Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


49ers WR Richie James overcomes adversity, injury to deliver career performance vs. Packers

Nov 5, 2020 at 10:20 PM--


Richie James probably never would have guessed earlier in the week he'd be in a position to be the go-to player on offense for the 49ers in their 34-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers Thursday night, but a rapidly changing set of circumstances demanded exactly that.

And as fate would have it, James delivered beyond expectation, putting together a performance that saw him total career highs in catches (nine) and yards (184) to go with his third career receiving touchdown.

James had primarily been a return specialist and a reserve player at receiver throughout his three-year NFL career and came into the night with zero catches on the 2020 season and 15 career catches for 349 yards and two touchdowns. He entered the week unlikely to add much (if anything) to that total, but things changed quickly once Wednesday arrived.

On Wednesday morning, the 49ers learned that wide receiver Kendrick Bourne tested positive the previous day for COVID-19, which put him on the Reserve/COVID-19 list for the Thursday night matchup against the Packers. Also placed on the list due to being close contacts to Bourne were left tackle Trent Williams, wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, and wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who was already out due to a hamstring injury.

Those developments left the 49ers scrambling a bit to readjust their wide receiver position for Thursday night. River Cracraft and Kevin White were added to the roster from the practice squad, joining James and Trent Taylor as the four receivers available against the Packers.

"We just had to do a little shuffling," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters following the loss. "There's not enough time to change everything. It's the night before the game, and guys weren't practicing anyway because of the short week. We just got the receivers, reshuffled them and walked through a lot last night. I think Wes (wide receivers coach Wes Welker) grabbed a couple of them and walked through today before the game."

The original plan coming into the game at receiver was to heavily feature Aiyuk, but that role fell to James once Aiyuk was declared out. James wound up being one of the few bright spots in a dismal loss for the 49ers and showed he was capable of delivering in a feature role at receiver if need be.

"He knew a lot of pressure was on him because he saw what the game plan was and he knew he was going to have those (opportunities)," Shanahan said. "But I was just happy he was able to get out there and make it through the game and do a really good job when we came to him. We've got a lot of confidence in Richie."

And not only did James deliver his career performance on short notice, he did it through an ankle injury that originally put his playing status in question.

"I think the most impressive thing with Richie, we were told on Monday he had a 50 percent chance of playing because he was coming off an ankle injury," Shanahan said. "He wasn't able to go last week, so we weren't sure if we were able to have him. Then we found out on Tuesday he was going to be able to dress for the game. We didn't plan on using him that much because he was coming off the injury. But I was just thankful to have him.

"He got a lot of opportunities tonight, but I told him before the game that in regards to what happens, I know he's going in a little bit beat up. I know he didn't get to practice this stuff."

James told reporters Thursday night his ankle was at 95 percent and that it was a no-brainer for him to give it a go. It wasn't an easy task for him given everything he was dealing with, but fortunately, he came ready to play.

"It was kind of hard, but I was prepared for it," James said. "I'm always looking at the situation like if anyone goes down, be ready as much as possible."

James may well once again find himself at the back of the line at receiver against New Orleans, given the fact the 49ers are hopeful Samuel, Bourne, and Aiyuk will be available by November 15. But if James doesn't get an opportunity like the one he had against the Packers anytime soon, at least he knows he made the most of it when he had the chance.

"I knew the opportunities would come, like it did today," James said. "You've got to take advantage of those opportunities like I did today. Hopefully, they come more and I get more opportunities."





More San Francisco 49ers News



Fred Warner, Jason Verrett, three other 49ers receive performance-based bonuses

By David Bonilla
Apr 6, 2021

Five San Francisco 49ers players earned performance-based bonuses, per a report from NBC Sports Bay Area. They include linebackers Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw, and defensive backs Jason Verrett and Tarvarius Moore. One offensive lineman, Daniel Brunskill, also earned the additional pay. Matt Maiocco has the breakdown of how much each earned via the performance-based bonuses. The NFL Management Council released Performance Based Pay for the 2020 season. The following #49ers earned additional $300K +:Daniel Brunskill



My case for the 49ers to draft Justin Fields

By Tim Sprinkles
Apr 5, 2021

When the San Francisco 49ers were drafting at No. 12, there was a lot of speculation about which quarterback might fall and who that might be. The only quarterback who seemed to have a chance to fall to twelve was Mac Jones. However, the 49ers aren't selecting at twelve anymore because they took a huge swing and traded three first rounds picks to move up to pick at No. 3. This means there will likely be three of the consensus top-five quarterback prospects still on the board. This is my case for Justin Fields. Fields is a unique specimen at the quarterback position. Everyone on Twitter wants to pigeonhole Fields into a "type" of quarterback and what he could become in Shanahan's offense. Some say he's a runner who can also throw. Others say he's a slow



Mock Draft Roundup: The Mac Jones-to-49ers Chatter is Deafening

By Justin Wong
Apr 7, 2021

The 2021 NFL Draft is a three-day event from April 29th to May 1st that will be hosted in Cleveland, Ohio. A select number of draft prospects will be invited to Cleveland to walk across the stage and shake hands with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The NFL Draft will also feature draft prospects participating remotely across the country. Last month, the 49ers arguably made their most aggressive move since trading Joe Montana, as they gave up multiple picks to jump from No. 12 to No. 3 in this year's NFL Draft. The first Mock Draft Roundup featured primarily defensive players but NFL pundits have now shifted their 49ers mock drafts to the quarterback position.



Why the 49ers should not draft Mac Jones at No. 3

By Griff Montana
Apr 8, 2021

Shockwaves reverberated around the NFL last month when the 49ers traded up with the Miami Dolphins to the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. By giving away its first- and third-round picks in 2022, and another first-rounder in 2023, San Francisco made its mega move in upgrading the quarterback room for its foreseeable future. While the team has maintained a public stance of keeping current quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for this coming season, this trade signified its dissatisfaction with Garoppolo's services, as the 49ers are expected to select his successor with their third overall pick in the draft at the end of this month. Most predict that the Jacksonville Jaguars and the New York Jets, who hold the first and second overall picks in this year's draft,


Featured

Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone