SANTA CLARA — Jake Moody’s performance in the 49ers' 21-20 preseason win over the Denver Broncos at Levi's Stadium wasn’t perfect, but it had a perfect ending.
The third-round pick (No. 99 overall) of the 2023 NFL Draft had a challenging preseason debut in San Francisco's 34-7 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders with two brutal missed attempts. Moody got his chance to get the bad taste out of his mouth Saturday evening with a game-winning, walk-off score.
The rookie started the evening with a successful 20-yard chip shot, but that didn’t guarantee everything would go according to plan. The next time Moody ran out on to the field in the third quarter for an extra-point attempt, the ball swung wide right.
“It wasn’t a great hit,” Moody said after the game. “I wouldn’t say any of them were that clean, honestly. The last one was about as close as I’ve gotten to a clean ball. It’s just a learning curve. I want to make the practices translate to the field.”
Moody made his last two attempts, with the final kick being the game-winner as the clock expired. It came at the perfect time to seal a victory and help “wash away” the missed extra-point attempt from earlier in the game.
“That was my first walk-off game-winner I ever hit,” Moody said. “I had one at Michigan with 13 seconds left, so technically they could have come back and scored.”
San Francisco 49ers
Long snapper Taybor Pepper admitted after the game that his snap on the first field-goal attempt was “in the dirt.” Punter and holder Mitch Wishnowsky did his best to get the ball as close to upright as possible for Moody to make the kick.
“When I saw Mitch handling it before I had to block the D-line, I didn’t know if he was going to kick it or not,” Pepper told NBC Sports Bay Area. “But he planted and made it through, and that’s huge for him. That was a reminder to him that even guys like Mitch and I mess up, and it’s about how you respond.”
The imperfect snap might have been just what the group needed to get out of their system during the preseason in order to work out the kinks in their process. Moody referred to it as a wake-up call in the middle of the play.
“There’s an extra aspect of focus with it,” Moody said. “Like, ‘Oh crap. I really got to try to get under this one,’ because it was still kind of on the ground. Luckily, I was able to punch it through. Mitch did a great job of getting it up. It happens. I don’t expect perfection every time, but [Taybor] is just about as perfect as you can get as a snapper.”
The group has one more preseason contest to smooth out their routine, but it looks like they are already improving.