Mon Feb 3 2:47am ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer
San Francisco 49ers' Kyle Juszczyk (44) celebrates with Jimmy Garoppolo (10) after scoring against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) reacts after turning the ball over on downs during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) stands on the field, during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game against the Kansas City Chiefs', Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Ben Niemann, right, hits San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt York)
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) The stage was set for Jimmy Garoppolo to lead the type of Super Bowl-winning drive that he watched his mentor Tom Brady do in two previous title games.
Even after blowing a 10-point fourth quarter lead to Patrick Mahomes and the high-powered Kansas City Chiefs, Garoppolo had the ball in his hands needing one successful drive to lead the San Francisco 49ers to their record-tying sixth Super Bowl title.
Instead, Garoppolo came up short and the Niners head into the offseason with disappointment after falling 31-20 to the Chiefs on Sunday night.
''Those are the moments you dream of and everything,'' Garoppolo said. ''We got rolling on a right note and just couldn't finish it off. It is tough, but it has been a hell of a year with these guys.''
After failing to move the ball on the first two drives of the fourth quarter, Garoppolo and the 49ers took over at their 15 with 2:39 to play and three timeouts.
It's the kind of spot any quarterback wants to be in and the kind that Brady thrived in while leading Super Bowl comebacks over Seattle (2015) and Atlanta (2017) with Garoppolo as his backup.
But that late-game magic didn't rub off on Garoppolo after he moved the team to the Kansas City 49 on the first play following the two-minute warning.
He then threw incompletions on first and second down before missing on his biggest throw of the night. Emmanuel Sanders got loose behind the secondary but Garoppolo's deep throw was just out of his reach for an incompletion.
''We missed some shots tonight,'' Garoppolo said. ''Just some plays that we usually make. It was a tough one out there.''
Garoppolo was then sacked on fourth down, giving the ball back to Kansas City. He then threw an interception after Damien Williams added an insurance touchdown, capping off a rough fourth quarter that saw him go 3 for 11 for 36 yards in the final 15 minutes.
''I had all the confidence in the world that he would make plays,'' fullback Kyle Juszczyk said. ''I still think he played a phenomenal game. We have all the confidence in the world in Jimmy. He's our guy no matter what the situation is.''
The questions going into this game were whether Garoppolo could carry the team after needing to throw only eight passes in an NFC title game win over Green Bay.
Garoppolo was more than up to the task for the first three quarters despite throwing an interception in the second quarter after being hit while trying to throw it away.
He completed 17 of 20 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown in the first three quarters, leading San Francisco on four scoring drives with no punts until everything changed in the fourth quarter.
The Niners' first drive of the final frame came after Mahomes threw his second interception, giving San Francisco the ball with a 10-point lead and less than 12 minutes to play.
He completed a 12-yard pass to George Kittle for one first down but that drive stalled after a false start on Joe Staley and then a short scramble by Garoppolo on third-and-14.
''That was an opportunity for us,'' he said. ''We just didn't take advantage of it, especially right after the turnover. We all felt the same way coming off the field at that point.''
The Chiefs scored on the next drive and then San Francisco went three-and-out on the ensuing possession with Chris Jones batting down a ball at the line with Kittle open down field on second down.
Mahomes then led another TD drive and Garoppolo couldn't answer.
''We just didn't make the plays when we had the opportunities to,'' he said. ''It's a tough way to go down, but it is what it is.''
Sunday Morning Update: Week 7
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith was targeted just four times but caught all four, totaling 56 receiving yards in a win over the Panthers. It wasn't the volume fantasy managers were hoping for from Smith, as he took a backseat to undrafted rookie Marquez Callaway (ankle). However, Smith really could be the lone wolf in the receiving room next week, especially if Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring), Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19), and Callaway are all out for a Week 8 matchup against the Bears.
