Ronald Blair

Damontre Moore emotional about rejoining 49ers, makes most of chance

Damontre Moore emotional about rejoining 49ers, makes most of chance

SANTA CLARA – Damontre Moore pressed a football to the top of his head as he bent at his waist, leaning against the bench on the 49ers sideline. He said a prayer of gratitude in the closing seconds of his return to the NFL, which he capped with a key forced fumble.

The 49ers were also thankful Moore was still there for them after 10 weeks of the NFL regular season.

“I was emotional,” Moore said after coming up with a big play to help preserve the 49ers’ victory Sunday over the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium. “The one thing I realized on my journey, is I got to give thanks to God.

“I was so emotional because me and coach Kris Kocurek talked probably once a week or once every other week when I was gone. He believed in me. I just have to keep thanking him for this opportunity. I love that guy. I love him. I love my brothers. I love my teammates.”

A week earlier, Moore was spending his time, as he did every Sunday, with his 6-month-old son, Sekani Deruis, and wife Tiara at their home in Mansfield, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. He watched football, kept tabs on all his friends with the 49ers, and wondered if he would get another chance to play in the NFL.

On Tuesday morning, his phone finally rang.

He was on a flight to the Bay Area later that day to work out for the 49ers, who lost defensive end Ronald Blair to a season-ending knee injury in the team’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night.

“The 49ers called and, ‘Hey, can you make this flight in two hours? You’re going to work out today, and we’ll see where it goes from there.’ It was a quick turn-around,” Moore said. “The next thing you know, on Wednesday, I’m in practice with full pads.

“This whole week has been a whirlwind. That’s why I’m so emotional. And Sunday, I’m contributing to a win. It doesn’t get any better than that. We got a win, and I actually made a couple of plays.”

Moore played 23 of the 49ers’ 69 defensive snaps, and none was bigger than his hustle play with 25 seconds remaining and the 49ers clinging to a 30-26 lead over Arizona.

Moore was rushing the passer from the left side of the defense. After Kyler Murray’s short pass completion to rookie receiver KeeSean Johnson, Moore turned and ran to the ball. Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley had Johnson wrapped up, and Moore delivered a hit to knock the ball loose. Teammate Jaquiski Tartt recovered the fumble to, in effect, clinch the victory.

“Honestly, I feel like I had to make that play because just as good of a game it was, I also had a lot of mistakes,” Moore said. “I feel like I owed it to this team. They took a risk in bringing me in, and trusting me.”

Moore, 27, broke into the NFL in 2013 as a third-round draft pick of the New York Giants. He also played for Miami, Seattle, Dallas and the Raiders in his career. After suiting up for the San Diego Fleet of the Alliance of American Football this spring, Moore signed with the 49ers to join their 90-man offseason roster.

[RELATED: Unlikely heroes show up in win over Cardinals]

Moore made a strong bid to win a roster spot at the end of training camp. And the 49ers were surprised Moore did not end up on another team before they dialed his number following Blair’s injury.

“He was the 54th guy on our roster after camp, so he earned it,” 49ers rookie defensive end Nick Bosa said. “He deserved to be here, but it’s a numbers game. And he wasn’t here for half the year, so he’s just trying to make up for the time off.”

The 49ers might need more from him after 49ers defensive end Dee Ford exited Sunday’s game with a right hamstring injury. Ford could miss some time, which would provide Moore with additional opportunities. He said he stepped right back into the 49ers’ locker room and felt as if he had never left.

“With coach Kocurek and all the guys embracing me, you would’ve thought I never got cut the way everybody treated me,” Moore said. “It’s really emotional.”

49ers edge rusher Ronald Blair has torn ACL, out for rest of season

49ers edge rusher Ronald Blair has torn ACL, out for rest of season

Ronald Blair, a valued member of the 49ers’ rotation on the defensive line, was declared out for the season Tuesday with a torn ACL in his right knee.

Coach Kyle Shanahan made the announcement that Blair will require season-ending surgery on a conference call with Bay Area reporters.

Blair sustained the injury while chasing down and throwing Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson for a 1-yard loss in the fourth quarter of the 49ers’ 27-24 overtime loss on Monday night at Levi’s Stadium.

Through nine games, Blair had 21 tackles and three sacks while serving as a backup edge rusher behind Nick Bosa and Dee Ford.

He was not credited with a sack on the play he was injured because it was determined to be a designed run play for Wilson.

Blair, 26, a four-year veteran, faces an uncertain future. He is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season after finishing his original four-year, $2.5 million contract as a fifth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft from Appalachian State.

[RELATED: Why 49ers fans should be optimistic after loss to Seahawks]

The 49ers are expected to attempt to work out a contract extension or re-sign Blair in order to keep him around for the 2020 season. Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh repeatedly has expressed his admiration for Blair over the past three seasons.

