49ers

Three things you need to know from 49ers' season-ending 34-13 win over Rams

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AP

Three things you need to know from 49ers' season-ending 34-13 win over Rams

LOS ANGELES -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 34-13 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Week 17 on Sunday:

1. MOMENTUM INTO 2018

The 49ers opened the season with a franchise-worst nine-game losing streak. That seems like an eon ago.

Jimmy Garoppolo moved into the starting lineup on Dec. 3. The 49ers’ transformation was dramatic.

San Francisco finished the season with a five-game win streak with a remade offense and a defense that stopped the run and rallied aggressively to the ball.

Of course, the least-impressive of the 49ers’ win during their streak came against a playoff-bound Rams team that sat 17 of their starters. Still, a win is a win. And the 49ers head into the offseason feeling confident in the direction that has been charted under general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan.

It was not long ago that the 49ers looked as if they might have the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. Now, the club will have a coin toss with the Raiders to determine which teams draft in the Nos. 9 and 10 spots. Both the 49ers and Raiders finished with 6-10 records with identical strengths of schedule of .512.

2. GOOD NEWS FOR GOODWIN

There were a lot of 49ers players who were upset with the hit that injured wide receiver Marquise Goodwin and sent him to the hospital for precautionary evaluations.

Goodwin has experienced his most success as an NFL player, as he came so close to a 1,000-yard season.

But it has also been a season of anguish. He and his wife, Morgan, lost their child due to complications in pregnancy in November. Two weeks ago, Goodwin revealed his biological father passed away.

It was a scary moment on Sunday when Blake Countess made a dangerously high and illegal hit on Goodwin. He sustained a concussion. Goodwin came back to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to join his teammates for the flight home. He appeared to be in good spirits.

“Happy New Year,” an upbeat Goodwin said to a reporter before boarding the team bus to the airport.

3. UP-AND-DOWN GAROPPOLO

Garoppolo said he’s had a great time since coming to the 49ers in a late-October trade with the New England Patriots. He has clearly bonded with his new teammates.

The 26-year-old made more mistakes Sunday than in his previous four starts. But he also showed plenty flashes of the franchise quarterback the 49ers believe he can be.

He completed 20 of 33 passes for 292 yards with two touchdowns and a career-high two interceptions. His passer rating was 84.4.

Now, the hard work begins for the organization. The 49ers need to lock him up to a multi-year contract extension to erase any doubt about his future. The 49ers have the ability to retain him with the franchise tag, but the club needs to find a way to reach an agreement to make sure the union lasts for the foreseeable future.

Greg Cosell singles out 49ers player he believes is poised for a breakout season

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AP

Greg Cosell singles out 49ers player he believes is poised for a breakout season

With the 146th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers selected...

George Kittle.

The tight end from Iowa had a solid rookie season -- racking up 43 catches for 515 yards and two touchdowns.

On the latest episode of the 49ers Insider Podcast with Matt Maiocco, Greg Cosell of NFL Films was talking about Kyle Shanahan and Rams head coach Sean McVay. And then unsolicited, pivoted the conversation to Kittle.

"You know, I think one player we should mention who I really liked coming out of college -- and I know he fought some injuries last year but I think that he has a chance to be a really meaningul part of this offense -- and that's George Kittle," Cosell said. "I think George Kittle is a really good tight end who can do a lot of things.

"He can line up and be a really good blocking tight end -- and obviously we know that Kyle's offense does start with the run game. I think he's more athletic than people probably give him credit for.

"I remember studying him coming out of Iowa and looking at some of his Combine measureables -- some were superior to those of OJ Howard from Alabama, and I think people would be surprised by that.

"In this offense he might not catch 80 balls, but he might average 14-15 yards a catch, and for a tight end that's pretty darn good."

Kittle had his best game in the season finale -- four catches for 100 yards at the Rams.

Why Greg Cosell believes Jimmy Garoppolo needs work on his 'quarterback feet'

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USATSI

Why Greg Cosell believes Jimmy Garoppolo needs work on his 'quarterback feet'

Greg Cosell, a senior producer at NFL Films, believes 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo “has a chance to be a top-level quarterback.” But there remains room for improvement from the player the 49ers awarded a franchise-record contract in the offseason.

Garoppolo has a quick release and can throw at a number of different arm angles to avoid oncoming pass-rushers. And while his accuracy underneath was unquestioned during his 5-0 run as the 49ers’ starter last season, most of the time, his deep throws did not reach the target.

Garoppolo completed just 4 of 16 attempts to targets 20 yards or more down the field last season for 134 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions, according to Pro Football Focus.

[RELATED: Greg Cosell: Kyle Shanahan does one thing 'better than any coach in the NFL']

During the offseason program, Garoppolo appeared to struggle on his deep throws, too. Cosell, a guest on the 49ers Insider Podcast, spoke about Garoppolo’s mechanics.

“Because he has very quick feet, I think people just assume he has great feet all the time when he delivers the ball,” Cosell said. “There’s a difference between having quick, athletic feet and having really good quarterback feet. And I think he needs to work on the quarterback feet part.

“I think guys who have that kind of snap delivery, sometimes they don’t step exactly to their throw and they throw a little bit off-balance, and that could really impact your accuracy to a significant degree. So my guess is those are the kinds of things they’ve worked on. Those are tweaks. I don’t think it will prevent him from being a really good player.”

Garoppolo appeared in six games with five starts last season after the 49ers acquired him for a second-round draft pick in a trade with the New England Patriots. Garoppolo completed 120 of 178 pass attempts (67.4 percent) for 1,580 yards and seven touchdowns with five interceptions.

Cosell said it is important for all quarterbacks to use consistent mechanics when making throws from a clean pocket.

“Think of a major league pitcher,” Cosell said. “They theoretically should throw the ball the same way every time. So should a quarterback unless the defense dictates otherwise. If the defense doesn’t dictate otherwise, the throws should look the same.”