Santa Clara – An impressive start, and a great performance for the 49ers on a big stage for Monday Night football. Outstanding on both sides of the ball, San Francisco joins the ranks of the elite for week five. They are the only undefeated team in the National League while the New England Patriots holds the crown in the American League.
The 49ers 31-3 victory over the Cleveland Browns is their best start since 1990 and the fourth best in franchise history. Matt Breida scored twice in one quarter. Baker Mayfield threw two interceptions, fumbled and was sacked four times. The defense was so dominant, the Browns only kicked one field goal the entire game. Maybe not the best decision to start with a trick play.
“It was unfortunate,” Mayfield said. “I put it in perspective of it could’ve been points for us, but instead it’s taken away and you’re not getting any out of that. That’s huge for momentum on the road. They already had points on the board. You look back at it and yes it’s unfortunate, but I could’ve been more accurate with the ball. Honestly, it’s more than just one play that turned the game around.”
Cleveland used a trick play on opening drive, Odell Beckham threw a short pass to Jarvis Landry for 20 yards. Mayfield then went deep to Ricky Seals-Jones for 31 yards catching the ball out of bounds. San Francisco challenged the call. After further review, the call was overturned and it was 4th down for the Browns.
“It helps when you get explosives,” said Kyle Shanahan. The first play to start that out, to get 80 right there is obviously a big lift and helps your stats when you get that. But, having the lead. The defense playing that well, being able to run that much. Some of the looks we did, I thought we blocked hard. We played very physical and it seems like the backs all hit the right hole.”
On San Francisco’s opening drive, Brieda rushed for an 83-yard touchdown making it a 7-0 game. On Cleveland’s next drive Mayfield threw a pass intended for Antonio Callaway that was intercepted by Richard Sherman. A 15-yard penalty for a face mask moved the ball down field for the 49ers. That setup Jimmy Garoppolo’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Brieda extending their lead 14-0.
“A big hole. I saw a big hole,” Breida said. “The offensive line, and the receivers did a great job of blocking. The play worked out how it was supposed to.”
DeForest Buckner forced Mayfield to fumble before he found an open Callaway in the end zone for the second time today. Callaway bobbled the ball losing control, while K’Waun Williams recovered it and rushed it back for 49 yards. That setup Tevin Coleman’s 19-yard touchdown extending the 49ers lead to 21-3.
By the third, the 49ers picked up where they left off and used their running game that was most successful against the Browns tonight. Garoppolo then connected with George Kittle for a 22-yard touchdown in the end zone. After missing three field goals for 47, 52 and 30 yards, Robbie Gould saw the light at the end of the tunnel. His fourth field goal for 44 yards was good.
“That’s something I’ll talk to them all about,” Shanahan said regarding missed field goals. “I know, personally, I saw at least one rough snap that looked very hard for Robbie to get off. I know all the others weren’t perfect by any means. There’s three people involved in it. I know we had a block. It looked like they came off the wing, off the edge. So I’m not exactly sure, but definitely wasn’t good enough. It was probably one of our worst games in terms of, I don’t know about the whole special teams, but obviously in kicking.”
Mayfield didn’t finish the game, and went 8-for-22 for a total of 100 yards. The 49ers held Cleveland to 180 net yards (102 rushing, 78 passing), marking the fewest yards allowed by the 49ers in a single game since Dec 3, 2017 at Chicago. It’s also marked the first time the 49ers defense held an opponent without a touchdown since Nov 1, 2018 vs Oakland.
“They got a lot of weapons of the offensive side,” said Buckner. “But coming into this game we weren’t really thinking about all the talent they got, all that kind of stuff. We have been playing really good, like [CB Richard] Sherman has been saying, championship defense. We just had to come in, we knew it was coming off a bye and we knew in the past we been coming out on byes a little lackadaisical and stuff. So, we just had to come in with that same energy and focus on ourselves and what we can do better on defense and it came to light on Monday night.”
Mahomes, Chiefs rally late to win Super Bowl LIV
Miami – Three late touchdowns in the fourth quarter by the Kansas City Chiefs stunned the Forty-Niners in what was the best comeback victory in Super Bowl history. The 49ers defense smothered the Chiefs offense in the third quarter, shut down in the fourth San Francisco appeared to have celebrated too soon.
Crucial mistakes this time proved costly as the 49ers suffered a tough 31-20 loss to Kansas City who are now the Super Bowl Champs for the first time in 50 years. Patrick Mahomes was named the MVP after leading his team to victory.
