Candlestick struck by two blackouts

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Candlestick struck by two blackouts

SAN FRANCISCO -- A pair of power outages struck Candlestick Park Monday night, causing delays for the 49ers and Steelers in their high-profile, nationally televised game.

The first snafu occurred 20 minutes before the scheduled 5:40 p.m. kickoff; the second hit at approximately 6:42 p.m. local time. In each case the stadium was thrown into total darkness.

According to Pacific Gas & Electric spokesperson Joe Molica, the stadium was the only customer in the area that lost power. He said the cause of the breakdowns was unknown. Later, the 49ers speculated that "offsite transformer problems" may have been the cause.

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh, asked after the 20-3 win about the scene in the locker room at the time of the first power failure, deadpanned "it was dark," prompting laughter from members of the media.

Following the pregame failure, the stadium returned to darkness with 12:13 remaining in the second quarter and the 49ers holding a 6-0 lead on a pair of David Akers field goals -- each following interceptions of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger.

RELATED: Blackout at Candlestick -- what they're saying on Twitter

During the delay, suspended Steelers linebacker James Harrison published the following message on his Twitter account of @jharrison9292:

"If I cant play then can't nobody play... Lights out!"

San Francisco team president Jed York published this tweet:

"Electric atmosphere tonight."

Players for both teams remained on the field and active, attempting to stay loose. The game resumed at approximately 6:59 p.m. During the delay, a fan ran on the field before being gang-tackled by security.

The initial power outage happened prior to the start of the highly anticipated inter-conference game and resulted in a 20-minute delay of kickoff. Power was cut at 5:19 p.m. and restored at 5:28.

Game announcer Mike Tirico termed it "an embarrassing night for the 49ers and the city of San Francisco" after the second occurrence.

The 49ers issued this statement late in the first quarter:
We have all resources working to find out what happened. As more information becomes available, we will issue an update. The game was delayed for 20 minutes, starting at 6 p.m. PT.

The team issued another statement at 7:51 p.m.:Right now, we believe the power outage occurred because of a blown transformer. We have all our available personnel working to confirm that. There are more questions than answers; we have asked PG & E to assure us and the NFL that this will not reoccur. We will continue to update you as we learn more.

Both teams were off the field for the first failure, in the locker rooms at the south end of the stadium. Through it all, a color guard stationed on the field as part of the National Anthem remained unflinchingly in place near the 50-yard-line.

Emergency lights brought back some visibility before power to the stadium was fully restored.

It's not the first time that Monday Night Football has dealt with delays due to power, nor the first time the Steelers were involved.

Other recent instances were last season in Week 1 (Ravens vs. Jets) with power failure as the culprit and Week 5 in 2010 (Vikings vs. Jets), due to lightning.

In 2007 the Week 12 contest between the Dolphins and Steelers was interrupted by lightning.

The most memorable interruption of a game at the venerable stadium came in October 1989, when the Lome Prieta earthquake struck moments before Game 3 of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's.

That led to a 10-day interruption of the Fall Classic, in part to allow engineers to check the stadium's overall structural integrity.

Candlestick Park opened in 1960. The 49ers have played there since 1971.

49ers trade up, select QB C.J. Beathard in third round of 2017 NFL Draft

49ers trade up, select QB C.J. Beathard in third round of 2017 NFL Draft

C.J. BEATHARD
Position: Quarterback
College: Iowa
Height: 6-2
Weight: 219
Selection: Third round, No. 104 overall

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers traded back into the end of the third round to select a quarterback to join Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley on the 49ers' roster.

General manager John Lynch's fourth trade of the draft netted the team the grandson of legendary NFL personnel man Bobby Beathard. His grandson, C.J., joins the 49ers after a four-year career at Iowa. Beathard completed 58.6 percent of his passes last season with 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Beathard was not generally expected to be chosen within the first two days of the draft. He was the sixth quarterback selected, falling behind Mitch Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Deshone Kizer and Davis Webb.

"They won't regret it," Beathard said on a conference call with the Bay Area media.

The 49ers traded up with the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings had the No. 104 pick, and called the 49ers to see if they were interested in a trade. After some consideration, the 49ers decided to move up from No. 109 while also giving the Vikings a seventh-round pick at No. 219.

"Might he have been there at 109? That’s what we had to weigh," 49ers John Lynch said. "But at the end of the day, we felt like it was worth it to be able to go to bed knowing that we had a player that we liked and want the opportunity develop at the quarterback position."

And that's what coach Kyle Shanahan plans on doing. He said Beathard is not coming to the team this season to compete with Hoyer for the starting job.

"We’re bringing him in here to develop him and give him a chance, but just like any other position, everyone competes," Shanahan said. "Brian is our starting quarterback and, right now, Matt Barkley is our second. And I look at him to come in and be our third with us only having three on the roster.

"By no means did we come into this draft thinking we’re going to get a guy to compete with Brian."

Shanahan said Beathard and Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman were the two quarterbacks in the draft who ran offenses in college most similar to the offense he will install with the 49ers.

"One thing that helps is being able to see guys play the way you’re going to ask them to play," Shanahan said. "It helps being at Iowa and watching the system he’s in. It’s easier to see to watch him over the years. He’s a three-year starter. He’s led his team to a bunch of wins, especially in 2015 when they had a better team and he played unbelievable."

As a junior at Iowa, Beathard completed 61.6 percent of his pass attempts for 2,809 yards with 17 touchdowns and five interceptions. 

"He’s a leader. He’s tough. He processes very well," Shanahan said. "He's extremely accurate and he lives and dies football."

49ers select CB Ahkello Witherspoon in third round of the 2017 NFL Draft

49ers select CB Ahkello Witherspoon in third round of the 2017 NFL Draft

AHKELLO WITHERSPOON
Position: Cornerback
College: Colorado
Height: 6-2 3/4
Weight: 193
Selection: Third round, No. 66 overall

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers selected Colorado cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, a Sacramento native, in the third round of the NFL draft with the No. 66 overall pick.

“Being close to home is an incredible opportunity, as well as the type of defense they play -- press man, up in your face,” Witherspoon said. “When I came in for a visit, they were asking me if I’ve adopted that role and if I’d be willing to continue that. And I said, ‘Absolutely.’

“It’s an opportunity to play for such a great organization, close to home, with such a savvy defensive mentality. I think it’s going to be a great place for me.”

The 49ers were also scheduled to have the next pick, but traded the selection at No. 67 for the New Orleans Saints’ second-round pick in next year’s draft, as well as a seventh-round selection (No. 229 overall) this year. The 49ers now have 10 picks in next year’s draft.

The Saints used that pick at No. 67 to select Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara.

Witherspoon began his college career at Sacramento City. He played his final three college seasons at Colorado. He started 12 games last season and earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors.

Witherspoon led the nation with 22 pass breakups. He recorded one interception -- a game-saving pick in the end zone to preserve a 41-38 victory over Oregon. A pre-med student majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology, he said he aspires to be a doctor after his football career.

But Witherspoon said he is committed to football and promised the 49ers during his visit to Santa Clara that he will make huge strides over the next few years as he continues to develop as a player.