Tag:San Francisco 49ers
Posted on: January 21, 2012 11:24 am
 

Vernon Davis won't be hosting party after all

V. Davis caught the game-winning pass to send San Francisco to the NFC title game (US Presswire).By Josh Katzowitz

Feel free to file this under “made up controversies that make me yawn,” but 49ers tight end Vernon Davis has been criticized by some parties because of his plans to, well, party.

As the New York Daily News writes, Davis made plans to host a post-NFC championship game party at a popular club in San Francisco. The so-called controversy? As the paper writes, “It’s a move that easily could be construed as a sign that Davis and the Niners expect to win.”

“We’ve been getting a little bit of fuss about it and that’s not what it is at all,” a club spokesman said. “It’s not a victory party. It’s a party celebrating the 49ers’ season for making it so far. The party is going on win or lose. Vernon Davis will be there win or lose.”

But now, he won’t be hosting anything. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Davis has withdrawn his name as a host of the party, which is sponsored by a number of high-end car dealerships.

Which, I suppose, is understandable. But it’s not like Davis has morphed into Giants cornerback Antrel Rolle who said this week, “We can’t be beat. We’re extremely confident and we’ve given ourselves the reasons to feel that way. We have to continue to give ourselves those reasons, and we will. We have no doubts.”

All of this overlooks the role Davis has played this season in San Francisco for quarterback Alex Smith. While he’s been overshadowed by New England’s Rob Gronkowski and New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham, Davis has come a long way from the player former coach Mike Singletary sent to the locker room last season after having words with teammate Michael Crabtree.

“From that point on, I was…I just kept my head up and just kept going down the straight path because I knew from there, from the talk that we had, I was going the wrong direction,” Davis said earlier this week. “I changed my life around and I became more of a leader, because in the beginning it was all about me and that’s not right. You don’t want it to be all about you. I find it that, when it’s more about the team and you put the team first, you have more success.”

Said Davis, “He said to me, I can’t remember what he said word for word, but it touched me. It touched me. But I do remember him saying that, ‘Vernon, when you put the team first, then you’ll start to take off.’ So I did that, I did that. Since then, life has been really good.”

For Davis, life has become a party. One that he’s not actually hosting.



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Posted on: January 20, 2012 11:00 pm
 

'91 Giants-49ers playoff game all about hard hits

New York and San Francisco met on January 20, 1991 and Montana and Hostetler both took beatings that day. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

On Sunday, the Giants face the 49ers in the NFC Championship game. Twenty-one years ago, these two teams faced off in the very same conference final, one the Giants would win, 15-13 (you can view the box score here). But as you'll see in the videos below, their brand of tackle football is virtually unrecognizable. There was no such thing at the Tom Brady rule or defenseless receivers or helmet-to-helmet hits, and defensive backs could mug would-be pass-catchers without penalty.

Still, there are plenty of familiar faces: Giants' defensive coordinator Bill Belichick, 49ers backup quarterback Steve Young, and of course Lawrence Taylor, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. And there's even a cameo by a smack-talking Jon Bon Jovi.


"We're like guys from Jersey -- we drink beer out of cans, you know, and Budweiser. And we don't have cheerleaders and we don't have fancy stuff. We just know how to go down and make guys like Joe Montana feel sick." - a prophetic Jon Bon Jovi

Just about every hit in these seven minutes of footage would be illegal today. By our rough estimate, several players would've faced six-figure fines for this one game. And forget about monetary sanctions for Leonard Marshall. If he made that hit in today's NFL, he would've been promptly frog-marched off the field in handcuffs and thrown in the nearest jail without a trial.

Here's Montana talking about said collision:


After watching this we've come to several conclusions, including the most obvious: James Harrison was born 20 years too late.

"My ribs and chest hurt so bad that I didn't know my hand was broken," Montana said of Marshall's hit. "Normally when you get knocked out you can breathe a little bit of air out, but I couldn't even get a breath out. I was thinking, 'Oh god, I'm gonna die here.' Something is seriously wrong."

Brandon Jacobs might be tough by 2012 standards but we're guessing he'd want no part of this 1991 get-together.

