49ers clinch NFC West for the second straight year


Question on WR Deebo Samuel’s first touchdown on the opening drive. Was that a play that you waited until Friday to put in on the red zone package? When you’re formulating these game plans, how often do they change during the week? 

“We always install our red zone on Friday, so we always do that with that stuff. We do it as a coaching staff on Thursday night, and then we teach it to the players Friday morning. Then we go out and practice it for Friday’s practice. You try to put in a lot of stuff on Wednesdays, just the base game plan, and then you do the third downs and short yardages on Thursdays, and then you do red zone on Friday. So, you kind of have everything put in over three days. There are times where something will come up or we’ll see something different on a Saturday, which is very rare, but sometimes it does where we’ll have to tweak some things. But usually, the change comes in the games when we see some things we weren’t anticipating.” 

Now that you’ve had a chance to look at the film, what did you think about what issues there were with the run defense? How much did missing Armstead and Javon hurt?

“I definitely think it hurt. I think all the factors went into it. One, having those guys out. Two, the amount of plays they got, especially there in the first half. Losing Kalia during the game, which really got those guys tired out towards the end. Especially when they stayed on the field on a couple third downs, just especially those last couple drives. I thought the biggest thing was the missed tackles. They bounced off a couple. Then mainly just our tracking angles on several plays, just running to the ball. We over pursued a couple things and opened the cutback, which gave them some big ones. Usually when you give up those yards, you’re expecting a lot of schematic busts and stuff, especially with the running quarterback.

I know that you have a lot of injuries at defensive tackle, and I know that you guys looked at DT Ndamukong Suh last year. Any discussion about him this year? 

“Not yet. I’m not ruling out anything. We have guys on our practice squad as you guys see that we used last week. But that stuff we also aren’t exactly sure when Hargrave and Armstead are coming back. So, there’s a lot of variables that are playing together that we’ll be discussing here the rest of the day, tomorrow. Even if we don’t make a move in any area, that’ll probably be continuing throughout the year.” 

The play where Deebo faked to the side and ended up getting a touchdown, is that something new that you’ve put into the playbook or is it something that you’ve thought about for a while?  

“Yeah, it was just some things we saw on tape and just trying to make things tie together. We thought some things that showed on tape could maybe play out that way and we got the right look, and it played out well.” 

You mentioned that Brock Purdy has excellent field vision. Is that a God-given trait or something quarterbacks can develop? 

“I think it’s a God-given trait that develops. The more times you get put in those situations, the more reps you can get, your preparation to what to anticipate in those situations, everything can make that a talent that you were kind of born with that you can extremely excel in or that you don’t really develop. I don’t think if you don’t have it, it’s not something that you can just develop. You must have a certain amount of that, and some are higher than others and some I think can make it better the more football they play and the more situations they get in. But you definitely have to have a certain amount to be able to see the field like that.” 

When you were watching RB Christian McCaffrey backpedal for it seemed like 10 yards, what were your emotions watching that play? 

“I was so stressed because we knew we had the look and it was something we knew would take a long time to develop, but we felt if we could hold on it would be there. Then we knew Christian got to the spot, but we didn’t think we were going to be able to hold on. Then Brock did a hell of a job buying some time so he could get away from the internal pressure. Then right when he threw it, I was like, ‘all right, perfect, we pulled it off. But you could tell Christian didn’t pick up the ball right away. So, the whole time it was in the air, it just looked like he was going to stumble or it was going to go over him. But then when he caught it, we knew we were all right because we knew he was alone. It was a cool deal, and I was pumped they were able to pull it off.” 

You’ve only faced the Ravens once as being the Niners coach. Are you kind of expecting though the same style of a run-oriented offense, a talented quarterback and a fierce pass rush? 

“Yes, just the way they run their organization with [Baltimore Ravens Head Coach] John [Harbaugh] and the group of coaches they have there, the style that they play to. You always know what you’re going to get from their team. We haven’t played them in a little bit, but I know that hasn’t changed. You always see them on tape, you always see their numbers and they still have the same quarterback who will always be as big of an issue as there is. I know it’s several years later and there’s a bunch of different guys out there, but the style’s going to be, to me, extremely similar.” 


The 49ers have clinched the NFC West after their 45-29 win over the Arizona Cardinals. San Francisco continues to steam roll past these teams in their quest for a Super Bowl Championship.  The 49ers have recorded clinching their division in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the 2011 and 2012 seasons. San Francisco has won 12-consecutive regular season games against NFC West opponents, which is the most consecutive division wins by an NFC West team since 2002.  

The 49ers offensive burst has yet to end, they continue to score a touchdown on their opening possession for the 9th time this season and have scored an NFL-high 66 points on the opening possession of games this season.  

The team’s 66 points on opening possessions this season is the most points scored by an NFL team on opening possessions through their first 14 games since at least 2000. 

In his homecoming performance, QB Brock Purdy completed 16 of his 25 passing attempts for 242 yards and four touchdowns with a passer rating of 135.3. Purdy becomes the first 49ers QB to throw 4-or-more passing touchdowns in at least 3 games in a single season since QB Jimmy Garoppolo in 2019. Purdy’s passer rating of 130.0-or-higher in 6 games this season, ties New York Jets QB Aaron Rodgers (6 games in 2011 & 6 games in 2020), former QB Tony Romo (6 games in 2014), former QB Ryan Tannehill (6 games in 2019) and Denver Broncos QB Russell Wilson (6 games in 2019) for the most such games in NFL history.

RB Christian McCaffrey registered 18 carries for 115 yards and one touchdown on the ground to go along with 5 receptions. for 72 yards and two touchdowns through the air, marking the 2nd time in his career that he has registered 2-or-more receptions touchdowns in a single game [since Pit. (11/8/18)]. McCaffrey’s 20 total touchdowns this season are the 2nd-most total touchdowns scored by a player in franchise history. He now has 1,292 rushing yds. and 509 rec. yds. on the season, making him the 4th player in NFL history to record 1,000-or-more rushing yards and 500-or-more receptions yards in at least 4 seasons.  

WR Deebo Samuel got in on the actions and hauled in four receptions for 48 yards and two TDs. His reception touchdown marked his 6th of the season and the 18th of his career.  

With two reception touchdowns last week at Phi. (12/3/23), one reception touchdown vs. Sea. (12/10/23) and two reception touchdowns on the day, marked the first time in Samuel’s career that he has registered 1-or-more reception touchdowns in 3-consecutive games.  

Photo by 49ers/Twitter

Malaika Bobino

Malaika Bobino, an Oakland, California native, is a Bay Area sports journalism powerhouse and influencer. With nearly two decades of experience at both the Oakland Post and the Huffington Post, she is always on the front lines of the iconic Bay Area sports scene. Bobino covered the Oakland A’s postseason trips, all three of the San Francisco Giants World Series, was present for all three Golden State Warriors three NBA Championships and covered the 49ers last two Super Bowl appearances

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