“I just tried to fight, and obviously the third quarter didn’t go the way I wanted it to,” said Maohmes. “I tried to force some things and had some turnovers. I mean, that’s a really good defense, and so I didn’t play to my liking in that third quarter, but guys believed in me and gave me confidence. We kept fighting and we found ways to win it in the end.”
San Francisco had a good lead to start the second half. But the Chiefs are known for their epic comebacks late in the game. With 6:30 left on the clock, a pass interference called on Tarvarius Moore came after Mahomes went deep to Travis Kelce on a 43 yards pass.
That setup Kelce’s 1-yard touchdown making it a 20-17 game. Unable to score on the next drive, Kansas City scored their second touchdown, Mahomes connected with Damien Williams for a 5-yard touchdown, that play gave the Chiefs their first lead of the night. At the two-minute warning the 49ers had a chance to turn things around, but three incomplete passes followed with a sack on Jimmy Garoppolo on 4th down.
Kansas City got the ball back, Williams rushed for 4 yards before Kyle Shanahan took a timeout. Williams then rushed for a 38-yard touchdown to secure the Chiefs win. San Francisco’s offense and defense collapsed in the fourth quarter leaving the team dejected as Kansas City began to celebrate.
“I think the turning point was when we got a turnover and then we didn’t execute on offense and they got the ball right back and drove 87 yards or however how far it was,” TE George Kittle said. “As an offense, we have to end the game right there, and we didn’t.”
Garoppolo threw his second interception to end the game. The 49ers registered two interceptions on the night, with Fred Warner and Moore each but against a dominant Chiefs defense it just wasn’t enough. San Francisco finished the 2019 postseason with 5 interceptions, which is tied for the 4th most in a single postseason in franchise history.
The 49ers seemed to have everything under control until the six-minute mark in the fourth quarter. Both teams scored and kicked a field goal to end the half tied at 10-10. After Samuel rushed for 32 yards, Robbie Gould kicked a 38-yard field goal for a quick 3-0 lead.
Mahomes scrambled for 2 yards in the red zone, then rushed in for a 1-yard touchdown making it a 7-3 game. By the second, Garoppolo’s pass intended for Samuel was intercepted by Bashaud Breeland. That setup Harrison Butker’s 31-yard field goal to extend the Chiefs lead to 10-3.
Garoppolo then connected with Samuel for 16 yards before San Francisco went to the running game, Raheem Mostert rushed for 11 yards and Tevin Coleman rushed for 17 yards. Garoppolo found a wide-open Kyle Juszczyk who rushed into the end zone for 15-yard touchdown to tie the game 10-10.
To start the third Gould kicked a 42-yard field goal giving the 49ers a 13-10 lead. After Mahomes pass was blocked by Nick Bosa, who almost forced a fumble, Mahomes went deep to Tyreek Hill but his pass was intercepted by Warner. That setup Mostert’s 1-yard touchdown extending their lead 20-10. San Francisco did not score again after that play.
“It definitely hurts, FB Juszczyk said. “At the end of the day, that’s exactly the position we wanted to be in. So, I think that makes it hurt a little bit more, but you couldn’t have asked to be in a better situation.”
Before the game, there was an emotional tribute to Kobe Bryant and those who lost their lives in the helicopter crash last Sunday. Both NFL teams lined up on the 24 yard line to honor all nine victims killed in that crash that included NBA great Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant. The NFL also honored their own, Hall of Famer Chris Dolan who lost his battle with Cancer.
The NFL then honored 100 years in football with the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game along with defense, offense, coaches, dynasty teams and those who you might not remember but made an impact as well.
The 49ers are headed to the Super Bowl after dominating the Packers 37-20
Santa Clara – The 49ers have punched their ticket to the Super Bowl. After a dominating first half, it was clear only one team showed up to play. Raheem Mostert scored four touchdowns, San Francisco’s defense forced three turnovers and Richard Sherman’s interception in the final minutes was the icing on the cake. The running game was unstoppable and the reward, a trip to Miami for Super Bowl Fifty-Four.
“Still surreal. You know, I just — I can’t believe that I’m in this position right now and I did the things that I did tonight,” said Mostert. “And I would like to thank God first and foremost for blessing not only myself but everybody in the organization to be in the position that we’re in, to get the win and to move on to Miami, my home state. And I can’t believe it. I’m still being able to play at my home state. This is so surreal right now.”
The 49ers 37-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers was well deserved. A phenomenal season where the team went undefeated through eight games before they recorded their first lost to the Seattle Seahawks. Now, they return to the Super Bowl after a rebuilding period during the Jim Harbaugh years. Harbaugh took San Francisco to the Super Bowl back in 2012 where he lost 34-31 to his brother John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens.
