Sun Sep 22 7:41pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dante Pettis (18) celebrates after scoring against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson catches a touchdown pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson scores against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
San Francisco 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. reacts after scoring against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) cannot catch a pass in front of Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) passes as he is pressured by San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens is honored during a ceremony as he is inducted into the team's Hall of Fame during halftime of an NFL football game between the 49ers and the Pittsburgh Steelers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) passes against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Jimmy Garoppolo threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Dante Pettis with 1:15 remaining and the San Francisco 49ers overcame five turnovers to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-20 on Sunday for their first 3-0 start in 21 years.
The Niners gave the ball away four times in the first half and then lost a fumble again in the fourth quarter, but still managed to pull out the victory and spoil Mason Rudolph's first career start in place of the injured Ben Roethlisberger for the Steelers (0-3).
Rudolph threw two long touchdown passes in the second half, connecting on a 76-yarder to JuJu Smith-Schuster and a 39-yarder to Diontae Johnson that gave the Steelers a 20-17 lead in the fourth quarter.
The Niners answered the first strike with a 75-yard touchdown drive capped by a 4-yard run by Jeff Wilson Jr. and appeared poised to do the same when they drove inside the 10 following the second score.
But on third down from the 7, a shotgun snap hit receiver Richie James Jr. as he went in motion and T.J. Watt recovered the fumble for Pittsburgh on San Francisco's third red-zone turnover of the game.
The Steelers then gave it right back when James Conner was stripped by Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner recovered at the 24. After a third-down holding penalty on Mark Barron extended the drive, Garoppolo found Pettis for the go-ahead score.
Pittsburgh was unable to generate a first down on the ensuing drive with Rudolph taking a sack on third down and throwing an incompletion on fourth to send the Steelers to their second 0-3 start since 2000.
Garoppolo finished 22 for 32 for 277 yards. He threw two interceptions on the first three drives on passes that hit his receivers' hands and also lost a fumble on a bad snap from center by Weston Richburg with the Niners inside the Pittsburgh 10.
Rudolph finished 14 for 27 for 174 yards, throwing an interception to K'Waun Williams on the opening drive of the second half to set up Wilson's first touchdown.
Steelers: TE Vance McDonald left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury.
49ers: CB Ahkello Witherspoon left in the second half with a foot injury.
Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick made a big impact in his first game since being acquired from Miami this past week in a deal that sent a first-round pick to the Dolphins. He intercepted a pass in the first quarter and then forced a fumble by Raheem Mostert in the red zone in the second quarter that Devin Bush recovered. He became the first Steelers player with an interception and forced fumble in the opening half since James Harrison did it against the Chargers on Nov. 16, 2008.
Cornerback Jason Verrett made his debut for the 49ers and was picked on after Witherspoon left with the injury. He committed a 32-yard pass interference penalty and then was beaten deep by Johnson on a 39-yard score the following play to give the Steelers a 20-17 lead in the fourth quarter.
The first two turnovers by San Francisco gave the Steelers the ball in scoring position but they were unable to generate a first down on either drive and settled for field goals. Rudolph completed three passes for only 5 yards the first possession, leading to a 46-yard field goal by Chris Boswell. Rudolph then threw an incomplete pass on third-and-5 following two runs by James Conner, leading to a 26-yard field goal.
Steelers: Host Cincinnati on Monday night.
49ers: After a week off, the Niners host Cleveland on Oct. 7.
New England Patriots S Jordan Richards was released Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Washington Redskins S Deshazor Everett (ankle), LB Josh Harvey-Clemons (hamstring), OG Wes Martin (chest), S Montae Nicholson (ankle), CB Josh Norman (thigh, hand), Adrian Peterson (ankle) and RB Chris Thompson (toe) did not practice Tuesday, Oct. 22. WR Steven Sims Jr. (toe) and TE Vernon Davis (concussion) were limited. LB Ryan Kerrigan (elbow) and QB Case Keenum (shoulder, foot) participated fully in practice. OT Donald Penn (non-injury) was not given a practice designation after being limited one day earlier.
