Oct 9, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) signals at the line of scrimmage in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Garoppolo guides 49ers to road win over Panthers

Jimmy Garoppolo threw for two touchdowns and Emmanuel Moseley returned an interception for a touchdown as the San Francisco 49ers won 37-15 over the host Carolina Panthers on Sunday in Charlotte, N.C.

Jeff Wilson Jr. ran for 120 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries to help San Francisco (3-2) win for the second time in less than a week. Tevin Coleman also scored on a late-game 5-yard run.

Garoppolo completed 18 of 30 passes for 253 yards without an interception. The 49ers were 7-for-12 on third-down conversions.

Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield was 20 of 36 for 215 yards. Carolina (1-4), which has won just one of four home games this season, was 3-for-15 on third-down conversions.

Backup PJ Walker also took some snaps at quarterback for the Panthers, completing 5 of 6 passes for 60 yards.

The 49ers scored on the game’s opening possession, as Garoppolo capped off a seven-play 75-yard drive by connecting with Coleman on a 9-yard scoring strike.

San Francisco appeared set to expand its lead in the last two minutes of the first half, but Carolina’s Derrick Brown blocked Robbie Gould’s 43-yard field goal attempt.

The 49ers did better just four plays later, with Moseley’s interception and 41-yard return for a touchdown.

Carolina perked up and scored nine points in the third quarter. The 49ers responded by marching 75 yards and chewing up more than six minutes of clock to go up 30-12 on Wilson’s 1-yard run with 12:31 left.

The Panthers’ lone touchdown of the afternoon came on Christian McCaffrey’s 19-yard run on the first possession of the second half. He was short on a two-point conversion run. McCaffrey finished with a team-high 54 rushing yards to go with 50 receiving yards on 21 touches.

Eddy Pineiro gave Carolina its only first-half points with a 43-yard field goal. The Panthers had 133 yards of total offense in the first half.

Pineiro connected on field goals of 37 and 34 yards in the second half.

–Field Level Media

Jul 29, 2022; Santa Clara, CA, USA;  San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) makes a catch during training camp at the SAP Performance Facility near Levi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: 49ers TE George Kittle (groin) out again Sunday

San Francisco tight end George Kittle is expected to miss his second straight game Sunday against Seattle, per multiple reports.

The 49ers star sustained a groin injury during a Sept. 5 practice session and did not return to practice until Friday, in a limited capacity.

Kittle, 28, caught 71 passes for 910 yards and six touchdowns in 14 starts last season.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection has not played a full season since 2018 due to various injuries.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA;  San Francisco 49ers free safety Jimmie Ward (1) during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

49ers S Jimmie Ward sidelined by hamstring injury

San Francisco 49ers safety Jimmie Ward is dealing with a “pretty bad hamstring injury,” coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday.

Ward was injured in Sunday’s practice and his availability for the Sept. 11 season opener against the host Chicago Bears is suddenly in doubt.

“It’s a pretty bad hamstring injury … so we’ll see over the next couple of weeks how it plays out,” Shanahan said.

Ward, 31, registered 77 tackles and two interceptions in 16 starts in 2021. He has 401 tackles and four picks in 94 games (74 starts) since the 49ers drafted him in the first round (30th overall) in 2014.

Shanahan said bringing in a new player is a possibility, although NFL rosters must be reduced from 90 to 85 players by Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.

“Well see how it goes with the roster. We might move our nickels around a little bit just for some guys, Shanahan said. “But hopefully we’ll get some more guys in here soon.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 12, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Willie Snead (17) returns a kickoff against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

WR Willie Snead works out with 49ers

Free agent wide receiver Willie Snead worked out with the San Francisco 49ers on Friday, per multiple reports.

Snead, 29, reportedly auditioned for the Arizona Cardinals earlier this week.

He split the 2021 season with Carolina and Las Vegas, catching four passes for 38 yards in nine games.

Snead has 279 receptions for 3,431 yards and 16 touchdowns in 95 games (48 starts) with the New Orleans Saints (2015-17), Baltimore Ravens (2018-20), Panthers and Raiders.

–Field Level Media

Nov 14, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA;  Tennessee Titans wide receiver Marcus Johnson (88) runs the ball against the New Orleans Saints during the first half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

49ers sign free agent WR Marcus Johnson

The San Francisco 49ers are signing free agent wide receiver Marcus Johnson, the player’s agent confirmed Thursday.

Johnson, 27, caught nine passes for 160 yards in seven games (three starts) with the Tennessee Titans in 2021.

