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  • By Richard Madrid
    Jan 4, 2019 at 4:31 PM
    How did he do it? By being an elite athlete playing tight end. Seriously though, George Kittle had a breakout year in his second year in the NFL. In 2018, he finished as the team's leading receiver and surpassed the 1,000 yard mark for receiving yards this season by Week 14 with a 210 yard receiving performance against the Broncos. He finished with 88 receptions for 1,377 yards, and five touchdowns, 890 yards more than the 49ers' second leading receiver. Kittle is the first 49ers pass catcher to eclipse 1,000 yards in a season since Anquan Boldin did it in 2014. In fact, he joins Boldin, Michael Crabtree, Terrell Owens, and Jerry Rice as the only 49ers receivers to go over 1,000 yards in a season in the last 20...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Dec 28, 2018 at 10:54 AM
    The Bears came into Santa Clara for a Week 16 game with the 49ers in what is becoming an annual tradition in a storied rivalry. The two teams have met six times in the last seven seasons, splitting those games 3-3. The rivalry itself favors the 49ers 34-32-1, with the 49ers also boasting a 3-0 playoff record against Chicago. The latest meeting featured a Bears team well on its way to making a deep playoff run sitting now at 11-4 and a 49ers team not quite able to find its edge yet with the obvious starters missing and on its way to their second losing season under head coach Kyle Shanahan. That didn't prevent the 49ers from making it a competitive game,...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Dec 27, 2018 at 12:46 PM
    A couple of weeks ago, I took a look at a brief moment in the Broncos game surrounding rookie safety Marcell Harris. The specific sequence on key third and fourth down stops propelled the 49ers to a win over a then Broncos team looking to make a playoff push and provided a glimpse into what the 49ers hope to be developing at the strong safety position in the event they do not bring back Jaquiski Tartt. Today we're going to look a little deeper at Harris' past three performances. Harris was a sixth round pick (184th) overall in the 2018 NFL Draft out of the University of Florida. The safety missed all of his 2017 season at Florida with an Achilles tear and the 49ers took a chance anyway. He began the 2018 season...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Dec 19, 2018 at 11:59 AM
    In what is arguably the best win since the move to Santa Clara, the 49ers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 26-23 in an overtime thriller, their first win against Seattle exactly five years and eight days from their last win against the Seahawks in December 2013. The Seahawks had won the previous 10 contests until Sunday. The 2018 season has not been without its drama though, with Bay Area blogger prognostications that head coach Kyle Shanahan would, or should, be on the hot seat. The criticism is unwarranted and quite frankly, ridiculous to even suggest at this point. The 49ers' lack of...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Dec 13, 2018 at 11:48 AM
    The 49ers secondary has come under fire throughout the course of the season from fans and coaches alike. The lapses in coverage, big plays given up, late game breakdowns, and teams only targeting one side of the field have landed the secondary in a bit of hot water with the coaching staff as the season has progressed. None of that was on display against the Broncos though, a team very much in the playoff hunt in the AFC. Leading the way for the secondary's overall solid performance were cornerback Akhello Witherspoon and nickel corner D.J. Reed. Ahkello Witherspoon's upward trend At the center of the struggles of the 49ers secondary is former third-round pick Ahkello Witherspoon, who made a strong showing late last season as he filled in the...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Dec 5, 2018 at 4:19 PM
    The 49ers dropped another game and fell to 2-10 this season after losing to the Seattle Seahawks 43-16 on Sunday. Collectively, it was a total team effort in the loss. Individually, there were some standouts, but for the most part, the 49ers were seemingly overmatched in every phase of the game. Quarterback Nick Mullens was 30 of 48 for 414 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Receiver Dante Pettis led the way with five receptions for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Jeff Wilson Jr was the leading rusher with 15 carries for 61 yards while Matt Breida, who tweaked his ankle in warm-ups, only carried the ball five times for six yards. He added three receptions for 51 yards as well. On defense, the 49ers just ran up against a superior offense and...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Nov 28, 2018 at 1:01 PM
    The 49ers dropped yet another game in Tampa Bay 27-9 in a Week 12 match-up where I can only assume the Thanksgiving festivities and tryptophan caught up to them. They certainly played like it in all phases of the game, from offensive turnovers, to big plays given up on defense, to special teams penalties. Oh, and the team's star linebacker and former first round pick Reuben Foster was cut from the team within 12 hours of being arrested at the team's hotel on allegations of domestic violence, his 2nd such incident in less than a year. It was as the title of this article suggests, a cornucopia of problems. There...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Nov 22, 2018 at 7:05 AM
