49ers review: Offensive player-by-player

589198.jpg

49ers review: Offensive player-by-player

Even before running back Frank Gore left the game Sunday against the New York Giants with a knee contusion, the 49ers' plan was to throw the football.In the first eight games of the season, the 49ers called passes on 54.5 percent of their first-half plays. On Sunday, the 49ers called passes on 20 of their 26 first-half plays (76.9 percent).Because the 49ers had little intention of running the ball, it meant fullback Bruce Miller played just 18 of the team's 52 snaps. And extra blocker Alex Boone reported just twice, while defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga did not see any snaps of offense in the game.
Quarterback Alex Smith had a very good game -- certainly better than his 85.7 passer rating would suggest. But the 49ers still weren't very good on third downs (3 of 11), and they scored just one touchdown despite three trips to the red zone.The 49ers can get better in the passing game, as evidenced by the sequence at the start of the third quarter. The 49ers had a first-and-goal at the New York Giants' 10-yard line, and Smith took three shots at the end zone:First down: Smith placed the ball where it needed to be to "throw open" receiver Michael Crabtree against cornerback Corey Webster at the left front pylon. Crabtree's hands were too far apart and he could not latch onto the catchable pass.Second down: The 49ers again worked the left side against Webster. Receiver Braylon Edwards ran a slant pattern at the goal line. Edwards was open, but Smith led him too far. Edwards flattened out his break, which might have also factored into the missed chance.Third down: Smith tried to hit Edwards on a back-shoulder throw. The pass was high and too far outside. And Edwards, again being covered by Webster, tried unsuccessfully to pull it in with a one-handed catch.The 49ers settled for David Akers' fourth field goal of the game. Those were some missed chances.
But the 49ers' offense did enough to win this game with a 15-point burst in 61 seconds of the fourth quarter. Smith hooked up with Vernon Davis on a 31-yard score. And Kendall Hunter took a handoff 17 yards on the play following Carlos Rogers' second interception.Here is the entire offensive player-by-player review from the 49ers' 27-20 victory over the Giants on Sunday:Quarterback
3-Scott Tolzien: Inactive (coaches' decision).
7-Colin Kaepernick: Did not play. (Follow on Twitter @Kaepernick7)
11-Alex Smith: He completed 19 of 30 passes for 242 yards with one touchdown. His interception was on a well-thrown pass that skipped through Ted Ginn's hands and was a gift-wrapped pick for Webster. Smith also added three scrambles for 30 yards. (After three kneeldowns at the end of the game, his rushing line was six attempts for 27 yards). Because it's a question that has been asked quite a bit, it should be noted that Smith is entrusted with the responsibility of making all the adjustments and reads at the line of scrimmage. Sometimes the 49ers call two plays in the huddle. At the line of scrimmage, he can stick with the first play by shouting and motioning, "Let it roll! Let it roll!" If he decides the second play is better, based on his pre-snap read, he yells, "Kill! Kill!"Running backs
21-Frank Gore: Sustained a right knee contusion late in the first half when he landed hard while being tackled from behind by Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. Gore re-entered for two more plays but did not touch the ball again. On Monday, he said he was fine. The injury did not require an MRI examination. . . He had the worst rushing game of his career with 0 yards on six rushing attempts. But he converted a third-and-3 with an 8-yard reception to keep the first drive alive. . . . Picked up linebacker Osi Umenyiora to enable Smith to get the ball down the field to Crabtree for a 21-yard gain.
24-Anthony Dixon: He played five snaps of offense, including the three plays in their "victory formation." . . . He gained 8 yards with a sweep to the left side, and finished with 10 yards on two rushing attempts. (Follow on Twitter @Boobie24Dixon)
32-Kendall Hunter: Played a season-high 25 snaps after entering the game following Gore's injury. He carried six times for 40 yards, including a 17-yard TD run in which he followed the blocks of Adam Snyder and Bruce Miller. He caught one pass for 4 yards, and did a good job sticking his nose in the action to help in pass protection.
44-Moran Norris: Inactive (coaches' decision). He is healthy, but he has not suited up since sustaining a fractured left fibula Sept. 18 against the Cowboys.
49-Bruce Miller: Saw a more limited role with 18 snaps from scrimmage because of the 49ers' desire to throw the ball. . . Good block on linebacker Spencer Paysinger to open way for Hunter to gain 11 yards at beginning of second half. . . .Another good block on Paysinger on a 6-yard Hunter gain. . . . Stuck with block on linebacker Greg Jones on Hunter's 17-yard touchdown. (Follow on Twitter @bmiller_49)
