49ers burned by fakes, Akers slumping, knowing OT rules, etc.


49ers burned by fakes, Akers slumping, knowing OT rules, etc.

SAN FRANCISCO -- The 49ers fell victims to two passes thrown by St. Louis Rams punter Johnny Hekker, including a fake punt to keep a late drive alive. The Rams went on to score a touchdown in the eventual 24-24 tie on Sunday.
Faced with a fourth-and-8 from the St. Louis 33, the Rams ran a fake in which Danny Amendola, the gunner on the left side, drew the 49ers the other way when he motioned behind Hekker.Hekker then hit Lance Kendricks with the misdirection pass that picked up 18 yards before Perrish Cox came up to make the tackle."It was an alert all week," Harbaugh said. "The Rams are a fake team. They like to run fakes, they run them very well. (I) wish, in hindsight, we'd been in a better position to defend the fake. We didn't anticipate they'd run a fake at that point."That play kept alive a drive that turned into a 14-play, 81-yard march that culminated with a touchdown that gave the Rams a 24-21 lead with 1:03 remaining in regulation. The 49ers tied the game with a field goal in the closing seconds.Just prior to the end of the first half, Hekker hit rookie safety Rodney McLeod for a 21-yard pass out of his own end zone. Hekker threw to McLeod when he saw Chris Culliver abandon McLeod to attempt to block a punt."When we run the rush we run, you understand that they could do exactly what they did and you roll the dice that they won't do it, as far backed up as they are," Harbaugh said."I wouldn't say we were daring them into it. We felt we were playing the percentages to rush and block the punt. And they executed as well as you can and made a great play."The play did not figure into the scoring, as the Rams ran three more plays before the first half expired.AKERS' STRUGGLES: Kicker David Akers, who set an NFL record with 44 field goals last season and began this season strong, has fallen into a slump. Akers has missed six of his last 15 field-goal attempts.Akers' 33-yard field goal with :03 remaining in regulation sent the game into overtime. But Akers missed a 41-yard attempt in overtime that would've provided the 49ers with a victory over the Rams.Akers, a 14-year professional, did not stick around to answer questions from the media after Sunday's game. When asked if he believes Akers has an issue with his confidence, Harbaugh said, "No, not that I'm aware of."Harbaugh added, "I've not pin-pointed any reason there. I have indications that he's not confident."Akers made his first six field-goal attempts of the season, including a NFL-record-tying 63-yarder in the 49ers' opening victory over the Green Bay Packers. He is 15 of 21 for the season. Last season he made 44 of 52 tries.WILLIAMS THE BACKUP PLAN: The 49ers suited up two quarterbacks as part of their 46-man game day roster. So after starter Alex Smith exited with his concussion, Colin Kaepernick was the only quarterback in uniform.Scott Tolzien was not eligible to play at any point. He was named as one of the team's seven inactive players.So who was the 49ers' No. 3 quarterback? Wide receiver Kyle Williams, Harbaugh said. When asked how much time the 49ers have prepared for the event that Williams was needed in an emergency role, Harbaugh answered, "Minimal."KNOWING THE RULES: Safety Dashon Goldson said afterward he was surprised that the game ended in a tie. When asked if it's important for everyone to know the rules, Harbaugh answered, "Yeah, I think that's important for everyone to know, especially the situation we're in. That's why we called the prevent defense at the very end, for that purpose."

49ers have already spent more in 2017 free agency than a year ago

49ers have already spent more in 2017 free agency than a year ago

Under the 49ers’ new regime, the club has already invested more in the free-agent market than a year ago under then-general manager Trent Baalke.

Just a reminder: The free-agent signing period does not officially open until March 9.

The 49ers on Friday reached a contract agreement with veteran defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, who is penciled into be a starter in the team’s new 4-3 base scheme under defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

"As soon as Earl hit the open market, he became a priority for us to sign,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said in a statement released Saturday morning. “A man of high character, he represents everything we want to be as a football team. Earl is a tone-setter who plays the game with a tremendous passion and the effort necessary to win in this league. We believe those qualities are contagious and will help to make our team stronger. We look forward to the impact Earl will have on the field, in the locker room and in our community.”

It was the first significant move under Lynch, who also signed a player with NFL experience earlier in the week.

The 49ers also added cornerback K’Waun Williams to a one-year contract. Williams served as the Cleveland Browns’ nickel back for two seasons. The Browns released him before the start of last season and he was unable to play due to an ankle injury.

Mitchell was available to be signed before the start of the new league year because the Miami Dolphins released him last week in a move to save the team $4 million in cap space.

Mitchell took four free-agent visits and after wrapping up his tour with the Atlanta Falcons on Friday, he and the 49ers quickly agreed on a four-year, $16 million contract that includes $5.5 million of money in the first year, according to a source.

Last year, Baalke did little to improve the roster for coach Chip Kelly. The 49ers, who finished 5-11 in Jim Tomsula's one season, dropped to 2-14. Just hours after the season concluded, the 49ers announced the firings of Baalke and Kelly.

The only veteran free-agent addition who stepped on the field for the 49ers last season was offensive lineman Zane Beadles. The 49ers signed Beadles in late-March to a three-year, $9.75 million contract with a $1.75 million signing bonus. Beadles had a good season for the 49ers, starting 12 games at left guard, two games at left tackle and the final two games at center.

The 49ers have already shown more willingness to be aggressive under Lynch’s leadership.

Mitchell, 29, is a seven-year veteran who began his NFL career from 2010 to ’13 with the Houston Texans. He was a rookie in Saleh’s final season as assistant linebackers coach in Houston.

Mitchell joins DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Quinton Dial on the 49ers defensive line. The 49ers view Mitchell as a high-energy player who bring good character to the locker room. The signing of Mitchell could be an indication the 49ers are moving on from Glenn Dorsey, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

With 5.5 sacks in seven seasons, the 49ers do not figure to use Mitchell in passing situations. The club must try to bolster its pass rush in free agency or the draft. Last season, Buckner and Ahmad Brooks shared the team-lead with six sacks apiece. In 2015, Brooks and Aaron Lynch both led the way with 6.5 sacks.


Source: 49ers agree to four-year deal with former Dolphins DT

Source: 49ers agree to four-year deal with former Dolphins DT

The San Francisco 49ers agreed to a four-year, $16 million deal with defensive tackle Earl Mitchell on Friday, CSNBayArea.com has learned

Mitchell, 29, will earn $5.5 million in his first year with the 49ers. 

The seven-year veteran played in nine games last season for the Dolphins. He recorded 17 total tackles. 

Since entering the league in 2010 as a third-round draft pick with the Texans, Mitchell has appeared in 100 games between Houston and Miami, totaling 206 tackles. He has also recorded 5.5 sacks.