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 9:41 am
 

Pick-6 Podcast: Do Ravens, 49ers Have a Chance?

So, who ya got? (Getty Images/US PRESSWIRE)

By Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

It's the conference championships and everybody seems to be firmly on two bandwagons: the Patriots and Giants. The former isn't completely surprising -- New England has Tom Brady and Baltimore's Joe Flacco has yet to prove himself -- the latter is unexpected for two reasons.

No. 1: New York was 9-7 in the regular season. Yes, they've had convincing wins against the Falcons and the Packers in back-to-back weeks ... but this leads us to No. 2: San Francisco just stopped the thought-to-be-unstoppable force: Drew Brees and the Saints' offense.

So what gives? Do Baltimore and San Francisco have a shot to get to Indy for the Super Bowl? We talk about that, Steve Spagnuolo joining the Saints, Rob Lowe breaking NFL news and perhaps most importantly: why Joe Flacco is riding a skateboard days before the AFC Championship game.

Talking starts promptly.

(Did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes? And if you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.)


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Posted on: January 19, 2012 8:37 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2012 8:39 pm
 

Giants RB hopes 49ers' D 'hits me in the head'

Jacobs welcomes a physical game against San Francisco Sunday. (AP)

By Ryan Wilson

Earlier this week, after dispensing with the defending Super Bowl champion Packers, Giants safety Antrel Rolle announced that "we can't be beat." He did qualify it with "I might be a little biased," but the point remains: New York is playing its best football of the season.

But the same can be said of the team they'll face Sunday: the San Francisco 49ers, who manhandled the Saints and took Drew Brees and that explosive offense out of their game in the process. By the time it was over, the 49ers had forced five turnovers including two interceptions.

But the Giants, unlike the Saints, aren't a finesse offense. Just the opposite, in fact. They have a wide receiver who looks like a tight end (Hakeem Nicks), a tight end who looks like an offensive lineman (Jake Ballard), and a bruising running back who -- shocker -- likes to steamroll any defender unlucky enough to get in his way.

So it's hardly surprising that Brandon Jacobs welcomes San Francisco's physical style.

"I wish like hell they'd hit me in the head. ...," Jacobs said Thursday according to NFL.com. "A helmet-to-helmet hit. I want one of those. Because that means they're staying high, you know. They're not going to the ground and trying to make tackles at the shoe strings."

Our initial reaction: be careful what you ask for. But Jacobs, all 6-4, 265 pounds of him, is right. If San Francisco defenders are hitting him high, they'll bounce off him like rain on an umbrella. Being physical got the 49ers to this point and that won't change Sunday. Jacobs remains unimpressed.


After dominating the Green Bay Packers last week, the New York Giants will travel to Candlestick Park to square off against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship. Join NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz as they break down this matchup.

"I really don't care how physical they are," he said. "It's going to be a football game. They're a physical bunch; we're a physical bunch. We're going to be out there playing ball. I'm not afraid of them, I'm not afraid of anybody on their team, I'm not afraid of anybody in their organization. I'm ready to play football."

This is a much easier claim to make now that Mike Singletary is in Minnesota. Interestingly, all five of CBSSports.com's NFL experts are picking the Giants to win.

And lest you think Jacobs is all talk, he did take the high road when asked about Jerry Rice's recent comments calling Jacobs "a little soft."

“I grew up a San Francisco 49ers fan,” Jacobs said according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Alex Raskin. “I loved Jerry Rice. I still love Jerry Rice. If he feels that way, he feels that way; but I bet you he won’t tackle me.”

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Posted on: January 19, 2012 1:32 pm
 

Joe Biden roots on the Giants during SF event

Joe Biden with the gaffe at a SF event (US Presswire).By Josh Katzowitz

When you’re in the midst of running a presidential campaign, it’s near impossible (I imagine) to keep up with the times, dates, places and participants of the various major sporting events that are currently happening around you.

But come on, we’ve got to do better than this. And I’m looking at you, Mr. Vice President.

