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Why Fred Warner believes 49ers have the ‘right guys in the building’ to overcome injuries (+Week 3 highlights)

San Francisco 49ers’ Fred Warner reacts during the second half of an NFL game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J.
Bill Kostroun, Asociated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Former BYU linebacker Fred Warner has already carved himself out an important role in the San Francisco 49ers defense — earlier this month, he was named a captain for the defending NFC champions.

That leadership responsibility has taken on increased importance within the franchise, as San Francisco is dealing with a growing list of injured players, including several on the defensive side of the ball like defensive end Nick Bosa, the 2019 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and defensive tackle Solomon Thomas.

Warner again showed his ability to step up in this situation Sunday, when he led the 49ers with seven tackles and added an interception and a pass deflection as San Francisco beat the New York Giants, 36-9.

His interception just before halftime also helped build momentum for the visiting 49ers. Just moments after a Jerick McKinnon 10-yard touchdown run gave San Francisco a 13-6 lead with 1:07 until the break, Warner stepped in front of a Daniel Jones pass at the New York 32, and his first pick of the season set up a prime opportunity for the 49ers to build their first double-digit lead of the day.

On the interception, Warner said it was a concept the 49ers had been scheming for, and he credited strong safety Jaquiski Tartt for alerting Warner of the formation in the moments before the snap.

“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 said during a postgame media video conference.

Four plays later, San Francisco kicker Robbie Gould hit his third field goal of the game, a 26-yarder, to put the 49ers up 16-6 at halftime. San Francisco outscored New York 20-3 in the second half.

Warner has a team-leading 27 tackles through three games, which put him in the top 10 in the league. He’s helped the 49ers bounce back from a week 1 loss to earn back-to-back wins, including putting up 11 tackles in a week 2 win over the New York Jets, when the 49ers suffered multiple injuries on both sides of the ball.

“We showed today that we have a lot of depth. 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,” Warner said.

Here’s a look at how each of the Utah ties on active NFL rosters performed during the third week of the 2020 NFL season:

Dolphins 31, Jaguars 13

Miami

  • Eric Rowe, SS, Utah: Started at defensive back and had five tackles, including two solo stops, while playing 48 defensive snaps and two on special teams.
  • Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU: Started at linebacker and forced a fumble on a strip sack of Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew. Van Noy recovered the ball at the Jaguars’ 10, setting up a touchdown four plays later. He also had three tackles, including a solo stop, and two quarterback hurries while playing 52 defensive snaps.

Jacksonville

  • No locals on active roster

Bears 30, Falcons 26

Chicago

  • Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah: Started at cornerback and had four tackles, including three solo stops, while playing 66 defensive snaps and seven on special teams.
  • Patrick Scales, LS, Utah State and Weber High: Played nine special teams snaps.

Atlanta

  • No locals on roster

Bills 35, Rams 32

Buffalo

  • Taron Johnson, CB, Weber State: Started at defensive back and had a career-high 11 tackles, including 10 solo stops and two tackles for loss — one came when the Rams were inside the Bills red zone and helped force a field goal attempt — while playing 60 defensive snaps.
  • Zack Moss, RB, Utah: Not active for game with a toe injury.

Los Angeles

  • Terrell Burgess, S, Utah: Had a solo tackle on a third down short of the line to gain while playing nine defensive snaps and 19 on special teams.

Browns 34, Football Team 20

Cleveland

  • Porter Gustin, DE, Salem Hills High: Started at defensive end and had three tackles, including two solo stops an assisted tackle for loss, while playing 54 defensive snaps and six on special teams.
  • JoJo Natson, WR/Ret., Utah State: Had one carry for 3 yards, a punt return for 11 yards and a kickoff return for 31 yards while playing four offensive snaps and four on special teams.
  • Sione Takitaki, LB, BYU: Started at Sam linebacker and had a team-best seven tackles, including two solo stops and a solo special teams tackle, while playing 41 defensive snaps and eight on special teams.

Washington

  • Jared Norris, LB, Utah: Played 17 special teams snaps.
  • Alex Smith, QB, Utah: Not active for game.

Titans 31, Vikings 30

Tennessee

  • No locals on roster

Minnesota

  • No locals on roster

Patriots 36, Raiders 20

New England

  • No locals on roster

Las Vegas

  • Devontae Booker, RB, Utah: Had three carries for 31 yards, including a 23-yarder and a 3-yard carry on a third-and-2 play that set up a touchdown on the next down, while playing four offensive snaps and eight on special teams.
  • Nevin Lawson, CB, Utah State: Had four tackles, including three solo stops, while playing 36 defensive snaps and 17 on special teams.
  • Andre James, OT, Herriman High: Played five special teams snaps.

49ers 36, Giants 9

San Francisco

  • Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU: Played 21 defensive snaps.
  • Fred Warner, LB, BYU: Started at Mike linebacker and had his first interception of the year, intercepting New York’s Daniel Jones at the Giants’ 32 and returning it 6 yards, setting up a field goal four plays later to end the first half. He added a team-high seven tackles, including two solo stops, and a pass deflection while playing 45 defensive snaps.
  • Mitch Wishnowsky, P, Utah: Did not punt and played 16 special teams snaps while also serving as the team’s kickoff specialist and holder. He also threw an incomplete pass on a botched extra-point attempt.

