Richard Sherman's status for 49ers vs. Saints unclear with knee injury

Richard Sherman's status for 49ers vs. Saints unclear with knee injury

Strong safety Jaquiski Tartt fractured his ribs Sunday in the 49ers’ loss to the Baltimore Ravens, coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters.

But Tartt could be back on the field this week, along with cornerback Richard Sherman (knee) and nose tackle D.J. Jones (ankle), who also left Sunday’s game due to injuries. Shanahan listed each of those players as "day-to-day."

Backup defensive lineman Jullian Taylor is expected to miss multiple games with an ligament injury to his elbow, Shanahan said.

The 49ers return to practice Wednesday in Bradenton, Florida, to begin preparations to face the New Orleans Saints in Week 14.

Second-year player Marcell Harris replaced Tartt and played the final 28 snaps of the team's 20-17 loss. Harris had one of the team's big plays when he took the ball away from Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson on a running play.

Tartt's availability will be determined by how much pain he can tolerate.

"We’ll see how it reacts this week, but those are always real painful things and each one’s a little bit different for each person, so we’ll see how it goes," Shanahan said.

Sherman's availability for Sunday's game at New Orleans also is in question.

Following the game, Sherman jokingly blamed his age and NFL experience for the injury that forced him out of the game for a brief period of time in the second half.

“Yeah, old man, you know?” he said. “Nine years.”

Sherman was moving very gingerly after the game. Shanahan said he probably would already rule out Sherman from playing against the Saints, but he has a history of recovering quickly from injuries.

"He’s a guy that I would never rule out," Shanahan said. "I understand though. I see him walking the way you guys did, too. A normal person I probably would rule out just by the eye test, but you can never rule those type of guys out. They usually find a way to get there and as long as they show us enough then you usually give those guys an opportunity.

"That’s also why we’ve got to make sure that he’s good. Sometimes we’ve got to make tough decisions to protect them from themselves.”

If Sherman is unable to play, the 49ers will start Ahkello Witherspoon and Emmanuel Moseley at the cornerback positions.

[RELATED: Ravens vow to be ready for 49ers in Super Bowl rematch]

Four players missed Sunday’s game due to injuries, and Shanahan said he hopes to have three of those players – left tackle Joe Staley (finger), running back Matt Breida (ankle) and edge rusher Dee Ford (hamstring) -- back in action this week.

Backup wide receiver Dante Pettis (knee) is likely to miss at least another week, Shanahan said.

How Emmanuel Sanders trade helped 49ers, likely hurt Patriots' offense


How Emmanuel Sanders trade helped 49ers, likely hurt Patriots' offense

Two of the NFL’s best teams in 2019, the New England Patriots and 49ers, both faced a similar problem as the trade deadline approached.

The seemingly well-oiled machines had identified an identical issue: A lack of consistent play from the wide receivers.

While both teams attempted to rectify their passing-game issues at the deadline -- the 49ers dealt a pair of draft picks to the Denver Broncos for Emmanuel Sanders while the Patriots used a second-round pick to acquire Mohamed Sanu from Atlanta -- the results weren’t exactly analogous for the two contenders.

Sanders just completed a dominant performance in New Orleans, catching seven passes for 157 yards and a touchdown -- he threw for one, too. Meanwhile, Sanu caught just one pass for 13 yards in Week 14 as New England suffered a home loss at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Since Oct. 22, the day both players found their new homes, Sanders is averaging 10.44 receiving yards per target. Sanu? The former Falcon is averaging just 4.66 yards per target.

The 49ers reportedly balked at the price Atlanta wanted for Sanu, but the Patriots might have been better off bringing Sanders in, according to The Athletic’s Mike Sando.

"Sanu has been a solid receiver for a long time, but not as much of a downfield threat. Over the past four seasons, Sanders holds a 67-44 edge over Sanu in passes gaining more than 15 yards, despite Sanu playing four additional games. Sanu could have been a natural fit in San Francisco given that Shanahan was previously his offensive coordinator in Atlanta. He might even be flourishing there, given San Francisco’s superior surrounding talent, including George Kittle. The fit has been questionable in New England.”

The 49ers also have an obvious advantage in fielding George Kittle, who continues to cement his status as one of the NFL’s top tight-ends week in and week out.

[RELATED: Where 49ers, Raiders stand in NFL power rankings now]

But imagine what Josh McDaniels, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady could have whipped up with Emmanuel Sanders stretching the field.

This might go down as a rare mistake in player personnel from the Patriots’ front office, and it also might just be the move that propels the 49ers into playing February football.

Chris Simms breaks down George Kittle's catch in 49ers' win vs. Saints

Chris Simms breaks down George Kittle's catch in 49ers' win vs. Saints

George Kittle made the most significant play of the NFL’s Week 14 slate, catching a short fourth-down pass from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and willing his way into field-goal range.

The herculean effort from Kittle set kicker Robbie Gould up for a game-winning 30-yard field goal to give San Francisco a crucial 48-46 victory in New Orleans that propelled the 49ers back to the top of the NFC standings.

Unsurprisingly, coach Kyle Shanahan diagrammed this play for Kittle to be the No. 1 option, and that’s exactly what happened.

“The rookie [C.J.] Gardner-Johnson is matched up 1-on-1 with Kittle,” NBC Sports NFL analyst Chris Simms said. “The beauty of this play is, a lot of times the 49ers will run an in-breaking route off of this, but here he had the option to break out and he breaks out.

“Gardner-Johnson, who’s kind of laying inside for it, now is at a disadvantage and he’s trailing behind and that becomes the completion to George Kittle.”

[RELATED: Injuries continue to pile up for 49ers after extended trip]

Kittle’s wise decision to break outside put San Francisco back into the driver’s seat for the NFC playoffs, but the 49ers will need to keep the momentum going as the final weeks of the season roll on in order to secure the home-field advantage NFL teams so desperately crave come postseason time.