90-Isaac Sopoaga: It was the first time since Week 2 that he suited up for a game but did not see any action on offense. The power running game was simply not part of the game plan.POSTGAME VIDEO: Kendall Hunter
Wide receivers
10-Kyle Williams: He played 10 snaps at receiver, and caught one pass for 14 yards. (Follow on Twitter @KyleWilliams_10)
15-Michael Crabtree: Started at flanker and played 42 snaps in the game. He finished with one catch for 21 yards, which does not include an successful two-point conversion reception . . . Had an 8-yard reception nullified due to an offensive pass-interference penalty. . . . Lined up in backfield on two-point conversion, motioned out and ran to the front right pylon where he caught the pass from Smith to give 49ers a 20-13 lead early in the fourth quarter. . . . Had block to eliminate Corey Webster on Hunter's 17-yard touchdown run in fourth quarter. (Follow on Twitter @KingCrab15)
17-Braylon Edwards: Started at split end and played 31 snaps in the game. He finished with three catches for 47 yards. . . Had a 17-yard completion on third-and-21, which set up David Akers' 52-yard field goal in the second quarter. . . . Clearly lined up offside in the slot on a third-and-4 play in the fourth quarter. (Follow on Twitter @OfficialBraylon)
18-Brett Swain: Inactive (coaches' decision).
19-Ted Ginn: Entered as the 49ers' third wide receiver and played 16 snaps. . . . He finished with three catches for 39 yards. . . Made nice 9-yard reception in second quarter, as he got both feet inbounds at the sideline. . . . Perfectly thrown pass deflected off his hands at the Giants' 16-yard line late in first half and was intercepted by Corey Webster. . . . Made another good catch on the "Skywalker" play at the sideline, getting both feet down for 16-yard gain.RELATED: 'Skywalker' gains 16 yards, sets up 49ers FG
Tight ends
46-Delanie Walker: Hard a large role with 32 snaps from scrimmage and led the 49ers with six receptions for 69 yards. . . Also made a nice play to track the Akers' onside kick and go up to secure the catch before getting hit by Giants special-teamer Ramses Barden in the second quarter. . . . Great stiff arm on outside linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka to pick up 15 more yards on 19-yard reception in third quarter. . . . Drew the Giants offside in the fourth quarter on a third-and-1 with a legal shift. The play set up the 49ers' first TD of the game. (Follow on Twitter @Dwalk46)
81-Justin Peelle: He played four snaps as the 49ers' third tight end.
85-Vernon Davis: He played all 52 snaps of offense for the 49ers, and caught three passes for 40 yards and a touchdown. . . He hung with a defensive end Justin Tuck spin move to allow Smith time to hit Walker on a 14-yard pass at start of the second half. . . . Lined up at right wing and worked his way all the way across the field to make wide-open catch and jumped through grasp of safety Kenny Phillips at goal line for a 31-yard touchdown. (Follow on Twitter @VernonDavis85)POSTGAME VIDEO: Vernon Davis Delanie Walker
Offensive linemen
59-Jonathan Goodwin: Started at center, played every snap, and played very well. . . . . Provided solid protection against Tuck on 14 yard pass to Ginn in first quarter on a third-and-8. (Follow on Twitter @Jgoody59)
62-Chilo Rachal: Did not play on offense, but saw some action on special teams.
67-Daniel Kilgore: Inactive (coaches' decison).
68-Adam Snyder: Started at right guard and played every snap. . . . Good one-on-one protection against Jason Pierre-Paul on 14-yard pass to Ted Ginn. . . . Shoved Rocky Bernard out of the way to allow Smith to hit Walker on an 18-yard pass on a third-and-1 to set up Akers' third field goal of the game. . . . Over-committed to the left, allowing defensive tackle Linval Joseph the opportunity to use a spin move to throw Smith for an 8-yard sack in the second quarter. . . . Made the block on Kiwanuka that enabled Hunter to break through the line en route to his 17-yard TD run in the fourth quarter. (Follow on Twitter @ASnyds68)
74-Joe Staley: Started at left tackle and played every snap. . . Did a good job against Osi Umenyiora . . . . Was called for a false start prior to 49ers' second play. . . . Appeared to have good protection against Umenyiora, but Smith moved into the path and was hit as he threw a third-quarter incompletion. . . . He ended up trying to block to Umenyiora and Tuck on a stunt, as he and Iupati did not have a clean exchange on assignments on a fourth-quarter sack. (Follow on Twitter @jstaley74)
75-Alex Boone: He did not start but he played two snaps as an extra blocker.
76-Anthony Davis: Started at right tackle, and did a good job of neutralizing Tuck, who was not credited with any tackles. . . He gave up only one pressure to Tuck. That came in the second quarter, and Smith escaped and found Vernon Davis for 5 yards. (Follow on Twitter @AnthonyDavis76)
77-Mike Iupati: Started at left guard and did a good job in pass protection. . . . .Called for a false start in third quarter. He and Staley did not have a clean switch while blocking Umenyiora and Tuck in the fourth quarter. Smith held the ball too long and was sacked by Umenyiora.
78-Mike Person: Inactive (coaches' decision).