New York

  • Jackson Barton, OT, Utah and Brighton High: Not active for game.
  • Kyler Fackrell, LB, Utah State: Had four tackles, including two solo stops, while playing 39 defensive snaps and eight on special teams.

Bengals 23, Eagles 23

Cincinnati

  • LeShaun Sims, CB, Southern Utah: Had an interception at the Philadelphia 44 late in the third quarter, setting up a Cincinnati field goal seven plays later. He also had two solo tackles and a pass deflection while playing 19 defensive snaps.

Philadelphia

  • Sua Opeta, OG, Weber State and Stansbury High: Played five special teams snaps.

Steelers 28, Texans 21

Pittsburgh

  • No locals on roster

Houston

  • No locals on roster

Colts 36, Jets 7

Indianapolis

  • Julian Blackmon, S, Utah and Layton High: Started at free safety and had a solo tackle while playing 41 defensive snaps and three on special teams.
  • Noah Togiai, TE, Hunter High: Was targeted once on a pass while playing 16 offensive snaps and six on special teams.

New York

  • Harvey Langi, LB, BYU, Utah and Bingham High: Played 24 special teams snaps.

Panthers 21, Chargers 16

Carolina

  • Tyler Larsen, C, Utah State and Jordan High: Played seven special teams snaps.

Los Angeles

  • Michael Davis, CB, BYU: Started at cornerback and had six tackles, including five solo stops, while playing 43 defensive snaps and 15 on special teams.
  • Alohi Gilman, S, Orem High: Played 17 special teams snaps.
  • Sam Tevi, OT, Utah: Started at left tackle while playing all 78 offensive snaps for the Chargers and two on special teams.
  • Nick Vigil, LB, Utah State and Fremont High: Not active for game.

Lions 26, Cardinals 23

Detroit

  • Miles Killebrew, S, Southern Utah: Had one solo special teams tackle while playing 21 special teams snaps.
  • John Penisini, DL, Utah, Snow College and West Jordan High: Had an assisted tackle while playing 19 defensive snaps.

Arizona

  • Kylie Fitts, OLB, Utah: Played 22 special teams snaps.
  • Leki Fotu, DT, Utah and Herriman High: Not active for game.

Buccaneers 28, Broncos 10

Tampa Bay

  • No locals on roster

Denver

  • Garett Bolles, OT, Utah, Snow College and Westlake High: Started at left tackle while playing all 63 offensive snaps for the Broncos and two on special teams.
  • Tim Patrick, WR, Utah: Started at wide receiver and caught a 7-yard touchdown pass 14 seconds before halftime, the second touchdown of his career. He caught four passes for 43 yards, including a 27-yarder earlier on the drive where he scored, while playing 53 offensive snaps.

Seahawks 38, Cowboys 31

Seattle

  • Cody Barton, LB, Utah and Brighton High: Played five defensive snaps and 23 on special teams.
  • Bryan Mone, DT, Highland High: Tackled Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott in the end zone for a safety in the first quarter, Mone’s first score as a pro, and had two tackles, including a solo stop and a tackle for loss, while playing 25 defensive snaps.
  • Bobby Wagner, MLB, Utah State: Started at middle linebacker and had nine tackles, including four solo stops, a pass deflection and two quarterback hurries — one helped lead to a Dallas turnover — while playing all 82 defensive snaps for the Seahawks and six on special teams.

Dallas

  • Bradlee Anae, DE, Utah: Played two defensive snaps and 22 on special teams.
  • Dalton Schultz, TE, Bingham High: Started at tight end and had four receptions on six targets for 48 yards, including a 28-yarder to convert a third down on a field goal-scoring drive, while playing 55 offensive snaps.

Packers 37, Saints 30

Green Bay

  • Jordan Love, QB, Utah State: Not active for game.
  • Jamaal Williams, RB, BYU: Had six carries for 14 yards — he ran for 4 yards on a third-and-1 play on a field goal-scoring drive — and one reception for 3 yards while playing 19 offensive snaps and nine on special teams.

New Orleans

  • Kaden Elliss, LB, Judge Memorial High: Played two defensive snaps and 19 on special teams.
  • Chase Hansen, LB, Utah and Lone Peak High: Not active for game.
  • Taysom Hill, QB, BYU: Listed as starter at tight end and had two carries for 6 yards and one reception for 1 yard while playing 13 offensive snaps and five on special teams. His fumble with 12:19 to play, which Green Bay recovered at the Packers 43, led to Green Bay scoring the go-ahead field goal, though, and served as a big momentum swing in the game.
  • Marcus Williams, FS, Utah: Started at free safety and had two tackles, including a solo stop, while playing all 62 defensive snaps for the Saints and one on special teams.

Chiefs 34, Ravens 20

Kansas City

  • Marcus Kemp, WR, Layton High: Played 15 special teams snaps.
  • Daniel Sorensen, S, BYU: Had five tackles, including four solo stops, while playing 46 defensive snaps and eight on special teams.
  • Darwin Thompson, RB, Utah State: Had two carries for 11 yards, though he lost a fumble at the Baltimore 21 in the third quarter, and was targeted twice on pass plays while playing six offensive snaps and 11 on special teams.

Baltimore

  • No locals on active roster