49ers review: Offensive player-by-player


49ers review: Offensive player-by-player

It was quarterback Alex Smith's worst game of the season. But nobody is complaining because he delivered when the 49ers needed him the most.
Smith put the ball in the exact location tight end Delanie Walker needed it in order to keep his momentum going toward the end zone to score the go-ahead touchdown Sunday against the previously unbeaten Detroit Lions.The perfectly thrown slant pattern came on a fourth-and-goal at the 6-yard line with 1:51 remaining.
"So many times you see that play if it's just off-center, 6 inches, 4 inches, you don't get that ball into the end zone," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "The kind of play that Alex has given us, really indicative of our entire offense.
"I don't think anybody played perfect on the offensive side of the ball in this game. But I thought they overcame adversity, got stronger as the game went on and didn't flinch at crunch time. All those things. Really proud of Alex and the offensive unit for that."Here's a player-by-player look at the 49ers' offensive performances from their 25-19 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday:Quarterback
3-Scott Tolzien: Inactive.
7-Colin Kaepernick: Did not play. (Follow on Twitter @Kaepernick7)
11-Alex Smith: Smith completed just 53 percent of his attempts and was high on many of his attempts. But Smith did a couple things very well. First off, he made the absolute perfect pass on a short slant on a do-or-die fourth-and-goal from the 6 with less than two minutes to play. Also, Smith hung in there and took some hits to deliver the football. One his best plays was an incompletion, as he got rid of the ball to avoid a sack before taking a big hit from Lawrence Jackson on a third-and-goal play against an all-out blitz. That gave the 49ers a better opportunity to score on the fourth-down play. Smith completed 17 of 32 passes for 125 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His passer rating was a season-low 60.0.Running backs
21-Frank Gore: Started and played 46 of the 49ers' 63 offensive plays. He rushed for 141 yards on 15 carries. Picked up 49ers' first first down of the game when he bounced to the left after the play designed to go off the right side was stacked up. He gained 14 yards on that play. He did a good job of using angles to make defenders on the second level miss on his long runs of 47 and 55 yards.
24-Anthony Dixon: Played two offensive snaps. He was stopped for no gain on a run attempt from the 1-yard line at the end of the first quarter. (Follow on Twitter @Boobie24Dixon)
32-Kendall Hunter: He played 16 snaps in the game, including four of the eight plays on the 49ers' final touchdown drive. . . . He split two unblocked defenders for a 9-yard run to open that drive. Then, he somehow stayed off the ground after safety Louis Delmas took his feet out from under him and managed to gain 3 additional yards on another 9-yard gain on that drive.
44-Moran Norris: Inactive. He sustained a fractured left fibula Sept. 18 against the Cowboys and is expected to miss six weeks.
49-Bruce Miller: Started the game at fullback, and played 26 of the 49ers' 63 offensive plays. He carried once for 3 yards. . . . Blocked defensive end Willie Young in first quarter, enabling Hunter to pick up 8 yards. . . . Committed false start in first quarter. . . . A step late getting out to block cornerback Eric Wright on play in which Gore was thrown for a 3-yard loss on screen play. . . . Cut block on defensive end Avril allowed Hunter to pick up 9 yards to open final TD drive. (Follow on Twitter @bmiller_49)
90-Isaac Sopoaga: He played six snaps as a blocking back. Was called for a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness for pulling the helmet off defensive end Willie Young in the second quarter. . . . The 49ers gained just 12 yards on his six plays on offense.Wide receivers
10-Kyle Williams: Saw 19 snaps as the 49ers' No. 3 receiver and saw one pass go his way. It was incomplete. (Follow on Twitter @KyleWilliams_10)
15-Michael Crabtree: Started at wide receiver and played a season-high 52 snaps. He caught nine passes for 77 yards, and few of them were routine. . . Crabtree was the target on 15 pass attempts. He was open on three of the incompletions thrown his way but Smith overthrew him. Crabtree also had a pass down the right sideline get through his hands. (Follow on Twitter @KingCrab15)
17-Braylon Edwards: Inactive. He underwent arthroscopic surgery Sept. 19 to repair torn meniscus cartilage in his right knee. The 49ers hope he'll be able to return after the bye, Oct. 30, against Cleveland. "This will be a big week getting on the field, starting to jog, run, make cuts," Harbaugh said on Monday. "We'll see how much progress he can make to know if we'll get him back next week at practice."(Follow on Twitter @OfficialBraylon)