He had five catches for 100 yards in the Titans’ 23-21 victory against the New Orleans Saints in Week 10.

Johnson has 51 receptions for 839 yards and three touchdowns in 41 games (12 starts) with the Philadelphia Eagles (2017), Indianapolis Colts (2018-20) and Titans.

–Field Level Media

Jan 30, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo leaves the field after losing to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Report: 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo needs shoulder surgery

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is headed for shoulder surgery soon, ESPN reported Tuesday.

He will be sidelined until early July, but indications are he will still be traded this month as there is “significant interest” from multiple teams, per the report.

Garoppolo, 30, hurt his shoulder during the 49ers’ 23-17 wild-card win against the Dallas Cowboys on Jan. 16.

He played through that injury, as well as a thumb injury, as San Francisco advanced to the NFC title game before losing 20-17 to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams. His thumb does not need surgery, ESPN said.

Garoppolo completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 3,810 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 15 games during the regular season, posting a 9-6 record.

Trey Lance, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, is the heir apparent at quarterback for the 49ers heading into the 2022 season.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA;  San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) sets to pass the ball in the first half of the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

49ers streak into NFC Championship Game vs. Rams

The San Francisco 49ers have won six straight games against the Los Angeles Rams and seek to maintain that mastery in the postseason when they travel to Inglewood, Calif., to face the fourth-seeded Rams in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.

Sixth-seeded San Francisco recorded wins of 31-10 at home and 27-24 in overtime on the road in this season’s two regular-season meetings with the Rams. The latter meeting, in Week 18, saw the 49ers overcome a 17-0 deficit to clinch a playoff spot at SoFi Stadium.

The stakes are higher now with San Francisco in its fifth NFC title game in the past 11 seasons and Los Angeles in its second in the past four.

The Rams reached the title game despite blowing a 24-point lead against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the divisional round. Matthew Stafford’s crucial 44-yard pass to Cooper Kupp led to Matt Gay’s decisive 30-yard game-ending field goal in a 30-27 victory.

The 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers 13-10 in the divisional round Saturday without scoring an offensive touchdown, and Robbie Gould’s game-ending 45-yard field goal elevated San Francisco.

As for the Rams’ issues with the 49ers, Kupp said it will be a non-factor on Sunday.

“The Niners have done a great job against us the past few years,” Kupp said after Wednesday’s practice. “You learn from the past and you have to be ready to move forward. We don’t live in a world where we need past motivations.”

San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t see the streak giving his team an advantage.

“Every game’s different,” Garoppolo said. “So the feel of it, the flow of it, last time we played the Rams when we were down (and) it didn’t feel like we were in control of that one. So I think each one has its own flavor to it.”

Stafford is aiming to give the Rams a better showing after throwing two interceptions in each of the losses to the 49ers.

Stafford was picked off eight times over the Rams’ final four regular-season contests. He has turned that around in the postseason by not tossing any during wins over the Arizona Cardinals and Bucs.

Stafford engineered his 43rd career winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime of his 13-year career against Tampa Bay, but it was his first in the postseason. He went 0-3 in the playoffs with the Detroit Lions before being dealt to the Rams last offseason.

“It means a lot,” Stafford said of the game-winning drive that began with 42 seconds remaining. “That’s a lot of hard work for a lot of years going into a short amount of time. A lot of hard work this year, too, with some great teammates.

“That’s the thing I’ve loved, and I’ve really appreciated in being a part of this team is how many guys we have pulling the rope in the right direction, doing everything they can to be prepared for those moments.”

Kupp has put together a wide receiver season for the ages. He led the NFL in receptions (145), receiving yardage (1,947) and touchdown receptions (16) and has tacked on 14 catches for 244 yards and two scores in the playoffs.

But San Francisco star defensive end Nick Bosa and his mates shut down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers last weekend after beating the Dallas Cowboys in the opening round of the playoffs.

The 49ers also have top-level confidence after recovering from a shaky 3-5 start, while observing the manner Garoppolo handled things when there were calls for him to be replaced by rookie Trey Lance.

“Jimmy G, you can’t say enough about that guy,” San Francisco tight end George Kittle said. “The (bleep) that he takes, excuse my language, consistently, people just try to pull him down, and all he does is try to deliver. He leads this team, he has a sense of calm in the huddle, he has a sense of calm in the storm, and he allows us to play football at a high level.”

