Sep 20, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; A general view of State Farm Stadium prior to the game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Washington Football Team. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Report: 49ers could move home games to Arizona

The Santa Clara County COVID-19 restrictions that are forcing the San Francisco 49ers out of Levi’s Stadium for the short term, could be be sending the team out of state.

NFL Network reported Sunday that the Arizona Cardinals have offered the use of State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., and the venue appears the most likely destination for the 49ers, who have three home games remaining on their regular-season schedule.

Since the start of the season, Arizona has looked like a potential destination for the 49ers should they be forced out of town because San Francisco and the Cardinals weren’t scheduled to play at home on the same day.

New COVID-19 restrictions in Santa Clara County ban all contact sports at the professional, college and youth levels and also require a 14-day quarantine for another team traveling into the county from more than 150 miles away.

“We are aware of the Santa Clara County Public Health Department’s emergency directive,” the team said in a statement. “We are working with the NFL and our partners on operational plans and will share details as they are confirmed.”

The restrictions also require the 49ers to find another place to practice in between games.

The initial three-week Santa Clara County restrictions impact the 49ers’ home games on Dec. 7 against the Buffalo Bills and Dec. 13 against the Washington Football Team. The 49ers have a Dec. 27 road game at Arizona against the Cardinals.

Still yet to be determined is what happens to the 49ers’ Jan. 3 game home game against the Seattle Seawhaks.

–Field Level Media

Sep 6, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Atlanta Falcons defensive end Takkarist McKinley (98) celebrates a sack against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first half at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: 49ers acquire DE McKinley off waivers

The San Francisco 49ers acquired defensive end Takk McKinley off waivers Wednesday, multiple outlets reported.

The Cincinnati Bengals waived the former first-round draft pick Tuesday after he failed a physical.

The Bengals acquired McKinley on Nov. 11, two days after he was waived by the Atlanta Falcons.

The relationship between the Falcons and McKinley reached a breaking point when he criticized the Falcons for not trading him before the trade deadline. McKinley, 25, was upset in the offseason when Atlanta failed to pick up the fifth-year option (worth $10.05 million) of his rookie contract.

McKinley, selected 26th overall in 2017, had 79 tackles and 17.5 sacks in 49 games (25 starts) in four seasons with the Falcons. He recorded six sacks as a rookie and a career-best seven in 2018 before his production fell off.

McKinley has been bothered by a groin injury this season and took part in just 85 defensive snaps for the Falcons. He has eight tackles and one sack in four games.

–Field Level Media

Nov 5, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens (4) hands the ball off to running back Jerick McKinnon (28) against the Green Bay Packers during the second quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers head to New Orleans in search of turning point

Last season, the San Francisco 49ers took control of the race for the top seed in the NFC playoffs when they beat the host New Orleans Saints 48-46 in early December.

Now San Francisco is last in the NFC West, but the Saints are back in the hunt for the top seed in the NFC as they prepare to oppose the visiting 49ers on Sunday.

The Saints (6-2) have won five consecutive games, and last week they took over first place in the NFC South when they completed a season sweep of Tampa Bay by whipping the host Buccaneers 38-3.

San Francisco (4-5) is moving forward without quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo or tight end George Kittle, who were two of the key contributors in the critical victory over New Orleans last year.

Garoppolo won’t return from his ankle injury until very late in the season, if at all. Kittle is in a similar situation with a foot injury.

The 49ers haven’t healed fully, but they have had extra preparation time after a 34-17 home loss to the Green Bay Packers on Nov. 5.

“We’re still in this,” San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan said. “We’re playing a real good team this week. It was nice to get a long weekend after a Thursday night game, and we’ve got to come down to New Orleans and give it everything we got to try to get a win.

“Then we’re going to get a (bye week) and we’re going to come back and get six more games in the season where we still will have a chance to get in that tournament. The guys are tired a little bit, but we’ve got to muster out one more game, and then we’re going to get a well-needed rest.”

Nick Mullens will make his fourth start this season in Garoppolo’s place. He has completed 68.4 percent of his passes for 1,143 yards with five touchdowns and four interceptions.

“I thought Nick’s done a good job,” Shanahan said. “I thought he came into the Seattle game (a 37-27 loss on Nov. 1) and did an unbelievable job. We were struggling in every aspect and he came in and led us back to within (10) points. I thought he did a hell of a job there giving us a chance.

“And last week, I know we didn’t do well as a team, but we were a little outmatched there. But I thought Nick played well under the circumstances. And it was a tough game to throw him into, and I thought he held his own.”

The 49ers had hoped to see the return of Raheem Mostert, who has been on injured reserve because of a high ankle sprain sustained in Week 6, but Shanahan said the running back is not ready.