18-Brett Swain: He played on special-teams coverage units, and saw one snap on offense.
19-Ted Ginn: He started at wideout for the first time in his 49ers career and played 41 snaps. He caught only two passes for 24 yards, but they were big ones, as the 49ers got into position late in the first half for David Akers' 55-yard field goal. He also took the ball on two end-arounds and gained 21 yards. . . He made a huge contribution in the return game. His 40-yard punt return late in the fourth quarter gave the 49ers the ball at the Detroit 35-yard line, where they began their go-ahead touchdown drive.Tight ends
46-Delanie Walker: Entered the game for the 49ers' second offensive play and saw action on 30 of the team's 63 snaps. . . . He was outstanding throughout the game as a blocker. And, of course, he made the game-winning catch. He caught the pass at the 2 and carried safety Louis Delmas into the end zone, somehow keeping his right knee from hitting the ground before he broke the plane of the goal line. . . Called for a false start, even though he was off the line of scrimmage and going in motion before the 49ers' second play of the game. . . Had a block on Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh that opened hole for Gore's 47-yard run to set up first touchdown. . . . And got an identical block on Suh in third quarter on Gore's 59-yard run. . . Same block to the other side, this time on defensive tackle Corey Williams, enabled Hunter to pick up 9 yards on final TD drive. . . . His TD catch made amends for a play in the third quarter in which he could not hold onto a Smith pass at the sideline in the end zone. (Follow on Twitter @Dwalk46)
81-Justin Peelle: Played four snaps in three-TE formations. Was called for a false start in third quarter. . . . He saw one pass come his way, but he was defended well on the play for an incompletion.
85-Vernon Davis: Started at tight end and played every snap from scrimmage. He caught just two passes for 8 yards, but one was a 5-yard catch on third-and-3 against strong safety Amari Spievey on the 49ers' first TD drive. . . . Drove Avril into the line to open lane for Gore on a 59-yard run in the third quarter. (Follow on Twitter @VernonDavis85)Offensive linemen
59-Jonathan Goodwin: Started at center and played every snap in the game. . . . He did a good job of managing the line, as there were few communication problems with the blocking assignments despite the crowd noise. He got to the second level to tie up defenders on Gore's long runs, and a 9-yard Hunter run on the final TD drive. . . . Provided good help in pass protection against the Lions' defensive front. (Follow on Twitter @JGoody59)
62-Chilo Rachal: He did not start, but he entered the game at right guard at the beginning of the fourth quarter after Adam Snyder sustained a right shoulder injury. . . . He handled Suh one-on-one to open hole for Gore's 9-yard run late in their final TD drive.
67-Daniel Kilgore: Inactive.
68-Adam Snyder: Started at right guard, and played the first three quarters before exiting with a right shoulder stinger. . . Had block on defensive tackle Nick Fairley on 8-yard run for Hunter in first quarter. . . . Had a holding penalty called on him in the third quarter that was declined. . . . During his time in the game, he held his own against Suh, who lined up over him most of the time. (Follow on Twitter @ASnyds68)
74-Joe Staley: Started at left tackle, and his day got considerably better after the first snap of the game. He was slow out of his stance and right defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch blew past him for a sackfumble on the 49ers' first snap of the game. . . . Drove outside linebacker DeAndre Levy past Gore in the first quarter, enabling Gore to bounce to the outside for a 14-yard gain. . . . Called for false start in second quarter. . . Blocked down, then got to the outside to lead the way with a block on Delmas to help Ginn pick up 12 yards on a reverse. (Follow on Twitter @jstaley74)
75-Alex Boone: He entered the game for eight snaps as an eligible receiverextra blocker. . . He blocked down on Avril to help Gore pick up 9 yards on final TD drive.
76-Anthony Davis: Started at right tackle, and had an exceptional game. He was called for a false start at beginning of second possession. . . . Got block on linebacker Bobby Carpenter that allowed Gore to get into secondary on 47-yard run in first quarter. . . . Blocked Suh on Gore's 1-yard TD run at beginning of second quarter. . . . Outstanding protection against Avril on the fourth-down TD to ride him out of the way, creating a nice throwing lane for Smith on the slant. (Follow on Twitter @AnthonyDavis76)
77-Mike Iupati: Started at left guard and played every snap. Got out to second level to make block on Levy on a Gore 6-yard run in third quarter. . . Got a big block on a linebacker for Gore to pick up 9 yards to give 49ers a first-and-goal on the final drive.
78-Mike Person: Inactive.