Garoppolo is still dealing with a thumb injury on his throwing (right) hand, but 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said his QB’s previous shoulder injury is no longer an issue. Left tackle Trent Williams (ankle) and running back Elijah Mitchell (knee) were among the players who missed practice on Wednesday.

For Los Angeles, safety Taylor Rapp (concussion) and left tackle Andrew Whitworth (knee) were limited practice participants. Rapp has missed both postseason games and Whitworth sat out versus the Buccaneers, but both appear in line to play Sunday.

The teams have met in the NFC title game once before when the Joe Montana-led 49ers routed the Rams 30-3 in the 1989 conference championship game at San Francisco.

–Field Level Media

Jan 16, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) on the field before the game against the Dallas Cowboys in a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

49ers DE Nick Bosa clears concussion protocol, will play Saturday

San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa cleared concussion protocol Friday and will play in Saturday’s NFC divisional-round road playoff game against the Green Bay Packers.

Bosa was listed as questionable to play as recently as Thursday after he was injured in Sunday’s wild card-round victory over the Dallas Cowboys when his head collided with the leg of an oncoming teammate. Bosa played in just 23 of 72 snaps against the Cowboys.

Bosa’s 15.5 sacks were fourth in the NFL during the regular season, and he had 21 tackles for loss, which tied the league lead.

Bosa returned to being a full participant in practice on Thursday, along with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who added a right shoulder injury Sunday to a previous thumb injury on his right (throwing) hand. Garoppolo is expected to play against the Packers.

San Francisco also placed cornerback Darqueze Dennard on the active roster along with linebacker Mark Nzeocha. Cornerback Ambry Thomas (knee) and defensive lineman Jordan Willis (ankle) remain questionable.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA;  Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills (10) drops back to pass against the Los Angeles Chargers in the second quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

49ers go into matchup vs. Texans with uncertainty at QB

The San Francisco 49ers will go into a critical matchup against the Houston Texans with uncertainty at the quarterback position when the clubs meet Sunday afternoon in Santa Clara, Calif.

The 49ers (8-7) enter Week 17 tied with the Philadelphia Eagles for the sixth-best record in the NFC, with three other teams — the Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints — just a game behind. San Francisco finishes the regular season on the road against the Los Angeles Rams.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Texans (4-11) will take the field tied with the New York Jets and New York Giants for the third-worst record in the league. They will be looking to extend their season-best winning streak to three.

The 49ers used part of their preparation time this week determining whether starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo would be healthy enough to face the Texans.

Garoppolo sustained a Grade 3 sprain in his right thumb during on Dec. 23 during San Francisco’s 20-17 road loss to the Tennessee Titans. He threw one touchdown pass and two interceptions in the game, playing more than half the contest after getting hurt late in the second quarter.

No surgery was deemed necessary, and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was prepared to examine Garoppolo’s passing accuracy on a day-to-day basis leading into possibly a game-time decision Sunday.

Garoppolo missed one other game this season with a strained calf. Rookie Trey Lance got the start in a 17-10 home loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 5, throwing for 192 yards with one interception while rushing for a team-high 89 yards.

Shanahan insisted during the week that he is confident in Lance and in his team in general if the club must turn to the rookie again.

“I think we can handle anybody being hurt, but you still have to go out and play good football to get a win,” he said. “And it’s not just the quarterback, it’s everybody.”

The 49ers are hopeful of getting leading rusher Elijah Mitchell back from a knee injury in time to face the Texans. In the rookie’s third straight absence, San Francisco was held to 83 rushing yards in the Tennessee loss.

Houston’s back-to-back wins have come after a 2-11 start that included losses to each of the NFC West’s other three teams — 31-5 to the Cardinals, 38-22 to the Rams and 33-13 to the Seahawks.

The Texans put up a season-best point total in a stunning 41-29 home win over the playoff-hopeful Los Angeles Chargers last week. Davis Mills threw for 254 yards and two TDs while Rex Burkhead rushed for 149 yards and two scores in the win.

The trip to the San Francisco Bay Area represents a homecoming for Mills, who played his college ball at Stanford.

If the game turns into a duel between rookie quarterbacks, Texans coach David Culley likes the chances of his experienced guy (nine starts after having been the No. 67 overall selection of the draft) over a one-start rival who was selected 64 picks earlier.

“He never gets rattled,” Culley said of Mills. “He has that calm demeanor about him. He’s always thinking about things and he’s always learning.”

The interconference rivals will be meeting for just the fifth time, with the 49ers having prevailed in three of the first four, including 26-16 in the most recent meeting, at Houston in December 2017.

–Field Level Media