While San Francisco is still dealing with a series of injuries, the Saints are getting healthy. Last week, New Orleans got back All-Pro wide receiver Michael Thomas from ankle and hamstring injuries, and starting wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders returned from a two-game absence caused by a positive COVID-19 test.

“I feel like we’re hitting our stride a little bit, getting Michael Thomas back,” quarterback Drew Brees said. “I think he’s going to continue to kind of get back into form, with more reps and coming back off the injury. Emmanuel Sanders as well and obviously more time on task. That combined with the guys we already have, young guys that we have, I’m excited to see our evolution.”

Sanders, then with the 49ers, played an important role in San Francisco’s win over the Saints last season. He caught one of Garoppolo’s four touchdown passes, gained 157 receiving yards and threw a 35-yard TD pass.

“He was a pain in the butt that game,” Saints coach Sean Payton said.

–Field Level Media

Nov 1, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) drops back to pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Wilson’s four TD passses lead Seahawks past 49ers

Russell Wilson threw four touchdown passes, and Seattle’s beleaguered defense was steady for three quarters as the Seahawks defeated the visiting San Francisco 49ers 37-27 on Sunday afternoon.

Wilson completed 27 of 37 passes for 261 yards as the Seahawks (6-1) bounced back from a 37-34 overtime loss last weekend at Arizona to maintain their spot atop the NFC West.

The 49ers (4-4), the defending NFC champions, suffered their first road loss of the season in four tries and remained in last place in the division.

The Seahawks, who had been allowing an average of 479.2 yards per game, held San Francisco to just 112 through the first three quarters as they took a 27-7 lead.

Wilson threw two touchdown passes to DK Metcalf in the first half, from 46 and 2 yards, to give the Seahawks a 13-7 advantage at intermission.

Wilson hit fourth-string running back DeeJay Dallas with a 2-yard TD pass and threw a 6-yard scoring strike to David Moore in the third quarter as Seattle extended its lead.

With their top three running backs out, the Seahawks were forced to turn to Dallas, a rookie from the University of Miami. Dallas carried 18 times for 41 yards and a 1-yard scoring run with 3:13 left. He caught five passes for 17 yards and a touchdown.

Metcalf had 12 receptions for 161 yards and the two scores.

49ers starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered an ankle injury late in the third quarter and didn’t return. Garoppolo was 11-of-16 passing for 84 yards, with an interception. Tight end George Kittle left the game early in the fourth quarter with a foot injury.

Nick Mullens replaced Garoppolo and led three fourth-quarter scoring drives. Mullens completed 18 of 25 passes for 238 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown to Ross Dwelley and a 3-yarder to Brandon Aiyuk.

San Francisco’s JaMycal Hasty scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 6:59 left in the second quarter to give the 49ers a 7-6 lead.

Teammate Jerick McKinnon rushed for a 1-yard score early in the fourth quarter.

–Field Level Media

Oct 25, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; San Francisco 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk (44) celebrates his touchdown against the New England Patriots in the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

49ers manhandle Patriots in Garoppolo’s return

Jeff Wilson Jr. rushed for three touchdowns before suffering an ankle injury and the San Francisco 49ers’ defense intercepted four passes, including Cam Newton three times, as the defending NFC champions steamrolled the host New England Patriots 33-6 on Sunday afternoon.

The 27-point margin of defeat was the largest for the Patriots (2-4) since a 41-14 loss at Kansas City in Week 4 of the 2014 season.

In his first homecoming since a 2017 trade to the 49ers, Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 277 yards and managed an offense that ran up 467 yards against the traditionally strong New England defense.

Kyle Juszczyk also scored on a 4-yard run and Robbie Gould added a pair of field goals, helping the 49ers (4-3) win at New England for the second straight time.

Starting in place of injured Raheem Mostert, Wilson scored on a 3-yard run in the first quarter, a 16-yarder with 59 seconds left in the first half and a 7-yarder in the third period, the latter giving San Francisco a 30-6 lead, but also ending his day due to the injury.

Wilson finished with a game-high 112 yards on 17 carries. The 49ers outrushed the Patriots 197-94.

Garoppolo went 20-for-25 with two interceptions and no touchdowns. His favorite target was rookie wideout Brandon Aiyuk, who hauled in six passes for a game-high 115 yards.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco defense got two interceptions from Jamar Taylor and one apiece from Emmanuel Moseley and Fred Warner while limiting Newton to 9-for-15 for 98 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions.

Jarrett Stidham replaced Newton to start the fourth quarter and went 6-for-10 for 64 yards with one interception.

Nick Folk did all the New England scoring on 40- and 41-yard field goals on a day when the Patriots were outgained 467-241.

The loss was the third straight for the Patriots, who haven’t scored more than 12 points in any of the three defeats.

–Field Level Media