    Originally I started this series with the idea that I'd cover tight end George Kittle in two separate pieces, the running game and the passing game. But it's evolved into a three-part series examining his breakout season thus far and why he's one the league's premier run-blocking and pass-catching tight ends. Today we look at his role in the play action passing game. The final installment will look at his ability to create yards after the catch and his route running ability. According to Pro Football Focus, the 49ers are running play action on 27.8% of passing plays this season through 10 games. Combined with the running game, it's an efficient offensive attack that has kept the 49ers in numerous close games this...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Nov 15, 2018 at 9:46 AM
    The 49ers dropped another game by one score late in the fourth quarter after leading before their opponent's final drive. It was the third such game since week six at Green Bay that the 49ers defense has given up the go-ahead score to lose the game after leading. Yet again the defense was the victim of its own mistakes, giving up two big conversions due to coverage miscues as the Giants were driving with fewer than three minutes to play. While the 49ers offense threw two interceptions of its own, the defense failed to cause any turnovers. It was unable to get any pressure on Giants quarterback Eli Manning, racking up just one sack, highlighting the need this off-season to build a solid pass rush. It held rookie sensation Saquon Barkley to under 100 yards rushing (67) but gave...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Nov 9, 2018 at 12:14 PM
    Hot take alert: George Kittle is having a break out year and is one of the best tight ends in the league, maybe even the best. He's currently the seventh ranked run blocker among tight ends and the fifth ranked receiving tight end per Pro Football Focus' grades. He's already surpassed his rookie season totals in receiving yards, touchdowns, and yards per game. The underrated aspect of Kittle's game is his ability to run block, a skill set that doesn't necessarily show up in game day broadcasts due to the camera angle and the nature of the audience to follow the ball carrier rather than individual blocking assignments. While...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Nov 5, 2018 at 4:31 AM
    The 49ers won the final Battle of the Bay series against the Oakland Raiders in a Thursday Night Football prime time matchup by a final score of 34-3. The final nail in the coffin came at the hands of Nick Mullens, the 49ers third string quarterback and regular member of the practice squad. Raiders head coach John Gruden was less than thrilled as he could be seen on the sideline with many of his signature "Chucky" facial expressions. Mullens got the start in place of injured quarterback C.J. Beathard after it was revealed that he injured his throwing hand last Sunday in the loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Throughout the short practice week he was unable to grip and throw a football until Thursday. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said Beathard's status was truly going to be a last...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Oct 31, 2018 at 5:24 AM
    The Arizona Cardinals completed the season sweep of the 49ers in Glendale, Arizona on Sunday with an 18-15 win during the final minutes of the Week Eight game. It was yet another loss by one score, the 49ers' fifth such game of the season and 13th such game since last season. It's becoming harder and harder to find the positive amidst the constant stream of consistently negative aspects that befall the team week after week: the turnovers, dropped passes, missed blocks, sacks, interceptions, missed tackles, blown coverages, and injuries. The 49ers have experienced it all in their race toward the number one overall pick. They'll likely be targeting the much-coveted premier pass rusher they desperately need to boost their pass rush against the NFC West. Through...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Oct 24, 2018 at 4:22 PM
    On Sunday, the 49ers dropped another game, this time in embarrassing fashion, to the Los Angeles Rams 39-10. With the loss of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and a 1-6 start, the NFL flexed out this would-be Sunday night game to an afternoon slot on CBS. With the Rams up four scores, CBS then flexed the game out for a much more competitive game. The embarrassing part is all of this happened on a weekend during which the 49ers were honoring the memory and legacy of Dwight Clark and "The Catch" made famous in the 1981 NFC Championship game. In what is becoming the norm around Santa Clara, the 49ers lost two of three fumbles, and quarterback C.J. Beathard threw two more interceptions, for a total of four giveaways. The 49ers are -15 in the turnover differential this season so far....
