Kwon Alexander's return to Tampa Bay was short-lived.
The 49ers linebacker played the first four seasons of his career with the Bucs before signing with the 49ers in the offseason. His welcome back to Raymond James Stadium lasted less than a quarter, though.
Late in the first stanza, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston scrambled for a first down and slid after making the line to gain. But Alexander lowered his head and tagged Winston in the helmet after he was on the ground and a flag was thrown. There was some pushing and shoving after the hit and the officials disqualified Alexander for leading with his helmet.
It's a legitimate call, but a tough one for the 49ers. Alexander had been playing well in the first quarter, flying to the ball and creating havoc in the backfield.
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The 49ers defense will have to stand tall against Bruce Arians' offense without one of their most important players.
Despite the 49ers finishing with a 13-3 record and advancing to Super Bowl LIV, few NFL pundits seem willing to give Jimmy Garoppolo any credit for the team’s success.
The quarterback needed just eight pass attempts to defeat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, as San Francisco rode a dominant run game and suffocating defensive performance to a 37-20 victory.
Fox Sports 1’s Colin Cowherd isn’t among the detractors and voiced his support for Jimmy G ahead of a Super Bowl showdown with reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes.
“He carried this team in the middle of the season when they fell apart physically,” Cowherd said on "The Herd" this week. “I’m not a stat guy, I’m an eye guy. Watch the games.”
The success of the run game for the Niners this season didn’t necessitate a lot of pass-heavy games, but Garoppolo still finished eighth among qualified NFL quarterbacks in passer rating.
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When the 49ers have ended up in a shootout this year, Garoppolo has stepped up.
When they’ve needed him to just manage the game and make the occasional throw downfield, Garoppolo has stepped up.
No matter what the scenario, Garoppolo has delivered and this 49ers team wouldn't be anywhere near the Super Bowl without his steady leadership guiding the offense.
Jimmy G now has the chance to solidify himself among the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks when he and the Niners take the field against the Kansas City Chiefs in Miami for Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium.
The 49ers will fly to Miami on Sunday to play in the NFL franchise’s seventh Super Bowl. Despite this being a semi-regular thing, CEO Jed York isn’t treating it that way.
York said Friday that he’s bringing all full-time staff to Miami for Super Bowl week and treating them to the game. He even mentioned bringing interns.
That’s, you know, a lot of people on the 49ers’ dime.
“We're taking a lot of people. We wanted to make sure that our entire staff had the opportunity to go,” York said in a meeting with local reporters. “Everybody from [head coach Kyle Shanahan to general manager John Lynch] all the way down to interns, everyone's been a part of this, and we wanted to make sure they're there to help and also celebrate the moment that hopefully gets us over the hump."
That’s an unusual benefit for support staff outside football operations, one that will allow everyone involved with the 49ers to enjoy a week basking in the team’s achievements leading up to Super Bowl LIV against the Kansas City Chiefs at Hard Rock Stadium.
[RELATED: Jed York felt 49ers could reach Super Bowl when they drafted Nick Bosa]
The 49ers are trying to win their sixth Super Bowl title, which would tie them with the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots for the most in NFL history. The Chiefs are currently 1.5-point favorites in this clash of Titans.