Pittsburgh Steelers vs. San Francisco 49ers

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Jimmy Garoppolo’s game-winning touchdown pass helped the San Francisco 49ers defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers.

0:58 | September 22, 2019 | Football, NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers

Game Information
Location: Levi's Stadium Santa Clara, California
Attendance: 69,439

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) The San Francisco 49ers gave away everything but the game.

Jimmy Garoppolo threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Dante Pettis with 1:15 remaining and the 49ers overcame five turnovers to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-20 on Sunday for their first 3-0 start in 21 years.

"It's never perfect," cornerback Richard Sherman said. "We didn't play perfect today but our record is perfect."

The Niners gave the ball away four times in the first half and then lost a fumble again in the fourth quarter, but still managed to pull out the victory and spoil Mason Rudolph's first career start in place of the injured Ben Roethlisberger for the Steelers (0-3).

A team that won just 10 games combined in coach Kyle Shanahan's first two seasons heads into a week off in good shape after surviving the home opener.

"It's a good start," Garoppolo said. "There's a lot of football left. Three wins won't get you anything in this league."

Rudolph threw two long touchdown passes in the second half, connecting on a 76-yarder to JuJu Smith-Schuster and a 39-yarder to Diontae Johnson that gave the Steelers a 20-17 lead in the fourth quarter.

The Niners answered the first strike with a 75-yard touchdown drive capped by a 4-yard run by Jeff Wilson Jr. and appeared poised to do the same when they drove inside the 10 following the second score.

But on third down from the 7, a shotgun snap hit receiver Richie James Jr. as he went in motion and T.J. Watt recovered the fumble for Pittsburgh on San Francisco's third red-zone turnover of the game.

The Steelers then gave it right back when James Conner was stripped by Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner recovered at the 24. After a third-down holding penalty on Mark Barron extended the drive, Garoppolo found Pettis for the go-ahead score.

Pettis had caught just four passes for 22 yards this season before the TD grab, but made the biggest play yet for San Francisco.

"There obviously have been a lot of ups and downs," he said. "You're not just going to be good every single day. Now that I know what it's like to go through that, I know I can do this. I know I'm here for a reason."

Pittsburgh was unable to generate a first down on the ensuing drive with Rudolph taking a sack on third down and throwing an incompletion on fourth to send the Steelers to their second 0-3 start since 2000.

"We get ready for next week," coach Mike Tomlin said. "It's as simple as that. That's life in the National Football League. It'd be the same had we won. We're not into the keep it together discussions. That's not how we're built."

Garoppolo finished 22 for 32 for 277 yards. He threw two interceptions on the first three drives on passes that hit his receivers' hands and also lost a fumble on a bad snap from center by Weston Richburg with the Niners inside the Pittsburgh 10.

Rudolph finished 14 for 27 for 174 yards, throwing an interception to K'Waun Williams on the opening drive of the second half to set up Wilson's first touchdown.

INJURIES

Steelers: TE Vance McDonald left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury.

49ers: CB Ahkello Witherspoon left in the second half with a foot injury that he doesn't believe is serious.

IMPRESSIVE DEBUT

Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick made a big impact in his first game since being acquired from Miami this past week in a deal that sent a first-round pick to the Dolphins. He intercepted a pass in the first quarter and then forced a fumble by Raheem Mostert in the red zone in the second quarter that Devin Bush recovered. He became the first Steelers player with an interception and forced fumble in the opening half since James Harrison did it against the Chargers on Nov. 16, 2008.

ROUGH DEBUT

Cornerback Jason Verrett made his debut for the 49ers and was picked on after Witherspoon left with the injury. He committed a 32-yard pass interference penalty and then was beaten deep by Johnson on a 39-yard score the following play to give the Steelers a 20-17 lead in the fourth quarter.

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

The first two turnovers by San Francisco gave the Steelers the ball in scoring position but they were unable to generate a first down on either drive and settled for field goals. Rudolph completed three passes for only 5 yards the first possession, leading to a 46-yard field goal by Chris Boswell. Rudolph then threw an incomplete pass on third-and-5 following two runs by James Conner, leading to a 26-yard field goal.

UP NEXT

Steelers: Host Cincinnati on Monday night.

49ers: After a week off, the Niners host Cleveland on Oct. 7.