A few weeks ago, a trio of Republicans completely flubbed a softball question at one of their 10,000 primary election debates. A moderator asked them what they’d be doing on a Saturday night if they weren’t at the debate, and Newt Gingrich said he’d be watching the national championship game in basketball and not football. He quickly corrected his mistake, but Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney piled on saying they would also be watching football. Considering the BCS title game actually was two days later was what made their answers completely wrong.

Now, we get the news from the San Francisco Chronicle that Joe Biden on Wednesday night told a San Francisco crowd that the “Giants were on their way to the Super Bowl.” Naturally, the pro-Democrat crowd booed (in a good-natured way) that pronouncement. Obviously, Biden meant the 49ers (and probably had his mind thinking about the San Francisco Giants), though the original line would have gone over big in New York.

Although this clearly will add to his “Biden is a gaffe machine” reputation, there is good news for the Vice President. According to the White House pool report, “The event raised somewhere between $275,000 and $1.1 million.”

Which is a lot of money to pay to be (sort of) insulted about your favorite sports team.

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Posted on: January 18, 2012 5:20 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2012 12:16 pm
 

Film Room: 49ers vs. Giants NFC CG preview

Can Smith and Harbaugh work some more magic Sunday? (Getty Images)
Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

These teams gave us a very good game back in Week 10 from which we came away truly believing for the first time that San Francisco’s old school style might actually still work in today’s pass-happy NFL. However, not much can be drawn on from that game, as the Giants were without Ahmad Bradshaw, hadn’t yet gelled on the O-line and were still trying to figure things out in their defensive back seven.

New York is healthy now and, as you’ve undoubtedly heard a thousand times, “playing with confidence”. Confidence does not breed success, it stems from success. Simply put, the Giants are a much better football team this time around.


1. Tougher task for Alex Smith
Alex Smith’s fourth quarter heroics last week might have been career-changing, at least pertaining to his public image. But lost in the excitement was the fact that Smith and his teammates struggled somewhat to identify blitzes throughout most of the contest.

And, until the final few minutes, Smith wasn’t comfortable against heavy coverage in the red zone. He caught fire once he started recognizing the one-on-one matchups for Vernon Davis BEFORE the snap (which wasn’t hard against the Saints’ Cover 0’s). Thus, after the snap, he didn’t have to worry about making the right decision – he just had to worry about throwing a good ball.  (To his credit, he did this extremely well.)

This week, Smith will have to worry about both. Given the mediocrity of San Francisco’s offensive tackles, the Giants’ four-man rush should be able to get pressure and force the Niners to keep backs and tight ends in to block (or at least chip). When the Giants do blitz, it’s usually a zone pass-rushing concept involving a linebacker (see Michael Boley’s two sacks at Green Bay).

Thus, all game Smith will be throwing into a more crowded secondary and without quickly defined reads. Unless Joe Staley and Anthony Davis play the game of their lives, Smith will also be throwing under some duress. Post-snap decision-making from a crowded pocket has always been Smith’s greatest weakness.

As he’s done all season, Jim Harbaugh will ameliorate Smith’s deficiencies by giving him simplified quick throws off three-step drops, utilizing play-action and, perhaps, calling throws on first down (where the coverages tend to be more basic). The Niners did this with great success in Week 10. In fact, they did it was great success throughout the season; Smith’s passer rating on first down was 101.6.

But at some point, just like last week, Smith is going to have to make a big-time throw in an obvious passing situation.


After dominating the Green Bay Packers last week, the New York Giants will travel to Candlestick Park to square off against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship. Join NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz as they break down this matchup.

2. Smith’s targets
Smith isn’t the only passing game contributor who faces a tougher challenge this week. Michael Crabtree will likely be shadowed by Corey Webster, an outstanding all-around cover corner. Because Crabtree isn’t fast enough to run away from most corners, he has to beat them with body control and agility. Often, his best routes drag over the middle. When his routes go inside, it’s easy for the Giants to give Webster help (not that he needs much).

Smith’s top target, Vernon Davis, won’t be facing Roman Harper or Malcolm Jenkins in man coverage. Instead, he’ll go against Antrel Rolle, a more athletic cover artist whom the Arizona Cardinals originally drafted in the first round as a cornerback (the Saints drafted Jenkins as a corner, as well, but after a year they admitted what had been apparent from Day One: the stiff-hipped ex-Buckeye was better suited for safety).

