Here are the under-the-radar heroes from Sunday’s win over the Saints.
- WR Kendrick Bourne. Caught two touchdown passes and established himself as the 49ers’ top red-zone target. During training camp and preseason, Bourne dropped lots of passes. But, he hasn’t dropped many this season, with the exception of the drop that led to the interception against the Seattle Seahawks. Bourne seems like one of the best No. 3 receivers in the league.
- LB Dre Greenlaw. Matched up man to man with Saints running back Alvin Kamara and helped limit him to just 18 receiving yards. Greenlaw was the 49ers’ best linebacker in this game — better than Fred Warner, who won the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for November.
- LT Joe Staley. Returned from finger, leg and back injuries and played well. Didn’t look old or slow or unhealthy. Gave up zero sacks and made excellent blocks downfield during run plays. Staley’s reemergence bodes well for the 49ers’ Super Bowl chances.
- C Ben Garland. Replaced starting center Weston Richburg after Richburg injured his ankle. Like Staley, Garland made several nice downfield blocks during run plays. Garland spent the entire training camp and preseason playing with the first team-offense while Richburg recovered from offseason surgery, so Garland is prepared to play the rest of the season if necessary.
- K Robbie Gould. Made both of his field goals, including a clutch field goal with the game on the line. Gould has made lots of game-winning field goals when the pressure is on. He performs extremely well under pressure. The 49ers will need him to make more clutch field goals this season.
And here are the players whose stock dropped.
THE NOT SO GOOD
- WR Marquise Goodwin. A healthy scratch, meaning he could have played, but the 49ers didn’t want him to. Didn’t even let him suit up. Goodwin almost surely won’t be on the team next season, and he probably won’t play the rest of this season unless Bourne, Deebo Samuel or Emmanuel Sanders gets injured. Just a couple seasons ago, Goodwin was the 49ers’ best wide receiver. They’ve moved past his level.
- LB Azeez Al-Shaair. The undrafted rookie blew his assignment in zone coverage and gave up a long touchdown catch to Saints tight end Jared Cook, who suffered a concussion during this play and left the game. Had Cook not gotten injured, Al-Shaair might have given up more big plays. Expect more teams to attack him.
- DE Dee Ford. Left the game with a hamstring injury. Simply cannot stay healthy. Anything the 49ers get from him the rest of the season would be a bonus.
- C Weston Richburg. Injured his knee and left the game on a cart. Richburg will have an MRI to see if the injury is a season-ender. He has been one of the 49ers’ best run blockers this season.
- RB Tevin Coleman. Gained only six rushing yards for the second game in a row. Clearly lacks the agility and explosion he had earlier this season. Plus, the other running backs have better vision than Coleman and find holes more consistently. Both Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida are better than Coleman.
While you’re here, check out my postgame show:
49ers 48, Saints 46: Postgame show. https://t.co/S9jJvMzDkA
— Grant Cohn (@grantcohn) December 8, 2019