San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) passes against Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson (99) during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) After nothing but success the first eight games of the season, the San Francisco 49ers now are learning to deal with failure.
The Niners' perfect season was derailed last week with an overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks when San Francisco was unable to overcome a litany of offensive miscues.
The 49ers (8-1) will look to get back on the winning track Sunday when they host the Arizona Cardinals (3-6-1) for the second time in three weeks.
''I think we have a good mindset with it,'' said quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who had his worst day of the season in the 27-24 loss. ''Everyone was in here yesterday working on the day off. Today it's just a sense of urgency in the building. It's good to see that.''
San Francisco committed three turnovers, allowed five sacks and struggled to get much of anything going consistently on the ground or through the air against Seattle.
The 49ers had season lows in yards rushing (87) and yards per attempt passing (4.7) on a night that star tight end George Kittle was out with an injury and No. 1 receiver Emmanuel Sanders left with injured ribs in the first quarter.
San Francisco is using that performance as a teaching tool for the rest of the season.
''You learn from the good and you learn more from the bad,'' tackle Mike McGlinchey said. ''It's a huge step in the right direction for us to be able take as many blows as we did and play as poorly as we did and still have a chance, not only one chance but multiple chances to win that game. That's a testament to how our defense played. ... We need to do a better job on the offensive side of the ball to make sure we reward their work.''
The Cardinals are stumbling toward their bye week, having lost three straight games after a promising start to the first season under coach Kliff Kingsbury and rookie quarterback Kyler Murray.
One of those losses was two weeks ago when Arizona fell 28-25 at home to the 49ers, a performance that gives the Cardinals confidence that if they can fix some mistakes they can compete with the first-place Niners.
''I don't think we played our best game,'' Murray said. ''I know personally, if we just go out and execute - they know what we do, we know what they do - if we go out and execute, we should be in good shape.''
The Niners' offense was done in by the absence of Kittle and Sanders last week. San Francisco scored 10 points on the opening two drives when Sanders was healthy and then just six more on offense the rest of the game. With no consistent receiving threats, the Seahawks were able to load up against the run and allow only 3.2 yards per carry. Kendrick Bourne had two key drops for San Francisco, while Dante Pettis and Marquise Goodwin combined for no catches on six targets.
Arizona has relied on a variety of playmakers this season and the latest to make big plays is rookie receiver Andy Isabella. The second-round pick out of UMass had an 88-yard touchdown catch against the 49ers in the first meeting between the teams on Oct. 31. He has six catches for 174 yards over the past three games after not even being targeted in the season's first seven games. Kingsbury said Isabella has been improving steadily all season.
''It's been trending that way for a while,'' he said. ''We've had him inside, had him outside, and I think now the comfort level, having him outside more so, has really helped his development recently.''
MAN IN THE MIDDLE
The defensive star of the game for the 49ers last week was middle linebacker Fred Warner, who stepped up his performance in his first game since fellow starting linebacker Kwon Alexander suffered a season-ending torn pectoral muscle. Warner had 10 tackles, the first two sacks of his career, one forced fumble and a pass defensed.
''He gets us in and out of everything,'' coach Kyle Shanahan said. ''He has to make a ton of calls. He's definitely our quarterback out there and I think he does it as good as anyone I've seen.''
Arizona's defense ranks 31st out of 32 teams in points allowed (281), total yards allowed per game (412.5) and passing yards allowed per game (286.5). The Cardinals have given up at least 21 points in all 10 games this season but never have given up more than 38. Linebacker Chandler Jones has been one of the bright spots with 11 1/2 sacks and five forced fumbles. Three-time All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson returned from a six-game suspension last month but hasn't had much of an impact. Kingsbury said the Cardinals had bouts of poor tackling in last week's 30-27 loss to Tampa Bay.
''There were some shoulders being thrown,'' Kingsbury said. ''We have to be better in those situations.''
The 49ers again will be without starting left tackle Joe Staley, who will be out a couple of weeks after undergoing surgery on a broken finger. Staley broke a bone in his leg in Week 2 and missed the next six games. He then got hurt in his return to the lineup. With Staley unable to go, rookie Justin Skule is expected to move back into the lineup.
''I thought he did a very good job,'' Shanahan said of Skule. ''He came in there and stepped it up right away. Did a good job in his first game and I thought he got better each week.''
