Tag:San Francisco 49ers
Posted on: December 19, 2011 10:13 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 11:08 pm

What happens if Steelers-49ers game is suspended?

By Will Brinson

Follow the action live:  Gametracker | What happens if game's suspended? | SF Rapid Reports
                                       Big Ben Active | PIT Rapid Reports | Playoff Race | Expert Picks

As you may have noticed, there's some issue with the power at Candlestick Park in San Francisco during the Steelers-49ers game. (The Niners currently lead 6-0.)

Twice thus far, there's been a delay because of a power outage and there are some obvious concerns about whether or not the game will actually be finished. (Not to mention what that means for your fantasy football team, ammright?) So what would happen if the game were suspended?

According to Mike Tirico on Monday Night Football, the teams and league will attempt to stay at Candlestick as long as possible to finish the game, provided it doesn't become "a public safety hazard."

In that event, the game could be suspended and finished on Tuesday afternoon. After all, unlike baseball, the game can't be "complete" until it's actually complete, meaning the whole game must be played.

"If the game were to get suspended it would resume at some point at the exact point it was suspended," Mike Pereira, former NFL VP of Officiating and now a Fox Sports analyst, tweeted Monday. "Stats and scores would remain."

Pereira also noted that the referee involved can "only temporarily suspend" as it's the NFL's decision as to whether they should suspend until a later date.

The logistics behind suspending the game -- and presumably resuming it on Tuesday -- are a disaster, considering that everyone's already scheduled to play again on Saturday. Not to mention Ben Roethlisberger's already dealing with an injured ankle, and playing in game action two days in a row doesn't really seem plausible the way he's looked on Monday.

From a fantasy perspective, you'd just sit on your points until the game was finished. I have no clue, at this point, how Vegas would handle the game. My best guess is there would be an option to get no action from certain casinos.

That's a tremendous disadvantage for the Steelers, who have to travel back home before playing on Christmas Eve against the Rams.

The 49ers wouldn't exactly be helped, as they've got to play a white-hot Seahawks team in Seattle on Saturday as well.

But if for some reason the game can't continue tonight, it could conceivably be played Tuesday, and given the problems with the power in Candlestick on Monday night, playing it during the day wouldn't exactly be a terrible idea either.

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 8:49 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 10:36 pm

49ers-Steelers delayed (again) by power outage

By Will Brinson

Follow the action live:  Gametracker | What happens if game's suspended? | SF Rapid Reports
                                       Big Ben Active | PIT Rapid Reports | Playoff Race | Expert Picks

UPDATE (9:45 p.m. ET): Another power outage! The power's out again at Candlestick Park with San Francisco leading Pittsburgh 6-0. There's really no telling how long this will last, but hopefully it's no more than 20 minutes or so. Stick here for updates.

And the tweet of the year just rolled across from suspended Steelers linebacker James Harrison:

"If I cant play then can't nobody play... Lights out!"

Just when the world was ready for some football, a transformer near Candlestick Park exploded and shut the power down in San Francisco prior to the Monday night game against the Steelers and delaying the start time of the game.

As former 49er and broadcaster Steve Young noted, "it does feel very lonely" in the belly of Candlestick and the routine of both teams is now officially shook up.

There was no sense of panic and/or disruption with the fans when the power went out, which is good news. We'll update you here as we find out more about the timeframe for the game to begin, but it appears the game should be ready to roll soon.

The lights are back on at Candlestick and the players are on the field, but pregame introductions and the like still need to take place.

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 8:10 pm

Ben Roethlisberger active Monday night

Ben Roethlisberger is offically active for Monday night. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

We mentioned first thing Monday morning that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would start on Monday night in San Francisco. There was some concern that Ben would be a game-time decision throughout the day, but he's officially active for Pittsburgh now.

It was widely assumed that Roethlisberger would start once Baltimore lost to San Diego on Monday; a win on Monday against the 49ers would give the Steelers a serious leg up on chasing the No. 1 seed in the AFC and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

But it remains to be seen if Ben can be effective on the field. Expect the Steelers to play ball control and try to move the rock on the ground in order for Roethlisberger to minimize any hits.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will travel to Candlestick Park to take on the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night. Join James Brown, Dan Marino, Bill Cowher, Shannon Sharpe and Boomer Esiason as they break down this upcoming matchup.

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 10:48 am
Edited on: December 19, 2011 10:50 am

Pick-6 Podcast: Recapping Ravens, previewing MNF

By Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

The Ravens blew it. They had a chance to wrap up the AFC North, and maybe even the No. 1 seed in the conference and all they had to do was beat the Chargers in San Diego. It seemed eminently possible since San Diego had lost six games in a row after starting the season 4-1, and Baltimore was considered one of the NFL's best teams.

Instead, the Ravens' inability to beat lesser opponents on the road haunted them once again and now it could mean the difference between a first-round bye and traveling to Denver as a wild-card team.

So we talk about that, as well as what the win means for the 7-7 Chargers. Do they still have a chance at the postseason? (No way, right? Right?!)