49ers offense: Top competitions entering training camp


49ers offense: Top competitions entering training camp

The 49ers open training camp next week in Santa Clara with a number of competitions going on simultaneously on both sides of the ball.

Coach Kyle Shanahan did not hire an offensive coordinator. He will assume the role of running the offense, as he atempts to remake the 49ers' offense to his specifications.

Brian Hoyer is set at quarterback. Joe Staley will line up at left tackle. Kyle Juszcyzk was signed as the highest-priced fullback in the NFL, and the starting wide receivers figure to be Pierre Garçon and Marquise Goodwin.

After that, things are a lot less certain.

Here is a look at the 49ers’ top four training camp battles on offense...

The tackle positions appear straight-forward with Staley and Trent Brown – though Brown will have to hold off Garry Gilliam to retain his starting job.

But there are a lot of options for the 49ers at the three interior positions. Zane Beadles started all 16 games last season at three different positions. He enters camp as the front-runner to start at left guard.

Jeremy Zuttah, who was added to the Pro Bowl roster at center last season, came to the 49ers in an offseason trade with the Baltimore Ravens. Zuttah and Daniel Kilgore will compete for the starting job. Tim Barnes, who started 32 games the past two seasons with the Los Angeles Rams, is in the mix, too.

If Zuttah is not the starting center, he can transition to either guard position to compete with Beadles on the left side or, more likely, the right side.

Joshua Garnett, whom former 49ers general manager Trent Baalke traded up to select in the first round of the 2016 draft, will have to show dramatic improvement over his rookie season to return as the starter at right guard.

Brandon Fusco, who spent his first six NFL seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, started 16 games at left guard in 2015 and 14 games last season at right guard.

It is within the realm of possibility the 49ers could have a complete overhaul at tight end, as none of the five players who finished the season with the team is a lock to win a roster spot.

The 49ers selected George Kittle in the fifth round. He showed a lot of promise with the best showing of any tight end during the team’s offseason program. The 49ers this offseason also added blocking tight end Logan Paulsen, who has experience in Kyle Shanahan’s scheme, and undrafted rookie pass-catcher Cole Hikutini.

Vance McDonald was the subject of trade talks during the draft – just months after signing a contract extension with $9.1 million in guaranteed money. Garrett Celek and Blake Bell also face stiff competition in order to be back on the 53-man roster.

Carlos Hyde is entering the final year of his original four-year contract, and he has competition for the first time since Frank Gore’s exit cleared the way for him to be the featured back.

Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner handpicked former Utah running back Joe Williams for their scheme. Williams got off to a slow start after joining the offseason program, but he eventually put himself into a position to compete for a significant role in training camp.

Veteran additions Tim Hightower and Kapri Bibbs will be competing for roles in the backfield, as well. Undrafted rookie Matt Breida had an impressive offseason during the non-padded practices.

