October 19, 2018

San Francisco 49ers
INSIDE SLANT

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  Healthy WR Goodwin a difference-maker for 49ers

Forget Jimmy Garoppolo.

Forget Jerick McKinnon, which is easy to do being that he's never suited up for the 49ers.

Forget Joe Staley and Robbie Gould.

The 49ers made one thing clear to the nation in Monday's 33-30 loss to the Green Bay Packers: A healthy Marquise Goodwin is their most electrifying offensive force.

Goodwin padded his already gaudy yards-per-catch numbers with a 67-yard touchdown reception in the loss, part of a performance in which he also recorded career-highs in receiving yards (126) and touchdowns (two).

It came one week after 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, tired of seeing Goodwin not up to speed and often in and out of the lineup with injuries, benched his star wideout against Arizona in hopes of getting him back to 100 percent.

It worked.

"I think you guys saw that for your guys' selves," Shanahan responded this week when asked how much a healthy Goodwin means to the 49ers. "We'd been missing 'Quise a lot. He's been battling to get back.

"That was the first game the true 'Quise was back."

The 49ers were considered to be a far more dangerous offensive team in the final five weeks of the 2017 season when Garoppolo became the starting quarterback.

That notion short-changed Goodwin, who had 99-, 106- and 114-yard outings in Garoppolo's first three starts while the newcomer got most of the attention.

He also contributed a touchdown to the 49ers' 34-13 season-ending victory over this week's opponent, the Los Angeles Rams.

An injured Garoppolo has handed off the ball to C.J. Beathard in recent weeks. That made no difference to Goodwin against the Packers.

Whether it's been Garoppolo or Beathard at quarterback the past 11 games (the last five in 2017, the first six in 2018), the 49ers rank fourth in the NFL in passing first downs over that stretch (154), sixth in net yards per game (394.5) and tied for eighth in pass plays gaining 10 or more yards (126).

Beathard credits Goodwin.

"Guys are respecting his speed. You've got to respect his speed," he gushed. "He can take the tops off of coverages, so it definitely helps having him out there."



SERIES HISTORY: 137th regular-season meeting. 49ers lead series, 68-65-3. The road team has won the last three meetings, including both last season when the Rams prevailed 41-39 at San Francisco in Week 3 before the 49ers turned the tables for a 34-13 victory at Los Angeles in Week 17 when the Rams rested a lot of starters with the playoffs beginning the following week. The 49ers have won four of the last five head-to-heads, and the only playoff game in the rivalry's history 30-3 at home in the 1990 NFC Championship Game