One of the reasons why the San Francisco 49ers paid more than $40 million to Charvarius Ward in the offseason? So the former Kansas City Chiefs cornerback can neutralize the NFC West’s best wide receivers — including who stood across from him on Monday, November 21 in Mexico City.
Just as well Ward and the 49ers linked up to counter De’Andre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals. He let it be known after the 49ers’ 38-10 trouncing of the Cards that he has no respect for “D-Hop,” even giving him a telling nickname after the game.
‘I Don’t Respect His Game’
Ward joined Greg Papa and Tim Ryan following the 49ers demolition of the Cards on KNBR post game. Ward, rewarded with a three-year $40,500,000 deal in March and has since put together a strong first S.F. campaign, wrapped up a team-high 10 tackles with nine solo stops in the romp at Estadio Azteca.
The 49ers newcomer played with a relentless streak in his first meeting against the Cardinals with S.F. But when asked about Hopkins, Ward stayed relentless in explaining his disdain toward the five-time Pro Bowler.
“D Hop, he think he a tough guy. He think he still one of the best receivers in the league and he really not,” Ward said to the hosts. “He was trying to talk noise and talk hard all game. We not scared of him. He thought we was scared of him. He tried to intimidate us, but forget him, we did our thing. We went out there and got a dub and we did our job. He was just yip-yapping all game, but we don’t care about that. We just wanted to win.”
Ward wasn’t through…and dropped a new name to describe Hopkins.
“He was getting locked up. He was doing some dirty things,” Ward said. “He tried to clip me, he grabbed me by the throat. He grabbed my facemask on one play, so I don’t respect his game. That’s steroid boy.”
The latter part is in reference to Hopkins missing the first six games of the 2022 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy before the season began. Hopkins denied any wrongdoing, but still wasn’t eligible to return until the October 20, 2022 game against the New Orleans Saints.
Ward vs. Hopkins Matchup Breakdown
Monday’s tilt was only the second time ever Ward faced Hopkins on the same field. They last met on October 13, 2019 when both were at their last NFL stops.
Ward, then with the Chiefs, snatched eight tackles that day including seven solo stops and picked off a pass. Hopkins, meanwhile, caught nine passes on 12 targets for 55 yards and was kept out of the end zone. As far as the individual matchup, Ward drew Hopkins on two targets — limiting him to one catch for seven yards. But the winner? Hopkins and the Houston Texans 31-24.
This time, Hopkins managed to increase his catch and yards totals facing Ward: Four receptions for 42 yards on five targets per Pro Football Focus. But again, Ward prevented Hopkins from scoring six points on him.
And even during a brief moment Ward had to leave after going down momentarily, Hopkins didn’t fare much better facing Deommodore Lenoir — as the CB2 forced this incompletion on Hopkins:
But Monday was a reminder of why Ward was lured to the Bay Area in the first place. And now, he’s let it be known that he has zero respect for the Cardinals Pro Bowler…which fuels new intrigue for the next time these two teams will meet on January 8 at Levi’s Stadium.