  • By Richard Madrid
    Oct 18, 2018 at 9:09 AM
    The 49ers dropped a heartbreaker at Lambeau Field to the Green Bay Packers 33-30 on Monday Night Football, their first loss in a Monday night game since week two of 2010 at home against the New Orleans Saints. Aaron Rodgers did Aaron Rodgers things and does what he does best and that is lead 4th quarter comebacks to win games. There are no moral victories in the NFL, though this was one will go down near the top of the all-time great 49ers-Packers rivalry games as one of the best. Unfortunately the ball again did not bounce the Niners' way, both figuratively and literally. Two costly fumbles led to scoring drives for the Packers, albeit field goals. A late interception by quarterback C.J. Beathard led to a final scoring drive in which the Packers had to go 90 yards in just...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Oct 10, 2018 at 11:30 AM
    Today we examine the loss to the Cardinals, what went right and what went wrong. Since losing Jimmy Garoppolo for the season, the 49ers' goals for the season were to remain competitive while playing sound fundamental football and allowing the younger players to develop. For the 49ers the last two games, remaining competitive has been a chore. Against the Chargers, the offense moved more fluidly while the defense sputtered up and down. Against the Cardinals, the offense struggled to score despite running 92 offensive plays and the defense held its own. Ultimately the 49ers dropped their third straight game 28-18 in front of a barely-there home crowd in Santa Clara....
  • By Richard Madrid
    Oct 5, 2018 at 6:01 AM
    The latest installment in the 49ers opponent quarterbacks series looks at NFC West rival Josh Rosen of the Arizona Cardinals. Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen was the fourth of five quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft at pick #10. Baker Mayfield (#1 to Cleveland), Sam Darnold (#3 to the New York Jets), and Josh Allen (#7 to Buffalo), were all drafted before him, and all made their starting debuts prior to Week Four. Josh Rosen got his first start last weekend, and to little fanfare. Only Lamar Jackson (#32 to Baltimore) has yet to start a game. The tenth overall pick out of UCLA, however, may end up being the best of the bunch by the season's end if his first start is any indication, though I suspect few will notice due to how bad...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Oct 3, 2018 at 5:03 AM
    Today we look at C.J. Beathard's performance from Week 4 against the Chargers. C.J. Beathard was reinserted as the 49ers starter after an injury to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in Week Three against the Chiefs. The 49ers went through their week four preparations by meeting with, and working out, potential quarterbacks like Tom Savage and Matt Simms but elected to elevate Nick Mullens from the practice squad to the active roster to keep continuity of the offense and player development as the deciding factors, for now, for not signing a quarterback. There was no...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Sep 28, 2018 at 5:12 AM
    The following is a series of plays I found interesting from the Week Three game against Kansas City. As we approach Week Four against the Chargers, what follows is what I hope will provide you, the reader, some cathartic relief from the drama of the past week surrounding Jimmy Garoppolo's injury. The following five plays are plays that I am purely looking at from a schematic standpoint and why I generally find so much of this scheme stuff so fun to write about and break down. Breaking down plays is a fun and exciting time for me during the season because I am always learning something from week to week as I watch more film and study more resources from old playbooks and reading the work of others who have devoted years and years to the science behind...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Sep 27, 2018 at 6:16 AM
    Film room this week looks at one of the rare bright spots on the 49ers defense this season, rookie middle linebacker Fred Warner. The 49ers have added a defensive lineman in the first round in three of the last four drafts and a defender with six of the last eight first round picks since the 2013 draft. Overall as a group, the defensive line rotation has performed admirably despite lacking a pass rush specialist off the edge. Instead, it has relied on middle and back end talent to supplant the need for a pass rush. Some of those players are already filling immediate needs yet the 49ers have found their next rising star, and it wasn't in the first round. The 49ers selected outside linebacker/nickel defender Fred Warner in the third round of the 2018 draft...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Sep 22, 2018 at 6:15 AM
    This is the latest installment of the 49ers opponent quarterbacks series. Today we take a look at Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in advance of Sunday's game in Kansas City. Patrick Mahomes was selected 10th overall in the 2017 NFL draft out of Texas Tech where he played in the Air Raid offense under head coach Kliff Kinsgbury. The six-foot three-inch, 230 lb quarterback sat for a season under the tutelage of head coach Andy Reid and under the mentorship of former 49ers quarterback Alex Smith. Mahomes would presumably become the starter this year if the Chiefs were to part with Smith and shortly after the season ended. That's exactly what...
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