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has been arguably the best tight end in the NFL this season. He absolutely destroyed the Broncos Defense during the Week 15 matchup Kelce caught 11 of 13 targets for 142 yards in the 23-3 win over Denver. Kelce surpassed 1,000 receiving yards for the season during that contest. Kelce is going to continue to be an elite PPR TE1 for his matchup with the Bears next week.
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey had a day despite his team falling to the Seahawks on Sunday, finishing with 87 yards on 19 carries, while also adding eight catches for 88 yards. After failing to score a touchdown in either of his previous two outings, the 23-year-old also racked up his 15th and 16th score of the season in this one. Though the team has nothing left to play for this year, McCaffrey should remain active over the next two games as he attempts to hit 1,000 yards on both the ground and through the air.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill had no issues in the 23-3 victory over the Broncos in Week 15. Hill caught five of his seven targets for 67 yards and two touchdowns. His first touchdown came on a 41-yard play where Hill completely destroyed Broncos' Chris Harris. The snowy conditions can't even hold back Hill. Fantasy owners should feel comfortable with Hill as a WR1 for their matchup with the Bears next week.
Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams was held to 26 rushing yards on eight totes and one catch for seven yards in a 21-13 win over the Chicago Bears. Williams, like Aaron Jones, couldn't find much room to operate between the 20s against Akiem Hicks and the Bears Defense. Unfortunately for the 24-year-old, Jones out-touched him 13-nine and scored twice in the red zone. It's also worth noting that Williams has seen only two targets the last two weeks after seeing 12 in Weeks 11 and 12. He'll look to bounce back in a tough matchup next week against the Minnesota Vikings.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Spencer Ware was signed by the team roughly two weeks ago and is already making an impact on the field. Ware rushed seven times for 26 yards in the victory over the Denver Broncos. However, the Chiefs have a running back committee, so Ware has handcuffed fantasy value. Both LeSean McCoy and Darwin Thompson are going to see carries each week. He's not someone worth owning in basically any format. He'll have a tough matchup against the Bears Defense in Week 16.
Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (shoulder) has left the game and will not return after being tackled on a third-quarter run. He landed hard on the shoulder/chest area that has been giving him trouble in the last few weeks and will be held out for the remainder of the contest. With Alexander Mattison (ankle) also out, the backfield duties will now be split between Ameer Abdullah and Mike Boone in the second half. Cook had nine carries for 27 yards and three catches for 16 yards before exiting.
New England Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu caught two passes for only 13 yards in the Patriots 34-13 win over the Bengals. Sanu has been battling an ankle injury over the past few weeks and does not look 100%. Add to that the fact that Sanu is acclimating himself into a new offense and his fantasy value has fallen off the map. The veteran has very little value at present with only two games remaining in the season.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Darwin Thompson surprisingly led the team in carries during the Week 15 win over the Denver Broncos. He rushed eight times for 38 yards and caught one pass for one yard through the air. It appears the Chiefs are beginning to feel more comfortable with Thompson. However, LeSean McCoy and Spencer Ware will continue to be worked into the backfield. Thompson will have shaky RB3 or most likely RB4 value against the Bears next week.
The New England Patriots Defense picked off Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton four times in the team's 34-13 win in Week 15. The Patriots gave up an early touchdown but stiffened up from there as they dominated the rest of the game. Stephen Gilmore and J.C. Jackson recorded two interceptions each as the Patriots got a much-need win against a poor Bengals team. The defense now prepares for a huge game against a division rival, the Bills, next Saturday to kick off Week 16.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross had just two catches for 24 yards during the loss to the Patriots on Sunday. Ross was only targeted three times on a day where Andy Dalton threw four interceptions. Since returning to the lineup after suffering a chest injury earlier in the season, the 24-year-old has only four receptions for 52 yards. He still has a shot to get things going over the team's final two games, but that chance could diminish if A.J. Green (ankle) returns at some point during that span.
Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones carried the ball 13 times for 51 rushing yards with two touchdowns and wasn't targeted in a 21-13 win over the Chicago Bears. The Bears are a much better run defense with Akiem Hicks in the lineup, as they stifled Jones between the 20s. Jones broke free in the red zone twice, including a 21-yard run in the third quarter, complete with broken tackles. It wasn't the most productive day on the ground or through the air for Jones, but his nose for the end zone, 17 touchdowns this year, has made up for many sub-par days- and turned good outings into great ones. Up next is a Week 15 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings, who Jones gashed for 150 scrimmage yards and a touchdown back in Week 2.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was able to bounce back after three straight mediocre performances. Mahomes completed 27 of 34 passing attempts for 340 yards and two touchdowns and one interception in the Week 15 victory. It wasn't a perfect game for Mahomes, but it was in snowy conditions. He was able to play very well despite the frustrating field conditions. Fantasy owners should feel confident that Mahomes will be a top tier option against the Bears in Week 16.
New England Patriots running back James White totaled only 62 yards from scrimmage but caught and ran for a 23-yard touchdown in the Patriots win over the Bengals in Week 15. The Patriots coasted to victory after a tight first half and explosive plays simply were not on the menu in this contest. White has been a disappointment in fantasy this season but his impact on the offense over the last month continues to increase. Of all the runners in the Patriots backfield, White is the one to deploy in fantasy lineups over the final few weeks.
New England Patriots wide receiver N'Keal Harry caught two passes for 15 yards with one touchdown in the Patriots 34-13 win over the Bengals. The rookie saw only four targets in the game and continues to be a raw talent in an experienced offense. But Harry has proved to be a threat in the red zone and capitalized on his size for a seven-yard touchdown reception. Harry's fantasy value should be reserved for dynasty and keeper leagues the rest of this season.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Devante Parker had another big game in a 36-20 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday, scoring 19 standard league points on four receptions and two touchdowns. Parker finished with 72 yards on the day, putting Miami on the board for the first time with a 20-yard touchdown in the first quarter, as well as giving the Dolphins their last points of the day with a 29-yard catch on their last drive of the game. In the middle of the breakout season fantasy owners have been waiting on, Parker now has eight touchdowns and 954 yards on 59 receptions in 2019. Even missing most of last weeks game after being concussed, Parker is one of the leagues hottest receivers and now has 75 points in his last five games. Next week, Parker and the Dolphins will face a bad Bengals team but one thats been sneakily good against wide receivers in fantasy, allowing just the 22nd-most points to them this season.
New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead carried the ball six times for 53 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown run, in the Patriots romp over the Bengals in Week 15. Burkhead put the game away with the touchdown scamper and added two receptions for six yards in the game. Burkhead is third in the pecking order among Patriots running backs but the team has opted for a run-heavy attack the past few games. Burkhead is possibly worth a bench stash but is tough to trust the rest of the fantasy season.
Kansas City Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy was given another start, but was not able to do much with the opportunity. McCoy rushed six times for 16 yards in the Week 15 win over the Broncos. It was snowy conditions and head coach Andy Reid said he wouldn't push McCoy too hard. It doesn't sound like McCoy is going to be an asset to fantasy owners anymore. Both Spencer Ware and Darwin Thompson received more carries in this one. McCoy will be a desperation RB3 for a tough Week 16 matchup with the Bears.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd caught just three of his seven targets for 26 yards during the loss to the Patriots on Sunday. Boyd was expected to see a small increase in production with Auden Tate (knee) recently landing on injured reserve, but he failed to produce. Instead, Boyd, along with the rest of the offense, stood by as Joe Mixon ran for 136 yards on 25 carries, while Andy Dalton threw four interceptions. A.J. Green (ankle) still hasn't ruled out returning at some point this year, and if he does come back over the next two games, Boyd will see his stock decrease.
Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert had 44 yards on three catches during the Week 15 loss to New England. Eifert, who has just two touchdowns on the year, is a long way away from his 2015 version, where he compiled 72 receptions and 13 scores. With only two games left, Eifert does have a chance to get a little something going against the Dolphins in Week 16, but those looking for a streamer should look elsewhere before utilizing his services In any fantasy lineup.
New England Patriots running back Sony Michel was back in the team's offensive graces this week, posting a team-high 19 carries for 89 yards with 14 receiving yards in the Patriots victory over the Bengals. One week after having his snaps severely cut down, the second-year running back delivered some solid production. Teammate Rex Burkhead scored in the red zone but Michel was leaned on throughout the game to move the chains. While this doesn't automatically have Michel back in fantasy starting lineups, it does help his value heading into the final two games of the season.