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San Francisco 49ers

49ers vs. Buccaneers: San Francisco Week 1 Game Balls & Highlights



49ers vs. Bucs Week 1 Game Balls, Highlights
© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Game balls and highlights from the San Francisco 49ers’ 31-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1 of the 2019 NFL regular season.

On yesterday’s Locked On 49ers Podcast, host Brian Peacock provided a rundown of the Niners’ game — including game notes and key takeaways — and handed out four game balls from the San Francisco 49ers’ Week 1 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Despite the lopsided final score, Sunday’s game was a close affair until the closing minutes of the contest, partially due to a 49ers’ offense that has yet to hit on all cylinders. However, the Niners put an end to the turnover problems that plagued the team last season, as San Francisco recovered a fumble and intercepted three passes, two of which were returned for touchdowns. Given the defense’s strong start to the 2019 NFL regular season, it’s no surprise that the 49ers’ defensive unit receives three of our first four game balls of 2019:


49ers LB Fred Warner

49ers MIKE linebacker Fred Warner appears poised for a breakout second season in the NFL. When fellow linebacker Kwon Alexander was inappropriately ejected from Sunday’s game, Warner knew he had to take control of both the middle of the field and his talented-but-inexperienced fellow linebackers. Warner was up to the task, as he finished Week 1 with a game-high nine tackles and forced a key red-zone fumble:


49ers’ Defensive Line

If the members of this group can remain healthy, the 49ers’ defensive line will be a force in 2019. Although San Francisco’s pass rushers had a difficult time bringing the Bucs’ slippery quarterback Jameis Winston to the ground — and rookie EDGE Nick Bosa‘s ankle injury was also a factor — the Niners’ defensive line had the mobile QB on the run for most of the game and directly forced both of the 49ers’ defensive touchdowns:


49ers CB Ahkello Witherspoon

Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon was the better of the 49ers’ two outside corners in Week 1, which was reflected in his team-leading 80.8 defensive grade and 81.7 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus. Witherspoon broke up two passes and returned an interception for a score, which left Winston with a 4.9 quarterback rating when throwing in the third-year cornerback’s direction:


49ers WR Richie James

As the team’s starting slot receiver, wideout Richie James was on the field for over a third of the 49ers’ offensive snaps, but saw only two passes thrown his way. James finished the matchup with just a single catch, but his 39-yard touchdown reception proved to be the turning point in the game. 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo hit James in stride on the Niners’ opening drive of the second half, giving San Francisco their first lead of the regular season. Two plays later, cornerback Richard Sherman‘s pick-6 put the 49ers’ in the driver’s seat, en route to their first victory of 2019:


Listen to Locked On 49ers host Brian Peacock’s review of the San Francisco 49ers’ Week 1 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — including game notes and key takeaways from the Niners’ first matchup of the 2019 NFL regular season — on yesterday’s Rapid React podcast:

Chris Wilson is the Lead Writer for Locked on 49ers - part of the Locked On Podcast Network. You may have seen Chris Wilson’s work on NFL game theory, statistical analysis and film breakdowns at FanSided, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, ClutchPoints, Insidethe49 and others. Follow Chris Wilson on Twitter @cgawilson.

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San Francisco 49ers

PODCAST: Seahawks Snap 49ers Unbeaten Streak in Overtime Thriller

Brian Peacock



  • 49ers fall to the Seahawks 27-24 on Monday Night Football
  • Russell Wilson gets three chances to win it in overtime for Seattle
  • Rookie emergency kicker nails three field goals, but misses game-winner for SF
  • Niners defense strong again, but offense stumbles
  • Game notes and game balls

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San Francisco 49ers

49ers Film Room: Breaking down QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s Top 5 Passes



49ers Film Room: Garoppolo top passes
© Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

After reviewing each of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s passes during his tenure with the San Francisco 49ers, we selected Jimmy G’s top 5 plays, and then broke each one down for this edition of 49ers Film Room.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo brought a great deal of excitement — and a number of impressive plays — to the Bay Area since general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan acquired the signal caller from the New England Patriots two years ago.

Jimmy G completed 333 passes over roughly 16 games since he was traded to San Francisco during the 2017 NFL regular season. After a tweet by Locked on 49ers Podcast host Brian Peacock during last week’s game sparked a debate about Garoppolo’s best throw as a Niner, we decided to participate in the enjoyable task of watching — and ranking — each of those 333 completions.

In the end, we concluded the following five plays are Garoppolo’s finest to date, and then we broke each one down [credit goes to Aaron Wilson of for the time-consuming video editing work] for today’s edition of 49ers Film Room:

No. 5: Garoppolo and Taylor Improvise for the Score

Like many of Jimmy G’s top plays, this one comes on a key third down in the fourth quarter of the contest. Garoppolo’s improvisational side-armed touchdown throw to wide receiver Trent Taylor extends the 49ers’ lead to two scores over the Jacksonville Jaguars — owners of the NFL’s best defense in 2017.

This play makes our list not because the pass was thrown with pin-point accuracy, but because Garoppolo did everything he could to give Taylor an opportunity to score: he extends the play, properly sets his base, changes his throwing motion to fit the pass between three defenders and puts the ball where only his receiver can make the play:


No 4: Garoppolo’s Perfect Touchdown Pass in his 49ers Debut

When Garoppolo was thrust into action against the Seattle Seahawks due to injury in 2017, he wasted no time making his mark despite his limited knowledge of Shanahan’s playbook. After moving the sticks with an 8-yard completion on fourth down, Garoppolo rushes the 49ers to the line with just two seconds remaining on the clock. Again, Jimmy G gets flushed to his left side, but makes sure to quickly set his feet before throwing the pass into the tightest of windows for his first touchdown as a member of the Niners:


No 3: Garoppolo Shows Grit on Third Down

Garoppolo is best on the money down — third down — and his willingness to stand tall in the pocket is on clear display during this third down completion to tight end George Kittle. The quarterback feels the heat of the Kansas City Chief’s pass rush, but despite the free blitzer bearing down on him, delivers the perfect pass needed to move the sticks:


No 2: The Garoppolo-Sanders Connection Is Real

The play that began this conversation comes in on our list at No. 2. On third down, Garoppolo recognizes man coverage, but is forced to release the pass to WR Emmanuel Sanders before his new wideout makes his break, trusting Sanders to run his route to perfection. Despite stepping on his lineman’s foot, Jimmy G throws a perfect pass to Sanders, who gets his head around in time to find the ball within his grasp:


No 1: Garoppolo and Pettis Kick off the 49ers’ 2018 Season

While it’s difficult to top the previous pass, Garoppolo’s first touchdown of the 2018 season comes in at No. 1 on our list. This play has checks all the boxes: Jimmy G correctly reads the defense, spins away from pressure, and then has a fraction of a second to find WR Dante Pettis streaking downfield before lofting a perfect 40-yard pass into his receiver’s hands in the back of the end zone for the score:

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San Francisco 49ers

PODCAST: Shanahan Practice Report, Niners Add Gould Insurance

Brian Peacock



© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
  • First injury report for Week 10
  • Kyle Shanahan speaks on who was in/out of practice Thursday, Russell Wilson and Monday Night Football
  • Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey itching to get back on the field
  • George Kittle and RObbie Gould not practicing
  • 49ers sign kicker Chase McLaughlan

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