has always done a great job of high intensity every play, didn’t take plays off, ran to the ball, great vocal leader, everything you want in a guy.”  

“Bowman was a great teammate,” Taylor said. “I enjoyed every second I played with him. I was just a rookie at the time but every now and then, we would have some conversations on the side. He would help me out with little stuff here and there, like what he thought of my game. 

“He was one of the coolest dudes to be around. Just the fact that he was so good for so long and I was just a young rookie coming in there and he treated me with respect and he was a hard worker even in his later years so that was really cool to play with him for that short amount of time.”  

Coach Kyle Shanahan brought Bowman into the final huddle of practice to break it down one last time. He spoke about having each other's backs and playing hard this coming season.   

“He was a four-time All-Pro,” Kittle said. “That’s not bad. Just a guy like that. He did it for so long here and he did it right. He played in big games, He won big games. 

[RELATED: Bowman announces NFL retirement]

“He was the reason, didn’t he have a pick-six at Candlestick the last game ever? He’s just a guy who was born to make big plays. So having a guy come back and finish his career here and retire, it’s an honor to be able to be a part of the team when he does it.” 

“That was really cool,” Taylor said. “He deserves all of the respect in the world. All the respect from the organization. He did a lot in his career and just like the fire and passion that he played with. He was a really motivating guy for me and that’s the type of passion and fire that I want to play with myself, so a lot of respect for that guy.”

How 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo can enter NFL record books vs. Falcons

How 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo can enter NFL record books vs. Falcons

So ... is Jimmy Garoppolo still the 49ers' weak link?

He the sure hasn't been playing like it.

After tearing his ACL last season, it took Garoppolo some time to get fully comfortable on the football field. But as the season has drawn on, the 49ers quarterback has gotten better each week and has been the definition of deadly over the last month. As a result, Garoppolo has a chance to enter rare NFL company Sunday when the 49ers welcome the Atlanta Falcons to Levi's Stadium.

Garoppolo picked the Saints apart in Week 14, going 26-for-35 for 349 yards, four touchdowns, one interception and a 131.7 passer rating in the 49ers' 48-46 win at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. That performance marked the fourth consecutive game in which Garoppolo has completed at least 70 percent of his passes and compiled a passer rating of 110 or higher. That is even more impressive when you think about the conditions the 49ers and Ravens played in during Baltimore's Week 13 win. 

Should Jimmy G hit those two marks against the Falcons on Sunday, he'll tie Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes for the longest such streak of games during a single NFL season. Wilson had five straight games during the 2015 season, while Mahomes did the same last season.

[RELATED: Why Juice's wife was made at Breida during Saints win]

Garoppolo has been playing better and better each week as the 49ers continue their march to the No. 1 seed in the NFC and Jimmy G should be able to put up solid numbers Sunday as the Falcons. Atlanta has the NFL's 24th ranked pass defense, allowing 258.4 yards per game and opposing QBs are completing 67.7 percent of their passes against the Falcons secondary.

So there's no reason to think Jimmy G will be slowed down Sunday.

Why Kyle Juszczyk's wife was upset with 49ers' Matt Breida on Sunday

Why Kyle Juszczyk's wife was upset with 49ers' Matt Breida on Sunday

SANTA CLARA -- Fullback Kyle Juszczyk’s wife, Kristin, was watching the 49ers’ game Sunday on a flight from New York to the Bay Area when she saw her husband sustain an injury after catching a short pass in the fourth quarter.

“Immediately when I went down, she started crying,” Juszczyk said. “And, then, when I got up ... "

When Juszczyk got up following the penalized hit from New Orleans Saints safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Kristin saw something on the screen that made her direct her emotions toward 49ers running back Matt Breida.

“Oh, my, God, my wife freaked out,” Juszczyk said, laughing.

“When I got up, Breida hit me on the head, and she’s like, ‘I could f--king kill you, Breida!’ Classic.”

Breida was shown on live TV patting Juszczyk on his helmet several times as the 49ers’ fullback left the field en route to the medical tent for a mandatory concussion evaluation.

Inside the tent, Juszczyk was asked questions and tested for eye movement and stability. He did not experience any concussion symptoms and returned to the game.

“Luckily, my head was OK, so it didn’t matter,” Juszczyk said of his Breida’s ill-advised gesture of support.

Immediately after absorbing the hit, Juszczyk grabbed at his helmet with both hands.

[RELATED: 49ers fear top nose tackle D.J. Jones out for season]

“Honestly, it just kind of scared me,” he said. “You take that hit, and it did hurt my neck. So I just reached back there.”

Juszczyk said he still feels as if he was in a car accident, but his neck is feeling better due to a lot of treatment, including acupuncture. He was a full participant in the 49ers’ practice on Wednesday.