The Washington Football Team defense had another good game against a banged-up offense as they dominated the Andy Dalton-led Cowboys. Dallas was playing without several starters on the offensive line and Washington took advantage as they sacked Dalton six times with one sack leading to a safety. Cole Holcomb led the charge for Washington with an interception and a sack from the middle linebacker position. In all, Washington allowed three points, recorded six sacks, a safety, and an interception on a great day for fantasy managers. The Football Team will have a bye in Week 8 but have another juicy matchup versus the Giants in Week 9 where they will be a startable unit in fantasy.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green had seven catches (13 targets) for 82 yards during the loss to the Browns on Sunday. The veteran recorded another convincing performance against Cleveland while combining for 15 receptions (24 targets) over the team's previous two contests. Although fantasy managers may not see this type of production against the Titans in Week 8, he could have some more favorable outings over Cincy's remaining nine games, especially if Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd continue to open things up for him.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marquez Callaway caught eight of 10 targets for 75 receiving yards in a 27-24 victory over Carolina. Callaway led the team in targets in the absences of both Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19). Somewhat quietly, the 22-year old rookie has compiled 16 targets over his last two contests. With Sanders definitely out and Thomas's status looking murky, Callaway makes for an interesting waiver add. He did sustain an ankle injury and had to be helped off the field to the locker room. If Callaway's ankle isn't anything serious, fantasy managers should consider him as a streaming option against Chicago.
The Dallas Cowboys Defense didn't fare well in Week 7 despite being matched up against a Washington Football Team that was allowing the third most fantasy points to opposing fantasy defenses. The Cowboys defense allowed 23 points, recording two sacks but no turnovers. The Cowboys will take on the Eagles in the battle of bad NFC East defenses next week, where they will not be a recommended fantasy option.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins caught all five of his targets to finish with 71 yards and a touchdown against the Browns on Sunday. The rookie now has three touchdowns on the year, finding the end zone for the first time since Week 3 against the Eagles. With Joe Burrow leading a pass-heavy attack for Cincy, Higgins may continue to benefit, especially with Tyler Boyd and A.J. Green drawing the attention needed to open things up for him over the remaining nine games of his inaugural season.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd caught 11 of his 13 targets to finish the Week 7 matchup against the Browns with 101 yards and a score. After fizzling out against the Colts last Sunday, the 25-year-old recorded one of his most convincing performances of the 2020 campaign. Boyd has now logged at least eight targets in five of Cincy's seven contests and should continue to benefit from the stellar play of rookie signal-caller Joe Burrow. However, things may get difficult for the former Pittsburgh Panther in Week 8 against the Titans, with Tennessee looking to rebound after suffering its first defeat of the year against the Steelers.
Dallas Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein attempted a field goal in Week 7, and it was good for the only three points the Cowboys scored in an ugly 25-3 loss to the Washington Football Team. Zuerlein made his kick from 45 yards out and was never on the field on offense again. The Dallas offense is in total shambles, possibly moving Zuerlein out of the top-15 fantasy kickers going forward. He should continue to be solid, but may not get enough opportunities to score significant fantasy points.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup came up empty in a rough Week 7 loss. Gallup was targeted twice but couldn't come down with either pass, ending up with a blank box score and zero fantasy points. Gallup was working as a field stretcher with Dak Prescott around, but now with Andy Dalton and possibly Ben DiNucci throwing the ball for the Cowboys, Gallup seems much more likely to hit the "bust" part of his boom-or-bust fantasy outlook.
Washington Football Team tight end Logan Thomas caught all four of his targets for 60 yards and a touchdown in a Week 7 win over the Cowboys. Thomas played second-fiddle to Terry McLaurin in the passing game as no other Washington player had more than two targets. Thomas made them count catching several big passes to move the chains while finding the end zone for the third time this season. Thomas has had an up-and-down season but is getting enough weekly targets to be considered a borderline starter in 12-team fantasy leagues. He'll be a touchdown-dependant starter in his next matchup in Week 9 versus the Giants.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard racked up 37 yards off 13 carries during the heartbreaking loss to the Cleveland Browns. He also added five catches for 59 yards and a touchdown. The veteran filled in admirably for Joe Mixon (foot), who is considered week-to-week after being injured during the Week 6 encounter with the Colts. At this point, the 28-year-old has likely found a home on fantasy rosters. However, if he is still floating around the waiver wire, managers should pick him up before it's too late, especially if Mixon cannot suit up against the Titans in Week 8. Although Bernard isn't the most efficient runner, he should continue to benefit from the team's pass-heavy offense.