McDonald toasts Shanahan for communication of trade talks

McDonald toasts Shanahan for communication of trade talks

SANTA CLARA -- Tight end Vance McDonald became aware of a report the 49ers had engaged in trade talks involving him at his brother’s wedding in Austin, Texas.

But McDonald said he did not give it much thought because he had another immediate priority.

“I still had my best man’s speech to do,” McDonald said.

Later that evening during last month's draft, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan called McDonald to keep him in the loop. There was no trade, and McDonald returned to Santa Clara on Monday to continue participation in the 49ers’ offseason program.

“The first thing I told him was, ‘Man, there aren’t a lot of coaches that would do this,’” McDonald said of his talk with Shanahan. “He just wanted to fill me in.”

Nearly four weeks later, it is as if nothing ever happened.

“The only trade discussions we had was when another team asked us about Vance on draft day,” Shanahan said this week. “And after a team asked us about Vance then we asked other teams if they’d be interested in that same thing.”

McDonald said he completely understood why the 49ers would check with other teams around the league to see what they could acquire in a trade.

“Basically, it’s just like any other team in the NFL would do,” McDonald said. “If you’re a 2-14 team, obviously, there are a lot of things you can improve on, a lot of spots that need to be filled. There are a lot of things you need to improve upon in the offseason. So if teams are going to call and inquire about you, then obviously the next step is to … call around to every other team.

“So that’s exactly what happened to me. It isn’t like they don’t want me here. There was never a lack of communication on any level.”

Even before he knew his immediate future with the 49ers, McDonald said he tried to maintain the proper state of mind.

“I had the mindset this isn’t going to change anything,” McDonald said. “I’m going to end up where I end up and I’m just going to continue doing what I’m doing, which is do everything to be a better football player.”

McDonald enters the fifth year of his NFL career after signing a new deal in December that amounts to a three-year, $19.7 million extension. Three days later, the 49ers placed McDonald on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

McDonald was on pace for his best season as a pass-catcher. In 11 games, he had 24 receptions for 391 yards and four touchdowns.

Now, he is competition for a spot in the 49ers’ offense, along with fifth-round draft pick George Kittle, undrafted rookie Cole Hikutini, and veterans Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell.

McDonald said he likes what Shanahan has brought to the 49ers, including added responsibilities of the tight end position.

“Last year, all we talked about was how fast our pace was,” McDonald said. “With Kyle, it’s insanely quick. He’s a very detailed guy. It’s interesting to hear him present information. You try to apply it and play with the same mindset that he has. It’s a task that we all enjoy doing.

“We (tight ends) are the end of the line. There’s communication with us and the wide receivers and running backs. We’re also in command with receiving corps. There are a lot of things on our plate. Hopefully, this doesn’t get back to the wide receivers, but we’re supposed to be smarter than them. It’s a fun job to have. We don’t try to rub it in too much.”

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as analyst

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as analyst

Chip Kelly is back in college football.

The former Oregon coach, who served as 49ers head coach last season, signed a multiyear deal as an ESPN analyst, the network announced Friday morning. He will work predominantly on pre-games, halftimes and in studio wraps each Saturday on ESPN2.

“Over the last 30 years, I have experienced football from one perspective – as a coach,” Kelly said in a statement. “Working in television will allow me to see the game from a different angle; simultaneously, I‘ll provide viewers an insight to the mindset of a coach and team while offering alternative views of various situations.

“Once I decided to make the move to TV, my familiarity with ESPN, combined with their high-quality production and vital role in college football, it was easily the best network suited for me.”

Kelly, 53, was fired on the evening of the 49ers’ season finale. The 49ers went 2-14 under Kelly and set the franchise record with 13 consecutive losses. Their only victories came against the Los Angeles Rams. Kelly also auditioned with FOX for the analyst job vacated when John Lynch became 49ers general manager, sources told NBC Sports Bay Area.

Kelly served as Oregon’s head coach from 2009 to ’12. His teams compiled a record of 46-7. Under Kelly, the Ducks advanced to the 2011 national championship game, losing to Auburn 22-19.

Kelly won the AP College Football Coach of the Year. He twice won the Pac-10 coach of the year. He left Oregon to become head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013. After his first two NFL teams went 10-6, Kelly was fired in 2015 with one game remaining in the season. The Eagles were 6-9 at the time of Kelly's firing.

“Chip is one of the most innovative football minds of our generation,” ESPN senior coordinating producer Lee Fitting said. “As a coach, he saw the game from a unique perspective, never afraid to take an unconventional approach. We want him to bring that mentality to our college football coverage each week, offering fans a varying viewpoint outside of the conventional thought process.”