Nov 15, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) throws a pass against the Los Angeles Rams in the first quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Jags want boost in air attack to battle 49ers

The showdown between two of the top three picks in the May draft probably won’t be what many had hoped for when the San Francisco 49ers visit the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday afternoon.

The Jaguars (2-7) have lived up to their end of the bargain, thrusting No. 1 overall selection Trevor Lawrence immediately into the starting lineup.

But the 49ers (4-5), even after No. 3 pick Trey Lance threw a touchdown pass on his first pass attempt on Opening Day, have handcuffed their prospect to a clipboard most of the season, relegating Sunday’s matchup to a duel between Lawrence and Jimmy Garoppolo.

Lance has the same number of TD passes (0) as Lawrence the last two weeks despite never leaving the bench. Jaguars coach Urban Meyer blames his receivers, not his quarterback.

“We need more production out of our receiver crew,” Meyer insisted this week. “DJ Chark was a guy that’s tall and can run fast and was a great guy that worked his tail off in the offseason. All of a sudden, boom, you look out there and he’s down (with an ankle injury suffered in Week 4).

“I’ve had times where (I’ve thought), ‘OK, No. 2’s as good as No. 1. Get in there. We’re fine.’ We struggle a little bit there with the size and speed.”

Lawrence threw for just 162 yards in last week’s 23-17 loss at Indianapolis, and just 118 the week before in a 9-6 home win over the Buffalo Bills. His most productive receiver in those games was tight end Dan Arnold, with four catches for 60 yards against the Bills and five for 67 against the Colts.

Among the wideouts, Laviska Shenault Jr. led the way in catches against Buffalo with four for 24 yards and again against Indianapolis with three for 15.

The 49ers have given up some big numbers in the passing game, including 11 catches for 122 yards to Cooper Kupp in Monday’s 31-10 home win over the Los Angeles Rams.

But they’ve unleashed a wideout weapon of their own in Deebo Samuel, whose talents were on full display against the Rams. He hooked up with Garoppolo for five catches, including a TD, and 97 yards in the win, while also carrying the ball another five times for 36 yards and one more score.

“Everything is personnel-driven,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “When you have receivers who can go back to running back and also receivers who don’t mind doing some stuff that a fullback would do, there’s all those different matchups you can do. And when you have willing guys who have the ability to do it, but they’re also physical enough to do it, it just helps you come up with a lot of things.”

Shanahan had hoped to use Lance as that type of versatile weapon. But the rookie was thrust into a fulltime quarterback role when Garoppolo injured his calf in Week 4, and by the time he’d completed his first full game a week later against the Arizona Cardinals, Lance had suffered a sprained knee and Garoppolo was back at the helm.

Garoppolo has thrown for 1,936 yards in eight games, 47 fewer than Lawrence has accumulated in nine. Lance has totaled 354 yards in four games, including the one start.

–Field Level Media

Nov 15, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) runs for a touchdown past Los Angeles Rams cornerback Robert Rochell (31) in the second quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers dominate time of possession, rout Rams

Jimmy Garoppolo threw two touchdown passes and the San Francisco 49ers played keep-away en route to a resounding 31-10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night at Santa Clara, Calif.

Deebo Samuel caught a touchdown pass and rushed for another score and George Kittle added a touchdown reception as San Francisco (4-5) held the ball for 39 minutes, three seconds. Jimmie Ward recorded two interceptions and returned one for a touchdown as the 49ers beat the NFC West-rival Rams for the fifth straight time.

Matthew Stafford completed 26 of 41 passes for 243 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for Los Angeles (7-3), which dropped its second straight game. Tyler Higbee caught a touchdown pass for the Rams.

Odell Beckham Jr. caught two passes for 18 yards while playing sparingly in his first game since joining the Rams. Cooper Kupp matched his season high of 11 catches, good for 122 yards.

Garoppolo completed 15 of 19 passes for 182 yards as San Francisco won at home for the first time in five attempts this season. Los Angeles dropped to 4-1 on the road.

The 49ers outgained the Rams 335 yards to 278 while winning for just the second time in their past seven games. Samuel had five receptions for 97 yards and rushed five times for 36 yards, and Elijah Mitchell gained 91 yards on 27 carries.

San Francisco set the tone quickly after Ward grabbed his first pick of Stafford just 2:03 into the game.

The 49ers possessed the ball for 11:03 while navigating 93 yards on 18 plays. San Francisco ran the ball 13 times and Garoppolo went 5-for-5 passing, including an 8-yard touchdown pass to Kittle with 1:54 left in the quarter.

Just 65 seconds later, the 49ers held a 14-0 lead. Higbee failed to catch Stafford’s short pass and the ball caromed to Ward, who returned the pick 27 yards for a touchdown.