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1st Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Steelers 49ers
11:47 Chris Boswell 46 yd FG 3 0
02:04 Chris Boswell 26 yd FG 6 0

2nd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Steelers 49ers
06:45 Robbie Gould 24 yd FG 6 3

3rd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Steelers 49ers
09:17 Jeff Wilson Jr. 1 yd run (Robbie Gould kick) 6 10
05:42 JuJu Smith-Schuster 76 yd pass from Mason Rudolph (Chris Boswell kick) 13 10
00:56 Jeff Wilson Jr. 4 yd run (Robbie Gould kick) 13 17

4th Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Steelers 49ers
10:22 Diontae Johnson 39 yd pass from Mason Rudolph (Chris Boswell kick) 20 17
01:15 Dante Pettis 5 yd pass from Jimmy Garoppolo (Robbie Gould kick) 20 24

Team Stats
  Pittsburgh San Francisco
1st Downs 11 26
Total Yards 239 436
Passing 160 268
Passing Completions/Attempts 14-27 23-32
Yards/Pass 5.5 8.1
Rushing 79 168
Rushing Attempts 22 40
Yards/Rush 3.6 4.2
Turnovers 2 5
Fumbles Lost 1 3
Interceptions Thrown 1 2
Possession 23:43 36:17

Pittsburgh Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Mason Rudolph 14 27 174 6.4 2 1

San Francisco Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Jimmy Garoppolo 23 32 277 8.7 1 2

Pittsburgh Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
James Conner 13 43 3.3 0 10
Mason Rudolph 4 15 3.8 0 7
Johnny Holton 1 9 9.0 0 9
Benny Snell Jr. 3 6 2.0 0 4
Diontae Johnson 1 6 6.0 0 6

San Francisco Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Raheem Mostert 12 79 6.6 0 19
Matt Breida 14 68 4.9 0 10
Jeff Wilson Jr. 8 18 2.2 2 5
Jimmy Garoppolo 6 3 0.5 0 2

Pittsburgh Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
JuJu Smith-Schuster 3 81 27.0 1 76
Diontae Johnson 3 52 17.3 1 39
James Conner 4 14 3.5 0 5
James Washington 2 14 7.0 0 8
Vance McDonald 1 10 10.0 0 10
Xavier Grimble 1 3 3.0 0 3

San Francisco Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
George Kittle 6 57 9.5 0 12
Kyle Juszczyk 3 51 17.0 0 27
Deebo Samuel 3 44 14.7 0 20
Marquise Goodwin 2 41 20.5 0 25
Richie James Jr. 2 22 11.0 0 16
Kendrick Bourne 1 22 22.0 0 22
Dante Pettis 4 20 5.0 1 12
Matt Breida 2 20 10.0 0 15
Jeff Wilson Jr. 0 0 0.0 0
Raheem Mostert 0 0 0.0 0

Pittsburgh Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Devin Bush 7 3 0 0
Terrell Edmunds 7 3 0 0
Stephon Tuitt 6 1 1 9
Joe Haden 6 2 0 0
Javon Hargrave 6 0 0 0
Minkah Fitzpatrick 4 1 0 0
Cameron Heyward 4 1 0 0
Mike Hilton 4 0 0 0
Steve Nelson 4 0 0 0
Bud Dupree 3 0 0 0
T.J. Watt 2 0 0 0
Tyson Alualu 1 1 0 0
Mark Barron 1 0 0 0
Olasunkanmi Adeniyi 0 0 0 0
Artie Burns 0 0 0 0
Jordan Dangerfield 0 0 0 0
Jayrone Elliott 0 0 0 0
Zach Gentry 0 0 0 0
Tyler Matakevich 0 0 0 0
JuJu Smith-Schuster 0 0 0 0
Benny Snell Jr. 0 0 0 0

San Francisco Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
DeForest Buckner 6 4 1 9
Kwon Alexander 5 2 0 0
D.J. Jones 3 0 0 0
Jaquiski Tartt 3 0 0 0
Fred Warner 3 0 0 0
Tarvarius Moore 2 0 0 0
Solomon Thomas 2 1 0 0
Ahkello Witherspoon 2 0 0 0
Dee Ford 1 0 1 5
Arik Armstead 1 0 0 0
Nick Bosa 1 0 0 0
Richard Sherman 1 1 0 0
K'Waun Williams 1 1 0 0
Azeez Al-Shaair 0 0 0 0
Ronald Blair III 0 3 0 0
Sheldon Day 0 1 0 0
Dre Greenlaw 0 1 0 0
Richie James Jr. 0 0 0 0
George Kittle 0 0 0 0
Emmanuel Moseley 0 0 0 0
Mike Person 0 0 0 0
D.J. Reed Jr. 0 0 0 0

Pittsburgh Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
Minkah Fitzpatrick 1 14 0
T.J. Watt 1 7 0

San Francisco Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
K'Waun Williams 1 4 0

Pittsburgh Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
Johnny Holton 2 42 21.0 0 21

San Francisco Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
Richie James Jr. 2 48 24.0 0 26

Pittsburgh Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Ryan Switzer 1 0 0.0 0 0

San Francisco Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Richie James Jr. 5 53 10.6 0 15

Pittsburgh Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Chris Boswell 2 2 100.0 46

San Francisco Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Robbie Gould 1 1 100.0 24

Pittsburgh Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Jordan Berry 6 314 60

San Francisco Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Mitch Wishnowsky 3 150 52