Blair has 88 tackles and 13.5 sacks in 47 career games with the 49ers.

49ers report card: Grades on offense, defense in 20-7 win over Rams

49ers report card: Grades on offense, defense in 20-7 win over Rams

LOS ANGELES -- The 49ers served notice that they are for real with their 20-7 victory over the Rams on Sunday.

The Rams have set the standard in the NFC West the past two seasons. But the 49ers rose to the occasion at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with a dominating defensive performance in front of an appreciative crowd consisting of many red-clad supporters.

Here are the grades from the 49ers’ fifth consecutive victory to open the season:

Rushing offense

Playing without their starting offensive tackles and their do-everything fullback, the 49ers knew it would be impossible to continue to average 200 yards on the ground. Sure enough, the 49ers had a tough time getting anything going with their run game.

While the 49ers averaged just 2.4 yards on 41 rushing attempts, their two touchdowns came on the ground. Tevin Coleman scored on a 2-yard run, and Jimmy Garoppolo added a touchdown on a 1-yard sneak.

The 49ers picked up eight first downs rushing in the game, so it was not completely a lost cause with their run game.

Grade: B-minus

Passing offense

Garoppolo certainly had a couple of throws he would want back, including an interception in the end zone in which he threw the ball up for grabs. Marcus Peters made the pick as the 49ers let a golden scoring opportunity slip away in the second quarter.

Garoppolo completed 24 of 33 passes for 243 yards and no touchdowns with one interception. He was sacked twice -- both by Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald -- and one of them resulted in a lost fumble.

Tight end George Kittle, who was questionable with a groin injury going into the game, was the game’s best offensive player with eight receptions (on eight targets) for 103 yards. Dante Pettis had a good game with three important receptions for 45 yards.

The 49ers had two dropped passes on plays. Marquise Goodwin could not handle a Garoppolo deep ball that was underthrown. And Coleman, who was wide open, failed to grab a pass in the end zone in the third quarter.

Grade: B-minus

Rushing Defense

This did not start well for the 49ers, who surrendered 56 yards and a touchdown on the Rams’ first drive. LA ran the ball on all seven plays to take an early 7-0 lead. After that, the 49ers allowed just 3.5 rushing yards per attempt to the Rams.

When the 49ers needed the run defense to come through, that’s exactly what happened near the end of the first half. Nose tackle D.J. Jones was in the mix to stop Rams running back Malcolm Brown on third- and fourth-down plays from the 1-yard line.

That sequence proved to be a big boost for the team. Riding that momentum into the second half, Arik Armstead recovered a fumble on the first play of the second half to set the stage for the 49ers’ go-ahead score.

Grade: A

Passing Defense

It might not be possible for the 49ers’ pass defense to play better than it did Sunday.

Rams quarterback Jared Goff entered the game averaging 329.8 passing yards per game, but the 49ers allowed him to complete 13 of 24 throws for just 78 yards. Dee Ford recorded 1.5 sacks. Ronald Blair and Solomon Thomas added a sack apiece, and Armstead recorded a half-sack. The Rams managed just 56 net passing yards.

[RELATED: Watch 49ers DC lose his mind in dominant win over Rams]

The 49ers’ defense shut out the Rams on third and fourth downs. The Rams were 0-for-9 on third downs, and 0-for-4 on fourth downs. The coverage was exceptional throughout, as the longest Rams pass play went for just 12 yards.

Free safety Jimmie Ward broke up back-to-back passes, including a fourth-down attempt to Cooper Kupp, to help close the door in the fourth quarter.

Grade: A-plus

Special Teams

Rams punter Johnny Hekker had a better day than Mitch Wishnowsky. Hekker’s net punting average of 46.2 yards topped Wishnowsky’s effort of 37.8 yards per attempt.

Richie James had a solid day with a 12.7 average on his three punt returns. The 49ers averted a near-disaster when a Rams penalty wiped out a potential turnover after D.J. Reed inadvertently touched a punted ball as he was blocking.

Robbie Gould made field goals of 25 and 34 yards, but he came up well short on a 55-yard attempt at the end of the first half. Wishnowsky made the tackle on JoJo Natson, who fielded the ball in the end zone and tried to return it for a touchdown.

Grade: B-minus

Overall

The 49ers played with Justin Skule and Daniel Brunskill filling in for injured Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey at left tackle and right tackle. Tight ends Ross Dwelley and Levine Toilolo saw more action in place of fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who is out for a while with a knee injury.

The 49ers were able to overcome their injuries better than the Rams, who were missing running back Todd Gurley, edge rusher Clay Matthews and cornerback Aqib Talib.

The 49ers' defense was incredible after giving up a touchdown on the first drive of the game. They opened some eyes Sunday, and served notice that they belong in any conversation when the topic turns to the best teams in the NFL.

Grade: A