Los Angeles got on the board with 13:16 left in the half when Stafford tossed a 10-yard scoring pass to Higbee. The 49ers answered with another marathon excursion, and Samuel scored on an 8-yard run to cap an 11-play, 91-yard drive that took 7:52.

San Francisco increased its lead to 24-7 on Robbie Gould’s 50-yard field goal with 4:38 remaining in the third quarter. The 49ers put the game away in the fourth quarter when Garoppolo teamed with Samuel on a 40-yard touchdown on fourth-and-6 to make it 31-7 with 11:07 left in the contest.

The Rams’ Matt Gay kicked a 37-yard field goal with 3:48 left.

–Field Level Media

Oct 24, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA;  San Francisco 49ers punter Mitch Wishnowsky (18) holds the ball for San Francisco 49ers kicker Joey Slye (14) during warmups before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

49ers waive kicker Joey Slye

The San Francisco 49ers waived kicker Joey Slye on Tuesday.

The 49ers are expected to open the practice window for Robbie Gould this week. Gould was put on short-term injured reserve with a groin injury last month.

Slye signed with San Francisco on Oct. 6 and kicked in three games. He made 7 of 8 field goal tries and converted 2 of 4 extra points.

Gould, 38, suffered a groin injury in pregame warmups ahead of the 49ers’ Week 4 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. In his absence, punter Mitch Wishnowsky stepped in and missed a 41-yard field goal and an extra point.

Gould has missed three games. He had a fourth week to recover with the Week 6 bye. He’s in his fifth season with the Niners.

The Houston Texans cut Slye, 25, on Sept. 30. Slye made four of five field goals and converted seven of eight extra points in three games. He was released by the Carolina Panthers earlier this year after two seasons.

In other moves, the Nines released linebacker Tyrell Adams from the 53-man roster. They also released linebacker Nathan Gerry, running back Jacques Patrick and defensive lineman Eddie Yarbrough from their practice squad.

The 49ers (3-4) host the Arizona Cardinals (7-1) this week.

–Field Level Media

Aug 21, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Tyron Smith (77) blocks against Houston Texans defensive end Charles Omenihu (94) in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Texans trade DE Charles Omenihu to 49ers

The Houston Texans traded defensive end Charlies Omenihu to the San Francisco 49ers for a future late-round pick, NFL Network reported Tuesday.

Omenihu had drawn interest from several teams, including the Kansas City Chiefs, who traded for Melvin Ingram III earlier Tuesday.

Omenihu, 24, recorded 11 tackles and three quarterback hits in six games (two starts) this season. He has seven sacks in 35 games (seven starts) for the Texans in two-plus seasons. The Texans selected him in the fifth round of the 2019 draft.

–Field Level Media

October 4, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw (99) during the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers DL Javon Kinlaw to miss rest of season after knee surgery

San Francisco 49ers second-year defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw underwent knee surgery this week and will be placed on injured reserve, ending his 2021 season.

Kinlaw, 24, missed the 49ers’ season-opening 41-33 victory over the Detroit Lions and was out again in a 30-18 defeat to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 7 because of knee issues.

Knee problems were reportedly a concern after Kinlaw left South Carolina, but the 49ers still made the 6-foot-5, 319-pounder the No. 14 overall selection in the 2020 draft.

“I think the good news is they feel they solved the problem,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said Friday. “And obviously, it hurts, him not going to be with us this year. … (The doctor) feels that he found the issue and he thinks that’ll be good news for us next year.”

Kinlaw started 12 of 14 games last season, making 33 tackles with 1 1/2 sacks. He had eight tackles in four games this season.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack (52) practices before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Banged-up Bears, 49ers try to see out stretch of adversity

Struggling to score and mount an attack that capably can sustain drives, the Chicago Bears have relied on their defense to keep them in most games this season.

An already banged-up unit may be facing another challenge when Chicago hosts the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

Linebacker Khalil Mack, bothered by a foot injury since Week 3, did not practice Wednesday, and coach Matt Nagy hinted that the playmaker who ranks tied for seventh in the NFL with six sacks may be a candidate for the injured reserve list.

“We’re working through everything right now with Khalil,” Nagy said. “There’s been absolutely no decisions made. We’ll just kinda see where that all ends up.”

Chicago (3-4) needs all the pass-rush power it can get after absorbing a 38-3 throttling at Tampa Bay in Week 7.

Being without Mack would weaken a “D” that was missing defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (groin) and outside linebacker Robert Quinn (reserve/COVID-19 list) against the Buccaneers. Hicks was limited in practice to open the week.

