49ers

Robert Griffin III sought out Kyle Shanahan after Ravens beat 49ers

Robert Griffin III sought out Kyle Shanahan after Ravens beat 49ers

Years before Lamar Jackson took the NFL by storm with his ability as a dual-threat quarterback, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was drawing up schemes for Robert Griffin III to show off his arm and legs in Washington. 

Shanahan, Washington's offensive coordinator under his father Mike when Washington traded up to select Griffin with the No. 2 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, created a read-option offense set for the 2011 Heisman trophy winner's skills. And it worked to near perfection for a short time. 

Griffin, 29, was named 2012 AP Rookie of the Year when he threw for 3,200 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions while also adding 815 rushing yards and seven more touchdowns. But a knee injury in the playoffs put a damper on his potential, and Shanahan was fired after the 2013 season. 

On Sunday, the two were reunited. RG3 now is Jackson's backup in Baltimore, and the former Pro Bowler made sure to show respect to his former offensive coordinator after the Ravens beat Shanahan's 49ers, 20-17, on a last-second field goal.

Shanahan clearly seemed a bit caught off guard, but Griffin made sure to make it known that it's all love between the two. 

[RELATED: Ravens will be ready for Super Bowl rematch with 49ers]

Since 2013, Griffin has appeared in only 21 games -- starting just 12 -- and didn't play in 2015 or 2017. He has appeared in four games this season for the 10-2 Ravens, and has thrown one touchdown and one interception. He also has 14 yards rushing on eight carries. 

Griffin likely never will be the star he was with Shanahan in Washington again, but the two forever will be connected for those two wild seasons in Washington.

Jimmy Garoppolo had good reason for missing Emmanuel Sanders' TD pass

Jimmy Garoppolo had good reason for missing Emmanuel Sanders' TD pass

The 49ers threw five touchdown passes in their thrilling 48-46 road win over the Saints on Sunday. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo tossed four of them. The player who was on the receiving end of his second was the gunslinger on the other passing score.

Three offensive plays after wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders caught a 75-yard touchdown -- the longest TD pass of Garoppolo's career -- San Francisco utilized some trickery against New Orleans, as Sanders took a reverse before tossing a 35-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Raheem Mostert. Sanders actually made a great adjustment to avoid the oncoming rush, and this throw was right on the money.

It turns out, though, that Jimmy G didn't see it in the moment, and he had a funny explanation as to why.

"I didn't actually get to see it," Garoppolo admitted with a smile following the victory. "I was 'blocking'".

Don't sell yourself short, Jimmy. Another look at the tape reveals that Garoppolo indeed was "blocking" on the right side of the 49ers' offensive line during the developing play, and even threw a shoulder -- the non-throwing one, of course -- into an oncoming rusher.

[RELATED: 'You're balling': Garcia praises Jimmy G for recent play]

The play probably would have been successful without Garoppolo's blocking, but his additional effort made it that much more impressive. He might not have seen Sanders' great throw in real-time, but hey, that's what replays are for.

49ers disappointed with lack of defensive execution in win over Saints

49ers disappointed with lack of defensive execution in win over Saints

NEW ORLEANS -- For the second week in a row, the 49ers' defense got off to a slow start on Sunday in their 48-46 win over the Saints

Prior to their matchup in New Orleans, the 49ers' defense was ranked second in the NFL by allowing only 267.4 yards of offense per game -- 116.6 on the ground and 150.8 through the air. Quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints crushed those numbers, with 465 yards of total offense. 

The defense was unable to sack Brees after successfully getting to opposing quarterbacks 45 times over their first 12 games. Missed tackles and blown assignments allowed the Saints to put up 27 points in the first half alone. 

Cornerback Richard Sherman, who left the game early with a hamstring injury, seemed more disappointed by the performance of the defense than upset. While the 49ers have often relied on their defense to control and direct the outcome of games, this time the offense was the difference maker

“Thank goodness for our offense,” Sherman said. “Thank goodness for Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, obviously Kyle Shanahan, the entire offense. They made plays when they had to. We’re thankful we got the win.” 

Sherman’s disappointment fell predominantly on the mistakes in basic coverage and a lack of execution. 

“It’s frustrating because of simple plays,” Sherman said. “It’s things we’ve gone over. It’s not like they beat us with a bunch of trick misdirection plays. These are day-one football plays that we have to execute better. 

“Give credit to them. Drew saw them, found the people that were open, and made the plays. Give them credit, they had a good plan coming in, but we have to execute better.” 

Defensive lineman DeForest Buckner couldn’t put his finger on why the defense came out flat for the second week in a row, but definitely recognized the issue. 

“Early on we needed to get our feet set and they jumped on us early,” Buckner said. “I feel like towards the second half we started to make key stops and keep them to field goals. They got us on that last drive. Our offense responded well and we know there’s things that we need to clean up.” 

[RELATED: 49ers' Moore mocks Saints for not knowing rule on fake punt]

The 49ers have a week to prepare for their next matchup facing the Falcons, and must have a much stronger start defensively. 

“We just have to come out with more energy,” Buckner said. “Two weeks we came out kind of slow and that’s just not like us. So we just got to get back to what we do and just take it one play at a time.”