Jeremy Kerley was one of the few free agents from last year’s team that the 49ers had any interest in re-signing. Kerley was the best receiver on the team a year ago -- and it wasn’t even close. He caught 64 passes for 667 yards for the league's least-productive passing game.

The 49ers selected Trent Taylor in the fifth round, and he made an immediate impact during the offseason program after catching 136 passes for 1,803 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior at Louisiana Tech.

A year ago, Bruce Ellington was the 49ers’ best receiver during training camp before his season came to an abrupt end with a torn hamstring in an exhibition game. The onus is on Ellington to remain healthy and prove himself to the new coaching staff.

O.J. Simpson to face Nevada Parole Board with freedom in sight


O.J. Simpson to face Nevada Parole Board with freedom in sight

LOVELOCK, Nev. -- O.J. Simpson once thrilled crowds as he ran for touchdowns and hurdled airport seats in car rental ads to achieve Hollywood celebrity before he was acquitted of murder in the 1995 "trial of the century" in Los Angeles.

Now, an aging Simpson will appear as inmate No. 1027820 in a starkly plain hearing room in a remote Nevada prison Thursday to plead for his freedom. He's spent more than eight years behind bars for armed robbery and assault with a weapon after trying to take back sports memorabilia in a budget hotel room in Las Vegas.

Simpson, 70, will ask four parole board members who sided with him once before to release him in October, a likely possibility with his clean prison record.

It will be a stunning scene for a charismatic star once known as "The Juice" who won the Heisman Trophy as the best U.S. college football player in 1968 and was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

He appeared to have it all.

He went on to star in Hertz commercials and movies like the "Naked Gun" comedies and do sideline reporting for "Monday Night Football" before his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman were slain in 1994.

Simpson is expected to reiterate that he has kept a promise to stay out of trouble, coaches in the prison gym where he works and counsels other inmates.

"I guess, my age, guys come to me," Simpson told parole officials four years ago.

The same commissioners granted him parole on some of his 12 charges in 2013, leaving him with four years to serve before reaching his minimum term.

At Simpson's side in his bid for freedom will be lawyer Malcolm LaVergne, close friend Tom Scotto, sister Shirley Baker and daughter Arnelle Simpson.

O.J. Simpson is expected to explain what he would do and where he would live if he is granted parole after reaching the nine-year minimum of his 33-year sentence.

He was convicted in 2008 after enlisting some men he barely knew, including two with guns, to retrieve from two sports collectibles sellers some items that Simpson said were stolen from him a decade earlier.

"My crime was trying to retrieve for my family my own property," Simpson told the parole officials in 2013 before apologizing.

"Make no mistake, I would give it all back," he said, "to get these last five years back."

The items disappeared after Simpson was found not guilty in the 1994 killings of his ex-wife and her friend and before he was found liable in 1997 in civil court for the deaths.

He was ordered to pay $33.5 million to survivors including his children and the Goldman family.

A Goldman family spokesman said Ron Goldman's father and sister, Fred and Kim, won't be part of Simpson's parole hearing but that they felt apprehensive about "how this will change their lives again should Simpson be released."

"They will remain patient and optimistic that the system will do what is necessary to ensure the public's safety remains a priority and that proper justice will be served," spokesman Michael Wright said this week.

The Goldmans believe Simpson got away with murder in Los Angeles, and many people felt the stiff sentence handed down in 2008 in Las Vegas wasn't just about the robbery.

Now, even the retired district attorney who prosecuted Simpson for the heist acknowledges that Simpson has a good chance to go free. But David Roger denied Simpson's sentence was "payback" for his acquittal in the Los Angeles slayings.

The former prosecutor said Simpson took a gamble when he rejected an offer to avoid trial by pleading guilty to a felony that could have gotten him 2½ years in prison.

"He thought he was invincible, and he rolled the dice," Roger said.