“This is like everybody coming to work,” T Joe Staley said. “The attitude that everybody has every single day. There are no egos. Everybody generally pulls for each other. No one cares about what credit that they get. [49ers QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo] doesn’t care if he throws for 300 yards or what did he pass today for 50-60? He doesn’t care and same with the running backs. [49ers TE George] Kittle is a superstar and he could care less about his stats. Top to bottom everybody just wants to pull for each other and win. It is just a special bunch.”
A special bunch indeed, the chemistry on this team began in preseason and became stronger with each game. Almost every game, the team gave it their all. Tonight, the offense rushed for 285 yards and 4 touchdowns on 42 attempts. The team’s 285 total rushing yards were the second most in postseason franchise history, and the 6th most by any team in the postseason since 1970.
Mostert finished with 29 carries for 220 yards and 4 touchdowns, marking the first postseason rushing touchdowns of his career. Mostert 220 rushing yards, set a franchise record for most rushing yards in a game, regular season or postseason. HIs 220 rushing yards are the 2nd most in a postseason game in the Super Bowl era [LA Rams running back Eric Dickerson – 248 yards vs Dallas Cowboys (1/4/86 – NFC Divisional game)] and his 4 rushing touchdown are tied for 2nd most in a Super Bowl era.
“The lanes that we saw and the way he was running, just wanted to keep feeding him,” said head coach Kyle Shanahan. Raheem is not someone who is going to come up and tell me a bunch during the game. I know he was feeling it and it wasn’t too hard to see.”
The 49ers got off to a rocky start after going with their running game on opening drive. Tevin Coleman had 5 attempts for 17 yards but the Packers forced them to punt. On the next drive, the 49ers went with their passing game before Jimmy Garoppolo handed off a pass to Mostert for a 36-yard touchdown. Green Bay’s offense completely collapsed in the first, Nick Bosa recorded the first sack on Aaron Rodgers.
“Not getting that first third down didn’t quite help for sure,” Rodgers said. “We just weren’t very consistent in the first half. I made a couple of mistakes, personally, that hurt us. We kind of let it get away from us.”
[On the botched snap] “It didn’t help. We could’ve cut that to two scores there at a minimum. It was like the fourth down snap the first time we played them. It was a big turning point.”
DeForest Buckner recovered Rodgers fumble and that led to Robbie Gould’s second field goal making it a 20-0 game to start the second quarter. Another turnover proved costly for Green Bay. Rodgers pass was intended for Geronimo Allison, but Emmanuel Mosley intercepted the ball. With 50 seconds left on the clock, Mostert rushed for an 18-yard touchdown to end the half with the 49ers leading 27-0.
By the third, the Packers came alive with Rodgers connecting with Aaron Jones for a 9-yard touchdown. Jones also rushed up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown giving Green Bay another scored run. Rodgers then went deep in the fourth to Jimmy Graham for a 43-yard touchdown making it a 34-20 game. But Green Bay couldn’t stop Mostert’s fourth touchdown that extended San Francisco’s lead 34-7. And Gould’s 42-yard field goal was the final score to cap off an outstanding victory.
“I think you go back to OTAs, man,” Said Buckner. We all knew we could be a special group, a special team this year. And just seeing the guys work, work through a lot of things from OTAs, to training camp and preseason. The guys just fed off of each other, you know what I mean? Offense, defense special teams, everybody. We’ve got a lot of selfless guys playing for each other. That’s the key ingredient being able to play for your brother next to you, no matter what happens. Doesn’t matter who gets the stats or anything. We’re just trying to go out there and win football games and I think we have a really special group.”
“Yeah, I mean we keep it fun,” Sherman said. “We keep it loose. There were a few people that came in our locker room for the first time throughout the week and they were like, ‘Man, this is the loosest locker room.’ You would think this is a winning team. But, that’s the difference. That’s the difference when you’re confident, when you know what you’re playing for, when you know what you’re doing, when you’re locked in.
You don’t have to sit there serious and worry and sit there with anxiety. You can enjoy, let your hair down because you know you’re putting the work in. You put the work in every single day and you’re prepared. Now, when you’re not prepared and you’re nervous, you sit there locked in, quiet. No music in the locker room. Let’s be locked in. But, that’s not our team. We have a bunch of guys who enjoy this game and play it in a way that brings us a lot of joy, the receiving corps especially. They’re a fun group and they’re enjoying the ride, but they’re still locked in. They’re making huge plays.”
Super Bowl LIV is set for February 2, 2020 at 3:30 pm PST at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
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