Offensively, the Bears couldn’t muster much at Tampa beyond a second-quarter field goal from Cairo Santos. Rookie quarterback Justin Fields threw three interceptions, lost a pair of fumbles and was sacked four times.

Nagy, who is communicating with the team remotely after testing positive for COVID-19 this week, has hailed Fields’ determination to move past early struggles that largely eluded him during a standout collegiate career at Ohio State.

“That’s part of his developmental process. That would probably be more of the mental side,” Nagy said. “So, he’s done great with that. He understands it. And the fact that he’s competitive and that he’s won a lot of games, there’s a reason for that, because he’s able to persevere through adversity.

“When you go through adversity, you want a guy like Justin in your corner because you know he’s going to help you pull out of it.”

San Francisco (2-4) can attest to hard times, too. The 49ers enter Sunday on a four-game losing streak, the latest defeat coming 30-18 at the hands of the visiting Indianapolis Colts in Week 7.

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, a product of north suburban Chicago, passed for 181 yards and a touchdown in his return from a one-game absence with a calf injury. Garoppolo threw two interceptions and lost a fumble.

While Garoppolo is set to start against the Bears, rookie Trey Lance returned to practice this week — first as a limited participant — as he works back from a left knee sprain. Lance could be in uniform as the team’s backup should things progress, coach Kyle Shanahan said.

“We didn’t draft Trey to just fix this year, you know,” Shanahan said. “We drafted him so he could be the quarterback here of the future. And I get that’s a matter of time. But we’re not playing him just because of what our record is or just because of that, so that’s why our first thing in our discussions is, ‘How healthy is he?’ and ‘How is he going to look today?’”

San Francisco is contending with numerous injuries elsewhere, including left tackle Trent Williams (elbow), defensive end Dee Ford (concussion), linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair (concussion), defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (calf) and safety Jaquiski Tartt (knee).

–Field Level Media

October 24, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) passes the football against the Indianapolis Colts during the third quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers stick with Jimmy Garoppolo at QB

San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan erased any doubts about the identity of his starting quarterback moving forward, stating Monday that Jimmy Garoppolo would retain the role.

Backup quarterback Trey Lance is expected to return to practice this week after being sidelined due to a left knee sprain, and Garoppolo is coming off what Shanahan called “his worst game” of the year on Sunday in a 30-18 loss to the visiting Indianapolis Colts.

Even so, Shanahan will go with the veteran Garoppolo and not the rookie Lance when the 49ers (2-4) visit the Chicago Bears (3-4) on Sunday.

“We didn’t go into that (Indianapolis) game thinking that Jimmy was one bad game away from losing his job or anything like that,” Shanahan said Monday. “Jimmy didn’t play as good as he could, which he knows that and I know that. I think there were some pretty hard circumstances for him — for both quarterbacks, considering some of the weather. But I definitely thought he could play better.”

While Shanahan appeared to leave the door open for a change in starters postgame Sunday night, he clarified his position the next day.

“In terms of deciding who’s going at quarterback, that has to do with Jimmy’s health,” Shanahan said Monday. “I wanted to see how his calf was, and it’s good today. So he’ll be starting, and hopefully Trey will get back into practice and have a good enough week to where he can dress, and if he ends up dressing, there’s always a good chance he’ll get some plays in there.

“Trey hasn’t practiced in two weeks, so when he does come back, he’ll probably be limited as it is. Odds are when it comes to the game plan, you’re not going to start rotating quarterbacks, because it’s not an open competition right now.”

Garoppolo, 29, has a 2-3 mark as a starter this season, lowering his career record to 26-11. He has completed 64.8 percent of his passes in 2021 for 1,106 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions. In an eight-year career with the New England Patriots (2014-16) and San Francisco, Garoppolo has a 67.1 percent completion rate, 9,148 yards, 57 TD passes and 30 interceptions.

Lance, 21, lost the lone start of his rookie campaign, on Oct. 10 at Arizona when Garoppolo had a calf ailment. Lance has connected on 52.1 percent of his passes for 354 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.

–Field Level Media

October 24, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) passes the football against the Indianapolis Colts during the third quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan on sticking with Jimmy Garoppolo: ‘I would guess so’

San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan threw tepid support behind embattled starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo after the 49ers’ fourth straight loss Sunday night.

In the aftermath of a 30-18 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in a downpour in Santa Clara, Calif., Shanahan was asked if Garoppolo would be the team’s starter in Week 8.

“I would guess so,” Shanahan said. “I’ll watch this tape and see if guys are healthy, first of all.”

The Niners dropped to 2-4 and play at Chicago this Sunday.

“I’m not just thinking about the quarterback situation right now,” Shanahan said. “I’ll evaluate everything, see where our team’s at, see who gives us the best chance to beat Chicago and see what our options are. … But we’ve got a lot of things to figure out.”