And unlike last week, Davis won’t have just one defender to beat, as it’s highly unlikely the Giants will play only man and have Rolle constantly defend the 250-pound tight end one-on-one.

3. Gotta make it Gorey
Expect the run-first Niners to go back to the ground this week. Frank Gore got just 13 carries against New Orleans; he needs at least 22 against New York. If Gore can pound the rock against Perry Fewell’s big nickel defense (two linebackers, two safeties and Rolle playing a utility role as a third safety/linebacker/slot corner), the Giants may decide to go back to their base 4-3.

That would make for a less athletic front seven and present a greater possibility for Davis to draw matchups against linebackers.

Let’s keep it simple and also remember that, regardless of what the defense is doing, running is San Francisco’s bread and butter. They’re built around the power run, with booming and mobile left guard Mike Iupati pulling to the right of Pro Bowl center Jonathan Goodwin and working in unison with lead-blockers Bruce Miller and Justin Peelle (or Delanie Walker if he can get healthy).

That’s the formula that got this team here. And it happens to be the formula that can keep New York’s white hot quarterback off the field.

4. Giants passing game
New York’s rushing attack is nowhere near as dreadful as it was in September, October and November, but against the league’s stingiest run defense, it still can’t be counted on. The Giants will have to ride the golden right arm of Eli Manning. He isn’t facing a porous pass defense like he did a week ago. San Francisco has three corners who can stay with New York’s frighteningly athletic wide receivers.

In the last meeting, Carlos Rogers was sensational defending the slot, making a handful of great jumps on the ball and finishing with two interceptions. Rogers is good enough to handle Victor Cruz.

What really stood out in the first divisional round game was how well the Niner defensive backs – particularly safeties Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner – tackled. Considering the DB’s penchant for forcing fumbles, the Giants may be hesitant to put Hakeem Nicks and Cruz in the catch-and-run situations that they enjoy.

5. San Fran’s defensive line
The 49ers were able to break down the Giants’ pass protection in the last meeting, but again, this Giants line has improved immensely since then.

Still, Aldon Smith, with his explosive first step and startlingly quick hands, is a nightmare matchup for David Diehl on the left side, while Kareem McKenzie will need a little help against the speed of Ahmad Brooks on the right. Then there’s Justin Smith, who makes four or five fantastic penetrative plays a game.

In addition to rushing the passer, the Niners’ front three/four is fast and athletic enough to hunt down screen passes outside the numbers. That’s assuming Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman don’t hunt them down first.

Against this dynamic front seven, the Giants won’t be able to count heavily on Ahmad Bradshaw or ancillary options like Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum. Manning and his wide receivers will have to find ways to make big plays.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all the Championship games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: January 18, 2012 1:49 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2012 2:45 pm
 

Eli Manning sent home Wed with 'stomach bug'

By Will Brinson

The Giants began practicing on Wednesday for Sunday's NFC Championship Game in San Francisco, and did so without quarterback Eli Manning, who was, according to our Giants Rapid Reporter Alex Raskin, limited at practice and then sent home with a stomach illness.

Fortunately for Manning, it doesn't appear to be something that will affect him throughout the week and is instead an illness of the 24-hour variety.

Tom Coughlin is sounded relatively optimistic when discussing the issue.

"Hopefully it's a 24-hour deal and he'll be better tomorrow," Coughlin said via Raskin.

Sending Manning home is a smart move on Coughlin's part, because there's simply no reason to risk him passing the virus/bug/whatever on to the other members of the Giants.



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Posted on: January 17, 2012 11:07 am
 

Super Bowl Odds: Championship Game Previews

A rematch of the 2007 Super Bowl is almost likely at this point. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Earlier this month we took a look at the odds for teams to win the Super Bowl, just before the playoffs began. If you bet on the 49ers (+1200), you're feeling pretty good about life. If you bet on the Packers (+16), well, not so much.

