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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers Notebook: A better Jimmy; Deebo scratches his head at Jalen Ramsey; 49ers love Bobby Wagner’s big hit

Oct 3, 2022 at 11:34 PM--

There's a lot to unpack from Monday night's 49ers' win over the Los Angeles Rams, which was filled with big plays and one particularly bizarre moment that came from a fan that jumped on the field.

The 49ers got a big performance from their defense, who produced seven sacks and two takeaways while keeping the Rams out of the end zone in a 24-9 victory. Meanwhile, the offense took some steps forward with the help of a highlight moment from Deebo Samuel after an ugly performance in last week's 11-10 loss to the Denver Broncos. And along the way, a fan who appeared to be making a protest while covered in pink smoke ran across the field before getting decked by Rams linebacker Bobby Wagner.

What did the 49ers think about Samuel's touchdown, and Wagner's hit? And how did Jimmy Garoppolo feel after the win? We'll run through that and more in this version of 49ers Notebook.

The highlight touchdown that almost wasn't?

Samuel's touchdown was truly one for the highlight reel. With the 49ers up 7-6 late in the second quarter, Samuel caught a third down pass from Jimmy Garoppolo, then raced downfield while making Rams defenders miss for a 57-yard touchdown that gave the 49ers a 14-6 lead.

But Garoppolo's pass came close to the hands of Rams defensive back Derion Kendrick, who went after the pass and had daylight in front of him if he was able to make the interception. The pass went over the hands of Kendrick and into Samuel's, who jumped up to make the catch before taking off to the end zone.

"At first it looked like a pick," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday night. "It was close. That corner was teeing off on it. We had to wait a little bit because the guys inside, they ran into each other, so we had to hesitate just a hair for Deebo to come down with that throw, then he did the rest."

Garoppolo saw Kendrick coming, so he tried to put the ball into a spot where only Samuel could catch it.

"I saw him driving on it so I just didn't want to throw the interception," Garoppolo said. "I kind of gave it a 'either Deebo will get it or no one will' and that's about all I did on the play. Deebo did the rest, man. He's fun. He's fun to watch. It's awesome having a guy like that."

And once Kendrick was unable to make the play, Samuel did what Samuel does.

"The dude just missed the ball," Samuel said. "My mentality is it's just me and the ball out there. What happened after that is just something I work on all the time and I just got in the box."

Jalen what are you doing?

One of the Rams defenders who missed a tackle on Samuel's touchdown was cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who took a dive towards Samuel's legs towards the end of the play. Ramsey could have stopped the touchdown if he made the tackle, but he bounced off and Samuel cruised into the end zone.

Samuel seemed surprised from what he saw out of Ramsey on the play.

"Yeah, I don't know what he was doing out there," Samuel said. "I just went right by him. He was just backpedaling. I was like, 'What's going on?'"

A better Jimmy

Jimmy Garoppolo wasn't quite in top form Monday night, but his performance was better than his erratic showing in the loss in Denver. Garoppolo finished 16-of-27 for 237 yards and a touchdown and did a better job on third downs, helping the 49ers to convert 5-of-12 after going just 1-of-10 against the Broncos.

Garoppolo admitted it was a long week for him after the Week 3 loss, but coming out of it with a win makes a big difference.

"Hell yeah. But when you go through a tough week like that it makes this feel a lot better at the end," Garoppolo said. "We've been in this situation before. It's a roller coaster this season. You've just got to ride the highs and lows and stay in the middle as much as you can. That's how you get success in the end."

Garoppolo is still working to get to a place he wants to be in physically and mentally after missing the offseason due to shoulder surgery but took a step forward over the past week.

"I think every week I'll keep feeling better and better," Garoppolo said. "The shoulder, it's tough during the season to get it right, but we've got a long season ahead of us. Hopefully every week it'll get better and better."

Samuel said he felt Garoppolo was closer to top form on Monday night even though the offense isn't quite where it needs to be.

"With him having two weeks under his belt, I knew Jimmy would come out there and be the Jimmy that we know, even though he missed a few," Samuel said. "We still got work to do and he did a good job today on third downs as well."

Hit of the night

It wasn't shown during the broadcast, but Bobby Wagner put a hit on the pink smoke protester that may have caused him to think twice about running onto the field.

Peyton and Eli Manning seemed to love it, as did the 49ers.

"That was awesome. That was a great hit," tight end George Kittle said, while Shanahan said, "That was kind of cool to see."

Wagner said he was trying to keep the game safe while also helping out a struggling security guard.

"That's not making a play," Wagner said, per ESPN. "That's just keeping it safe. You don't know what that fan got or what they're doing. You see it all the time, and we don't know what they're carrying in their pockets. It's whatever that little smoke stuff is, but that s--- could be dangerous. One of the guys on the other side, it looked like he got hurt, and security looked like he was struggling, so I was frustrated, so I took it out on him."

* Kittle doing what he can: George Kittle wasn't a big part of the 49ers' passing game Monday night, catching just two passes for 24 yards while being targeted four times. Kittle's season is off to a slow start after missing time due to a groin injury.

But he knows there will be games down the line where he gets the opportunity to put up numbers. During the games he doesn't, he's more than happy to do what he needs to do as a blocker.

"I'm out there doing my job, whatever they ask of me," Kittle said. "I love catching the football, I love going out there and scoring touchdowns and stuff like that. Some nights it doesn't happen. But I'll be damned if don't make an impact on the run game, which I definitely did tonight."

A planned change

The 49ers shuffled rookie Spencer Burford with veteran Daniel Brunskill at the right guard position at times during the game, but it might not have had anything to do with any challenges Burford faced against all-everything defensive lineman Aaron Donald. Shanahan said the shuffle was something that was planned in advance.

"Brunskill (hamstring) just got back for the first time in about a month," Shanahan said. "He's done real good versus these guys. Spencer's done a hell of a job in this month, but we planned on mixing him in there a little but just so he didn't have to take too many reps, but I'm not sure how it ended up."

Extra meaning

The 49ers and Rams had some epic battles in 2021, but right tackle Mike McGlinchey unfortunately missed them all. McGlinchey's season came to an early end due to a quad injury, so Monday night's game was the first chance he's had to play the Rams since 2020. As such, the win meant a little extra to him.

"It means the world to me," McGlinchey said, via 95.7 The Game. "It's a rivalry I missed out on last year. I missed all three games against the Rams. I don't think there's any secret to the intensity to the games we've played against them the last 3-4 years and what they've meant to the greater picture of what goes on in the postseason and all that kind of stuff. But to be back in and be able to contribute to this game and contribute this rivalry and play against some of the best players in the world, this is why you play football."


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