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February 28, 2021
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Locals in the NFL: Fred Warner proves vital for injury-riddled Niners in rout of Giants

AROUND THE SHIELD — With an injury report stretched into double-digit figures after just three weeks of the 2020 NFL season, the San Francisco 49ers were already heavily reliant on former BYU linebacker Fred Warner.

In Sunday’s win of the New York Giants, he proved to be nearly irreplaceable.

Warner had a team-high seven tackles, a pass breakup and a crucial interception to lift the Niners to a 36-9 rout of the Giants.

Warner earned Pro Football Focus’ top grade among San Francisco’s defensive starters, pulling in an overall mark of 86.5. The interception was the second of his career, and also registered a quarterback hit and two run stops, according to PFF.

“It just played out perfect where I read the quarterback’s eyes, kind of baited him into throwing it and was able to take it home,” Warner told the media in a postgame video conference.

Through three games, Warner leads San Francisco (2-1) with 27 tackles, a top-10 mark in the NFL. His team-high total came a week after posting 11 tackles in the Niners’ Week 2 win over the Jets, a game that led to a lengthy injury list a day later — including reigning NFL defensive rookie of the year Nick Bosa. San Francisco will also be without linebacker Mark Nzeocha in Week 4 after suffering a quad strain in the win over the Giants.

But if this season has already taught him anything, it’s that the 49ers have the depth to still continue in the NFL. They just need someone to lead the new guys coming into place.

Enter a certain defensive captain from the San Diego area.

“We showed today that we have a lot of depth,” Warner said Sunday. “We knew that we were coming in with a lot of injuries but we wanted to prove to everyone that we’re all we’ve got, and we’re all we need. We’re executing. I think we’ve got the right guys in the building to put up a performance like we did today.”

Recently acquired defensive end Ziggy Ansah played 21 defensive snaps for the Niners (2-1) alongside his fellow BYU alum.

Utah alum Mitch Wishnowsky played 16 special-teams snaps without a punt for San Francisco. He also threw an incomplete pass on a botched extra-point attempt.

Former Utah State linebacker Kyler Fackrell made four tackles in 39 defensive snaps for the winless Giants (0-3).

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Here’s how other former local high school and college football standouts from Utah fared in Week 3 of the NFL’s 2020 season.

Kansas City 34, Baltimore 20

Former BYU safety Daniel Sorensen had five tackles as the Chiefs (3-0) pulled away from the Ravens on Monday Night Football.

Former Utah State running back Darwin Thompson averaged 5.5 yards on two carries, and caught a pair of passes from Patrick Mahomes for Kansas City, which is coached by former BYU offensive lineman and graduate assistant Andy Reid.

Green Bay 37, New Orleans 30

BYU all-time leading rusher Jamaal Williams ran for 14 yards, caught a pass for 3 yards, and played 28 snaps to help the Packers improve to 3-0 on the year.

Former Utah safety Marcus Williams made two tackles for the Saints (1-2) while playing all 62 defensive snaps, as well as one on special teams. Taysom Hill started at tight end, catching one pass, and ran for six yards on two carries as a wildcat quarterback. But the former BYU quarterback’s night may be best remembered for a fumble in the fourth quarter, which led to the Packers’ go-ahead drive on a field goal.

Judge Memorial product Kaden Elliss played two snaps at linebacker and 19 on special teams for the Saints.

Tampa Bay 29, Denver 10

Former Utah wide receiver Tim Patrick caught four passes for 43 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown, on 53 offensive snaps in the Broncos’ loss to the Buccaneers.

Garett Bolles, a product of Westlake, Snow College and the University of Utah, played all 63 snaps as the starting left tackle for the Broncos (0-3).

Detroit 26, Arizona 23

Former SUU safety Miles Killebew had a special teams tackle in the Lions’ win over the Cardinals.

Former West Jordan, Snow College and Utah defensive tackle John Penisini had one tackle in 19 snaps for Detroit (1-2).

