49ers

Why Richard Sherman wants 49ers' detractors to keep doubting them

Why Richard Sherman wants 49ers' detractors to keep doubting them

SANTA CLARA -- 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, famously known for the chip on his shoulder, is no longer is just carrying it for himself, but for teammates who feel they have been underestimated outside of their building. 

Being a “fake undefeated team” was mentioned by several 49ers before their dominant 31-3 win over the Cleveland Browns on Monday night. Even after San Francisco's statement in prime time, the players predicted the doubt will continue. 

Sherman wants those doubters to hold their stance so he can have the last laugh. After the 49ers' win, the nine-year veteran delivered a sermon about proving the naysayers wrong and not letting them on the bandwagon.  

“You want idiots to sound like idiots but you want them to hold their position the whole year,” Sherman said Monday. “Like don’t flip-flop with us. If you said we weren’t going to make it, if you said we were some way early on, stick with that position. Hold it. 

“Don’t try to give us credit now. just stick. If you had us ranked 25, keep us ranked 25. If you had us going home early, if you had us going three-and-whatever, have us going three-and-whatever. 

“You know what I mean? At least stick by your word because I want you sounding like an idiot at the end.” 

Football pundits still likely will doubt the 49ers, who only have won 14 games over the last three seasons. Those opinions seem to motivate not just Sherman, but the entirety of the a team that, through four games, has outscored opponents by 70 points and outgained them by 679 yards. 

Why the doubt? What once seemed like a very challenging beginning of the 2019 schedule now looks much weaker. The 49ers' first four opponents currently have combined for only five wins.

A win over the 3-2 Los Angeles Rams -- the reigning NFC champions -- on Sunday could help the 49ers' case for legitimacy. But maybe they don't need it. 

This locker room seems to be enjoying their underdog status and the bulletin-board material it provides. They have a quiet confidence that seems to be working well. 

Sherman added that comes from the 49ers focusing on themselves, rather than their opponent's record. He said they weren't concerned about the Browns' preseason hype coming into Monday,  

"Any given Sunday, any given Monday, I guess," Sherman said. "You don't let the quality of opponent -- or any of that -- dictate how you play. We weren't worried about who we were playing. We were worried about our game and how we could execute."

[RELATED: How 49ers' offense will adapt after Juscszyk's knee injury]

Sherman and the 49ers have their work cut out for them against their division rivals in LA. They'll head east to Washington the following week to play a team that could be revitalized after changing coaches, and then the 49ers' reward returning home in Week 8 is trying to stop Christian McCaffrey and the Carolina Panthers. 

At some point, a win will give these young, upstart 49ers some respect. 

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

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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.