Free-agent DL Sylvester Williams (Saints) was signed to an undisclosed contract by the Los Angeles Chargers on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) did not participate in practice Tuesday, Oct. 22. DE Everson Griffen (quad), DT Linval Joseph (knee), DE Hercules Mata'afa (neck), CB Xavier Rhodes (hip), TE Kyle Rudolph (thumb), OT Riley Reiff (ankle), LB Eric Kendricks (hip), LB Ben Gedeon (concussion), OG Josh Kline (foot) and DT Shamar Stephen (knee) each participated in full.
Updating a previous report, free-agent DB Justin Bethel (Ravens) signed an undisclosed contract with the New England Patriots shortly after meeting with the team on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Free-agent TE Jerell Adams (Texans) was signed to the practice squad of the Houston Texans on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
New Orleans Saints RB Zach Zenner was released Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Free-agent DB Justin Bethel (Ravens) visited with the New England Patriots on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Detroit Lions S Quandre Diggs was traded along with a 2021 seventh-round draft pick to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for a 2020 fifth-round draft pick on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Free-agent RB Alfred Morris (Cowboys) signed an undisclosed contract with the Arizona Cardinals on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Detroit Lions RB Kerryon Johnson (knee) underwent a procedure on his injured knee Tuesday, Oct. 22, and will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list, according to head coach Matt Patricia.
Fantasy Spin: Initial reports had Johnson missing "some time," but an IR designation would pretty much knock him out for the rest of the season. Sixth-round rookie Ty Johnson should handle the majority of snaps in his absence and should be added in all leagues, while J.D. McKissic figures to take the bulk of the work in the passing game. It's also entirely possible the Lions bring back C.J. Anderson to assume at least part of the early-down workload after cutting him earlier in the season.
Arizona Cardinals LB Ramik Wilson was released Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Free-agent LB Deone Bucannon (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed contract with the New York Giants on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) did not participate in practice Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Houston Texans TE Logan Paulsen was released Tuesday, Oct. 22.
The San Francisco 49ers expect wide receiver Deebo Samuel (groin) to return in Week 8 against the Carolina Panthers. Samuel missed Week 7 but appears ready to practice and play against a tough Panthers pass defense this Sunday. Despite showing exciting flashes this season, the rookie is averaging just 4.4 targets and 33.6 yards per game. His fantasy value will be further impaired with the acquisition of veteran wideout Emmanuel Sanders. With the Niners leaning heavily on their running game and tight end George Kittle dominating target share, Samuel is gradually fading from redraft relevance. Hell be a desperation WR5 if he suits on in Week 8.
Minnesota Vikings CB Marcus Sherels was released on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Indianapolis Colts S Malik Hooker (knee) told reporters he expects to play in Week 8 versus the Denver Broncos. Hooker has been sidelined since Week 3 with a torn meniscus.
The San Francisco 49ers traded for wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders from the Denver Broncos on Tuesday. Reported by ESPNs Adam Schefter, the Niners will ship 2020 third and fourth round picks to Denver for Sanders and a 2020 fifth rounder. The 10-year pro should instantly upgrade a Niners receiving corps that have been anonymous outside of stud tight end George Kittle. However, Sanders should be downgraded fantasy-wise as he enters a run-heavy offense while competing for looks against Kittle, a versatile backfield and an amalgam of wideouts. Hell be a risky WR3 in Week 8 against a tough Carolina Panthers pass defense. Other losers in the deal are receivers Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel (groin) and Marquise Goodwin who all continue to slide outside of fantasy relevance.
New England Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu will make his Patriots debut in Week 8 against a Browns Defense that is allowing the 14th fewest fantasy points to receivers. Sanu was acquired via trade from the Falcons and immediately brings size and physicality to a banged up wide receiving group in New England. Sanu caught 66 passes last season for 838 yards and four touchdowns but has been held to only 313 yards with one touchdown this season. Sanu is an excellent addition as a player that can bring the kind of size in the red zone that the Patriots have been lacking due to a banged up Josh Gordon and Rob Gronkowski's retirement in the preseason. Sanu should be thrown right into the mix against a Browns defense that has allowed 10-plus fantasy points to eight different receivers this season. He may lack the amount of targets, however, to garner anything higher than a WR4 play in Week 8.