Former Utah linebacker Kylie Fitts played 22 snaps on special teams for the Cardinals (2-1).

Carolina 21, LA Chargers 16

Jordan High alum and former Utah State center Tyler Larsen played seven snaps on special teams in the Panthers’ win over the Chargers.

Former BYU cornerback Michael Davis had six tackles, including five solo stops on 43 snaps for the Chargers (1-2). Former Utah tackle Sam Tevi played all 78 offensive snaps for LA, as well as two on special teams, where former Orem High safety Alohi Gilman played 17 snaps.

Seattle 38, Dallas 31

Highland High product Bryane Mone tackled Cowboys running back in the end zone for a safety, and added two tackles in Seattle’s win over Dallas.

Former Utah State star Bobby Wagner had nine tackles, including four solo stops, a pass breakup and two quarterback hurries for the Seahawks (3-0), and former Utah and Brighton High linebacker Cody Barton played five snaps on defense and 23 on special teams.

Bingham High alum Dalton Schultz, who played collegiately at Stanford, caught four passes for 48 yards for Dallas (1-2), and former Utah defensive end Bradlee Anae played two snaps on defense and 22 on special teams.

Indianapolis 36, NY Jets 7

Former Utah safety Julian Blackmon, who prepped at Layton, made one solo stop as a Colts starter, playing 41 defensive snaps.

Former Hunter HIgh tight end Noah Togiai, who played collegiately at Oregon State, played 16 offensive snaps with one target, and added six snaps on special teams for the Colts (2-1).

Bingham alum Harvey Langi, who played at BYU and Utah, played 24 special-teams snaps for the Jets (0-3).

New England 36, Las Vegas 20

Former Utah running back Devontae Booker ran for 31 yards on three carries in the Raiders’ loss to the Patriots.

Former Utah State cornerback Nevin Lawson made four tackles while playing 36 defensive snaps for Las Vegas (2-1). Herriman alum Andre James played five special-teams snaps for the Raiders.

Cincinnati 23, Philadelphia 23

Former SUU defensive back LeShaun Sims had two tackles, a pass breakup and an interception on 19 defensive snaps to help the Bengals (0-2-1) to a tie.

Stansbury High product and former Weber State guard Sua Opeta played five snaps on special teams for the Eagles (0-2-1).

Cleveland 34, Washington 20

Former BYU linebacker Sione Takitaki had a team-high seven tackles in 41 snaps as starting Sam linebacker in the Browns’ win over the Football Team.

Former Salem Hills quarterback Porter Gustin started at defensive end and made three tackles on 54 snaps for the Browns (2-1), and former Utah State JoJo Natson had one carry for three yards, one punt return for 11 yards and a 31-yard kickoff return in eight total snaps for the Browns.

Natson suffered a torn ACL and was placed on injured reserve Monday. He finished the season with three punt returns for 25 yards.

Former Utah linebacker Jared Norris played 17 special teams snaps for the Football Team (1-2).

Buffalo 35, LA Rams 32

Former Weber State cornerback Taron Johnson had a career-high 11 tackles, with 10 solo stops and two tackles for loss, on 60 snaps as the Bills (3-0) rolled early, then rallied by the Rams.

Utah product Terrell Burgess had one solo stop on nine defensive snaps for the Rams (2-1).

Chicago 30, Atlanta 26

Former Utah cornerback Jaylon Johnson made four tackles on 66 defensive snaps in the Bears’ win over the Falcons.

Weber High product Patrick Scales, who played at Utah State, played on nine special-teams snaps for Chicago (3-0).

Thursday Night Football

Miami 31, Jacksonville 13

Former BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy had three tackles and two quarterback hurries, including a strip-sack that set up a touchdown in the Dolphins’ win over the Jaguars on Thursday Night Football.

Former Utah safety Eric Rowe made five tackles on 48 snaps for Miami (1-2).

Sean Walker

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