The odds have been recalibrated in advance of the AFC and NFC Championship Games so let's take a look at who's likely (and unlikely) to win the Super Bowl. Plus: hypothetical Super Bowl matchups! All odds courtesy of Sportsbook.com.

Odds to Win the Super Bowl

Team: New England Patriots
Super Bowl Odds: +120
Value of Bet: 4
What Has to Happen: The Pats defense has to show up for at least one more game and Tom Brady needs to keep being the angry, destructive cyborg that he was in the first half against the Broncos. The Patriots are a shockingly high favorite here given that they've got to win two games like everyone else, and given that the Ravens stomped their faces the last time Baltimore came to New England.
Fun Prop to Play This Weekend: Under on the longest touchdown of the game at 47.5. Both the Ravens and the Patriots give up long plays, but if you look at each of their last five games, most shots have been taken from 40 yards in. Only Torrey Smith represents a true "deep threat" on either team.

Team: San Francisco 49ers
Super Bowl Odds: +325
Value of Bet: 2
What Has to Happen: Alex Smith keeps getting his Joe Montana on. The defense has to play well, of course, but roughing up the Giants is different than roughing up the Saints; New Orleans is a finesse team (no offense to Drew Brees and Sean Payton). Once Pierre Thomas was knocked out, they struggled to punch the 49ers in the mouth. The Giants won't have the same problem and are infinitely tougher. Smith successfully orchestrating the offense gives San Francisco a tremendous advantage.
Fun Prop to Play This Weekend: Super Bowl UNDER at 50. You think 50 points are getting scored if we get 49ers vs. Ravens? It's not even a total backfire if the Giants make it: only once since 2005 (last year, in fact) has the Super Bowl gone over 50 points total.

Team: New York Giants
Super Bowl Odds: +325
Value of Bet: 3
What Has to Happen: The secondary needs to keep shutting folks down; they've done a tremendous job improving over the past four weeks or so. Also, Gregg Doyel pointed out that the Giants wanted to get physical with Jermichael Finley during the Packers game. They will need to do something similar with Vernon Davis (and then possibly Rob Gronkowski/Aaron Hernandez) if they plan on winning the Super Bowl. At the very least, they shouldn't leave Vernon in one-on-one coverage.
Fun Prop to Play This Weekend: Giants +4.5 versus Patriots in a hypothetical Super Bowl. Yes, you can bet on this. Crazy right? Already, no one believes in the Giants. Good times! (All future SB matchups listed below.

Team: Baltimore Ravens
Super Bowl Odds: +600
Value of Bet: 1
What Has to Happen: Joe Flacco and Cam Cameron have to get it together for two games and do their jobs more efficiently. Were it not for Jacoby Jones gifting the Ravens a touchdown on Sunday, Flacco might be the goat for a huge upset right now, and Cameron throwing with two minutes remaining and Houston trying to use their timeouts gave the Texans an additional possession. Do that against, say, Brady and Eli, and it'll burn you.
Fun Prop to Play This Weekend: The under on Ray Rice's rushing attempts. I don't even know what it is but I know Cameron will find a way to go under regardless.

Hypothetical Super Bowl Matchups
Patriots (-6.5) vs. 49ers: That's not a surprising line considering how strong the Patriots looked and it would generate a lot of action on each side of the ball. However, if the 49ers look good in taking down the Giants, I'd think this would open up closer to 3 than 7.

Patriots (-4.5) vs. Giants: The Giants would be somewhat surprising underdogs considering their strong run but remember that last time they were 12.5-point dogs (!) against the Patriots. So maybe this more reasonable. Best guess: the Giants would get a LOT of action and push this line down.

Ravens (-2) vs. 49ers: A two-point line means "We have no real idea, but I guess we like the Ravens." The over/under isn't listed but you best believe it's lower than the current line of 50. Defensive matchups like this put a lot of the weight on Flacco and Smith which is why no one knows.

Giants (-1) vs. Ravens: Again, no one knows. I'd personally love the Giants in this situation, because as hot as they've been, this line seems destined to climb. Plus, if you've got two really good defenses, don't you want the team with the elite quarterback? (That's not you, Joe Flacco.)

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com