New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray posted 56 scrimmage yards on 12 total touches in a victory over the Panthers. Murray's 4.3 yards per carry were a bit skewed, as he picked up 25 yards on one run and just 22 yards on the other 10 carries. Still, the opportunity Murray is getting is encouraging for those who have him rostered, as the coaching staff clearly trusts him. It bears repeating, but if something were to happen to Alvin Kamara, Murray would be an easy start as an RB1.
Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin posted a 7-90-1 line versus the Cowboys to help lead Washington to a win over their division rival. The sophomore receiver was a huge part of the game plan against a bad Dallas secondary as McLaurin was targeted 11 times, his fourth game this season with double-digit targets. It could have been an even bigger game for McLaurin but he came up inches short of the goal line on his first catch of the game. He made up for it a couple of drives later as he torched Trevon Diggs for a 52-yard score. McLaurin doesn't operate in the NFL's most electrifying offense, but his combination of skill and target-floor make him one of the best WR options in fantasy. He'll have another solid matchup with the Giants in Week 9 after the bye.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara carried the ball 14 times for 83 rushing yards and caught all eight targets for 65 receiving yards in a 27-24 win. The 83 rushing yards tied a season-high for Kamara, as the running room was easy to find against Carolina's ground defense. Amazingly, the star halfback has exceeded 100 scrimmage yards in every game but one- and he ended up with two scores in that contest to salvage his day. There might be no better player to roster in fantasy football right now, so managers should keep riding the Kamara wave into a Week 8 contest against a Bears Defense that can be had on the ground.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (knee) will have an MRI performed on Monday. The veteran was forced out of Sunday's matchup against the Bengals after injuring his left knee in the first quarter. Although the team fears the worst, fantasy managers should wait until official confirmation before hitting the panic button. Heading into Week 7, the 27-year-old grabbed 23 of his 42 targets for 319 yards and three touchdowns.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz made two catches in Week 7, gaining 22 yards. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, Schultz ended up second on the team in both catches and receiving yards. He was targeted four times in a game in which the Cowboys couldn't do much of anything on offense. Even if Andy Dalton (head) is able to play next week, Schultz may be no better than a mid-range TE2. Things are rough on both sides of the ball in Dallas right now.
Dallas Cowboys rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb was targeted five times in an ugly Week 7 loss, failing to catch any of those targets. He was given one carry and gained one yard. In standard scoring leagues, Lamb put up just 0.1 fantasy points. It was a bad game for pretty much everyone in a Cowboys uniform. Even if Andy Dalton (head) isn't forced to miss time, Lamb and all of the Cowboys pass catchers are getting a huge downgrade compared to when Dak Prescott (ankle) was under center.
Green Bay Packers tight end Robert Tonyan caught only two passes for 32 yards in the Packers 35-20 romp over the Texans in Week 7. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was generous with his offensive distribution but Tonyan was unable to enjoy the fruits of the teams prosperity. Fantasy teams that raced to pick up Tonyan after his three-touchdown performance in Week 4 have been rewarded with only five catches for 57 yards over the last two weeks. Tonyan's fantasy value will continue to sink heading into Week 8.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper had the only remotely productive offensive game for the Cowboys in Week 7. He caught seven passes for 80 yards and added a carry for five more yards on the ground. Cooper was targeted seven times and caught everything sent his way. He ended up leading the team in catches, targets, and yards all by a significant margin. It was a rough game for the Cowboys in all aspects, but in the "someone has to catch the ball" situations that the Cowboys may have going forward, Cooper is the most likely to be that "someone". Cooper will remain a volume-based WR2 option regardless of the Cowboys quarterback situation going forward.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams caught 13 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns in the Packers 35-20 win over the Texans in Week 7. Adams simply could not be stopped, wreaking havoc all over the field with his team-high 16 targets in the game. The Packers offense simply is a different beast when Adams is on the field, as the star receiver now has two enormous fantasy performances under his belt this season. Adams heads into Week 8 with 36 receptions for 449 yards and four touchdowns through only four games this season.