Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Sunday, October 25, 2020
It’s gameday. All eyes will be on how Jimmy Garoppolo handle’s his return to New England, but the key for the 49ers will be slowing down the Patriots running game. If the defense forces Cam Newton into long down and distances, San Francisco should take care of business today.
2) Do not let Cam Newton win with his legs
Despite losing 18-12 to the Denver Broncos last week, Cam Newton was able to run ten times for 76 yards and a touchdown. This is something the 49ers must not let happen. If Newton is able to scramble and move the chains, it will put much more pressure on a defense that is playing without several of its key parts.
Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner will be leading the defense which hopes to contain Newton and put him in a position to commit turnovers, like last week when he threw two interceptions. If San Francisco can keep Newton from making plays on the ground, the likelihood of leaving New England with a win goes up dramatically.
Fortunately for them, it looks like undrafted rookie running back JaMycal Hasty is a stepper-upper. In fact, he looks like a mini-Marshawn Lynch with his combination of quickness, explosion and violence.
Here’s the evidence:
Exhibit A: 13:22 Fourth Quarter. First and 10 at SF 29.
This is Hasty’s first carry of the game, and he gains nine yards. He runs off tackle and huge hole opens up because Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald immediately jumps out of his gap — he’s a freelancer. So he creates the yards more than Hasty does, But Hasty explodes through the hole in a way only Mostert can. Jerick McKinnon doesn’t have the burst McKinnon shows on this carry. And at the end of the run, Hasty lowers his helmet and bursts with rage in to a defender. You’d think Hasty is 220 pounds, but he’s only 205. Mini-Marshawn indeed.
“We were like ‘Yeah, it’s a holiday, man, it’s national tight end day,’” Kittle said. “And we just kind of rolled with it and Garrett Celek had a touchdown on that day, which that was our first annual Niners national tight end day.”
As the official founder of the holiday, Garoppolo offered a few more details on how and when it came about. He confirmed Kittle’s version but made sure to note the date of that conversation. It was Sept. 16, 2018, and the Niners hosted the Detroit Lions in a Week 2 matchup.
To Garoppolo’s recollection, he was just looking for a way to get the tight ends revved up before the game.
“I was just trying to get George, Celek, all those guys fired up,” Garoppolo said, laughing. “Started declaring it national tight end day, and now it’s a holiday. So, congrats for those guys.”
Celek caught a touchdown in that game as the Niners went on to win 30-27 and a holiday was born. Soon after, Kittle began calling every day national tight end day.
But now that Friday’s injury report has been released, Dugger’s availability to the Patriots defense Sunday is up in the air. He’s been listed as questionable for Sunday with an ankle injury.
But the fact that Dugger could miss Sunday is a potential wrench in Bill Belichick’s coverage plan against Jimmy Garoppolo and his set of weapons. The Niners use more two-back sets than any offense in football, which could require the Patriots — who’ve used safety Adrian Phillips as a linebacker this season — to take a defensive back off the field and insert a linebacker.
What makes Dugger an intriguing option for Kittle in those heavier packages is that he — more so than a corner like Williams — would be able to hold up against run plays in the box at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds.
Playing against the 49ers will always be special for Julian Edelman.
The Redwood, Calif., native was a big 49ers fan growing up and even named his dogs “Dwight” and “Montana” after 49ers legends Dwight Clark and Joe Montana.
Edelman also looked up to Jerry Rice, the 49ers receiver who won three Super Bowls in San Francisco and is heralded by many as the greatest receiver of all time. He cited Rice as a “huge inspiration,” adding that he used to train at Jerry Rice Hill.
“It was a folklore,” Edelman told reporters Friday. “It was known that Jerry Rice used to go out and run that hill and everyone knew about his work ethic — him going out and catching bricks, outworking people and never taking time off and really taking his craft seriously.”
“I ran it when I used to come back from college,” Edelman said. “But then I used to go to another place because the Jerry Rice Hill was like a 2.5, 3-mile steady uphill run. …. They had, like, this full 45 [degree angle] I used to call that the Jerry Rice Hill, too. Everything that was hard or anything was Jerry Rice something.”
This past Sunday, the Patriots were upset at home by the Denver Broncos, 18-12. This is the first time since 2001 that the Patriots have a losing record after five games. Cam Newton was 17 of 25 for 157 yards and two INTs. He also rushed 10 times for 76 yards and a touchdown. Newton has a rushing TD in three of his four games this season and is tied for lead among quarterbacks with five rushing TDs.
James White led the team with a season-high eight catches for 65 yards last week. Since 2016, he leads all running backs in receiving TDs (20) and ranks second in catches (293) and receiving yards (2,509). The Patriots have won four of the past five meetings with the 49ers. Bill Belichick has a 4-1 record vs. San Francisco.