Rookie backup quarterback Trey Lance was inactive for the contest against the Colts after spraining his left knee in the Niners’ loss at Arizona on Oct. 10.

Garoppolo, 29, played despite still battling through a strained right calf he sustained on Oct. 3.

“It held up,” Garoppolo said. “Definitely felt it at times. But it sort of is what it is.”

Garoppolo finished 16-for-27 passing with a touchdown, two interceptions and a fumble.

–Field Level Media

Oct 17, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) throws a pass during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Thriving Carson Wentz leads Colts into San Francisco

Carson Wentz is proving to be a difference-maker for the Indianapolis Colts just as coach Frank Reich forecasted.

The former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback will look to throw multiple touchdown passes for the fourth straight game when the Colts face the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night at Santa Clara, Calif.

Indianapolis acquired Wentz in the offseason and reunited him with Reich, who was Philadelphia’s offensive coordinator for Wentz’s first two NFL seasons (2016-17).

Wentz looked like he was headed to stardom when he threw a career-high 33 touchdowns against seven interceptions in 2017 but his production went down after Reich departed to become the Colts’ coach.

Last season, Wentz tossed 16 touchdown passes and a career-worst 15 interceptions, and lost his starting gig to Jalen Hurts.

Now Indianapolis (2-4) is seeing what it envisioned when it made the trade. Wentz completed 25 of 35 passes for a career-best 402 yards in a 31-25 overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Oct. 11 and averaged 20.3 yards per completion in last Sunday’s 31-3 whipping of the Houston Texans.

Overall, Wentz has 1,545 yards and nine touchdowns against one interception.

“This is the guy I knew in Philadelphia,” Reich said of Wentz. “He can be a big-play machine. What I’ve been more impressed with: I know he can make those plays, but I like the way he’s taking care of the football.”

The passing game will be without Parris Campbell (foot), while the status of fellow wideout T.Y. Hilton (quadriceps) is uncertain. Hilton didn’t practice Wednesday.

Three-time Pro Bowl guard Quenton Nelson (ankle, knee) returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday and could be activated from injured reserve after missing three straight games.

“I think Quenton can be a quick return because of who he is and where he’s been,” Reich said Wednesday. “We think he’s been making good progress.”

The 49ers (2-3) are in the midst of a three-game losing streak as they come off a bye week.

Jimmy Garoppolo is in line to be the starting quarterback as he returns from a calf injury that caused him to miss the Week 5 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Garoppolo was limited in Wednesday’s practice but said the injury is improving.

“During the bye week, we made great strides,” Garoppolo said Wednesday. “It will get better every day. Right now, it feels great.”

Rookie Trey Lance started against Arizona but sprained his left knee. He missed practice on Wednesday and appears unlikely to play.

“It’s the same diagnosis and we were hoping (Lance) could go this week. Doesn’t look like it,” San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters. “He might have a chance at the end of the week but I’d be surprised if he’s not ready to go next week.”

Lance and Wentz are both products of FCS power North Dakota State.

Nate Sudfeld is in line to back up Garoppolo this week.

The 49ers have gone more than a month without a victory. That isn’t good in the NFC West, where they’re chasing the Cardinals (6-0) and Los Angeles Rams (5-1).

“We could easily be sitting at 5-0 right now,” 49ers left tackle Trent Williams said. “Obviously, we’re not. We’re 2-3 but we go back and revisit every loss, you can find some good in that. There were some things where we could have won some games but we didn’t take advantage of the situations.”

Williams sat out Wednesday’s practice due to elbow and ankle injuries.

The San Francisco defense, led by end Nick Bosa (five sacks), will be challenged by Indianapolis running back Jonathan Taylor, who had a season-high 145 rushing yards and two touchdowns last week. Taylor ranks fifth in the NFL with 472 rushing yards.

The Colts have won the past four meetings.

–Field Level Media

San Francisco 49ers NFL linebacker Mychal Kendricks

Report: 49ers set to sign LB Mychal Kendricks

The San Francisco 49ers are set to bring back linebacker Mychal Kendricks, NFL Network reported.

Kendricks is in San Francisco to take his physical, per the report, and could sign Monday.

The 49ers and Kendricks reached an injury settlement after the nine-year veteran injured his toe during the preseason with the team. He visited the team two weeks ago.

Kendricks, 31, has yet to play in 2021. He played in just one game with Washington in 2020.

He has 548 career tackles and 19 sacks in 104 games (91 starts) with the Philadelphia Eagles (2012-17), Seattle Seahawks (2018-19) and Washington.

Kendricks was selected in the second round of the 2012 draft by the Eagles.

–Field Level Media