49ers offensive line fueled by recent criticism

October 21, 2020

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Mike McGlinchey helped clear the way for Deebo Samuel to convert the game-sealing first down and then repeatedly head butted teammate Hroniss Grasu in celebration.

The frustration built up over two rough weeks for San Francisco’s offensive line spilled out in that moment at the end of the Niners’ 24-16 win over the Los Angeles Rams.

“It was just an exciting moment,” McGlinchey said Wednesday. “We had gone through a lot of stuff the last couple of weeks and definitely fell on some hard times and didn’t play up to our standard. Sunday night we got back on track and that’s all that was. It was just a lot of excitement, a lot of pride and what we did that night. Everybody felt the way that we competed and the way that we played and to seal it the way that we did with that final play was just the icing on the cake.”

The defending NFC champion 49ers (3-3) came into that game having lost back-to-back contests. Much of the blame went to McGlinchey and the offensive line that allowed five sacks in consecutive games for the first time in six years.

McGlinchey said last week that some of the criticism was unfair as outsiders focused on only a few blown plays rather than the totality of his play. But the criticism also served as fuel for the line’s best performance of the season.

“I’m not going to lie to you and say that it didn’t. It certainly did,” McGlinchey said about feeling motivated by the criticism. “It just gives you that little extra edge. I appreciate the edge, if that’s what you guys want to keep giving me. It’s awesome. It was a cool night. I played up to the standard that I know that I can play. I got back on track. I eliminated the bad plays. That’s all that it was.”

The Niners controlled two-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald and allowed no sacks, and a season-low three pressures and quarterback hits, according to SportRadar.

San Francisco also ran for 122 yards and got a lot more on tap passes out of the shotgun that are officially counted as passes but are essentially runs.

Two of those plays to Samuel helped lead to a TD on the opening drive. Samuel took one 35 yards on the second play of the game and capped the drive with another for a 6-yard TD.

Coach Kyle Shanahan went back to that play at the end of the game, leading to Samuel’s 11-yard gain on third-and-7 that sealed the win with a performance more reminiscent of last season’s run to the Super Bowl than the sluggish start to this season.

“I was hoping that the Miami game would spring us forward and really say a lot about our team and went out and got completely embarrassed as we all know,” Shanahan said of the 43-17 loss to the Dolphins in Week 5.

“I also think that did something to us, even though it was obviously a negative with losing that and hurting our record, especially the way we did it. But I think it affected us in a good way going forward. It’s not like guys weren’t working and trying, but there’s always another level to get to, however that comes out.”

NOTES: LT Trent Williams missed practice but doesn’t have a high ankle sprain and might be able to play this week. ... RB Raheem Mostert, S Jaquiski Tartt (groin) and LB Kwon Alexander (ankle) all missed practice. ... CB Richard Sherman (calf) and DE Dee Ford (back) aren’t expected to return until after the bye week in Week 11. ... The Niners promoted LB Joe Walker to the active roster from the practice squad and signed LB Jonas Griffith and TE Daniel Helm to the practice squad.


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