In addition to San Diego's surprising win, Week 15 was chocked full of upsets and we discuss those, too: from Romeo Crennel and the Chiefs upending the previously undefeated Packers, to the Colts finally getting a win (thanks, Tennessee!), to the Panthers thoroughly outplaying the Texans, as well as the ever-evolving playoff landscape

Finally, we preview a suddenly important Steelers-49ers Monday Night Football matchup.

Did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?

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: December 19, 2011 8:46 am

Roethlisberger expected to start vs. 49ers

Baltimore's loss to San Diego means Pittsburgh could end up with the No. 1 seed in the AFC. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

It is, as they say, go time. For the Steelers, that means quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is set to start Monday night versus the 49ers even though he suffered a high-ankle sprain against the Browns 11 days ago. Several teammates suggested as much to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Dale Grdnic Saturday, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette'd Gerry Dulac tweeted similar news Sunday evening.

There was some speculation leading up to the game that Big Ben might sit this week, get healthy, and prepare for the playoffs. Pittsburgh clinched a spot in the postseason with Tennessee's loss to Indianapolis Sunday, and since the Steelers trailed the Ravens in the division, it appeared that their road back to the Super Bowl would have to come on the road as a wild-card team.

But that all changed Sunday night after the Chargers dismantled the Ravens on national television, and in the process changed the balance of power in the AFC North. As of Monday morning, the Steelers were atop the division, and if they beat the 49ers and win their remaining regular-season games against the Rams and Browns, they would also be the AFC's No. 1 seed. That's how good the top of the conference has been this season; a win or a loss could be the difference between a No. 5 seed and a No. 1 seed (and the difference between a first-round bye and facing the Broncos in a wild-card matchup).

The Pittsburgh Steelers will travel to Candlestick Park to take on the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night. Join James Brown, Dan Marino, Bill Cowher, Shannon Sharpe and Boomer Esiason as they break down this upcoming matchup.

Baltimore has beaten Pittsburgh twice this season but their inexplicable road collapses against lesser opponents have been their demise. The Ravens' four losses have come courtesy of the Titans, Jaguars, Seahawks and Chargers -- teams that are a combined 25-31 (and none have a winning record).

Roethlisberger was injured during the second quarter of the Steelers' Week 14 game against the Browns. At the time, he thought his "leg was broken," and spent most of the next week and a half in a walking boot. But Big Ben is known for his resiliency; his eight-year career has been highlighted by amazing plays unparalleled toughness. From a Haloti Ngata paw to the face to what he managed to do a week and a half ago on one good wheel, Roethlisberger's tolerance for pain exceeds that of a normal human.

So it's not surprising that he'll be on the field against San Francisco. Just how effective he will be, however, could determine if the Ravens' fall from grace is a 24-hour thing or if it means, in the words of linebacker Terrell Suggs, "We still can get our first-round bye and play at home but we need a little help now. We have to go the long way. Yeah, it's a reality check. We got our ass kicked, and now it's back to the drawing board."

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Posted on: December 17, 2011 6:46 pm

Pouncey out, Ben questionable for MNF at 49ers

Big Ben limps down the steps to the locker room after Pittsburgh beat Cleveland last Thursday. (AP)

By Will Brinson

The Steelers wrapped up Saturday's practice and there's some good news/bad news for Pittsburgh relating to Monday's game agianst the 49ers. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was limited in practice and is questionable to play Monday in San Francisco. However, center Maurkice Pouncey, dealing with an ankle injury, has been ruled out.

Week 15 Preview

Roethlisberger suffered a high ankle injury last Thursday in a 14-3 win over Cleveland but eventually returned to lead the Steelers to a victory over the Browns.

Much of the talk about whether or not Ben should play revolves around not Monday and/or how he's feeling then, but rather Sunday night.

That's when the Ravens and Chargers play, and if San Diego can win, it sure seems like Roethlisberger becomes more likely to play. After all, a Baltimore loss plus a Pittsburgh win on Monday means the Steelers are tracking for the top seed in the AFC.

A Baltimore win, though, and it's going to ridiculously tough for the Steelers to top the Ravens in the standings.

Of course, Roethlisberger's not exactly known for not playing hurt -- a lot of teammates believe that he plays better when he's injured, and we're not inclined to disagree.

So if you see him suit up on Monday, don't be shocked despite reports that his ankle hurts worse now than it did when he returned to the game against the Browns.

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Posted on: December 14, 2011 1:06 pm

Film Room: 49ers vs. Steelers preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

At 10-3, the San Francisco 49ers are fighting for the No. 2 seed in the NFC. With two losses in their last three outings, questions are starting to lurk. Are the Niners indeed a top-tier club with a powerhouse defense and limited-but-fundamentally sound offense? Or are they, like the ’08 Dolphins or 08 Titans, just another middle-tier team that happened to rack up a lot of wins thanks to the good fortunes of turnover differential? (The Niners are currently first in the league at +21).

San Fran’s recent two losses have been to quality 3-4 defenses (Baltimore and Arizona). The Monday night matchup against Pittsburgh could provide the “moment of truth” for Jim Harbaugh’s club.

1. Niners’ protection woes
The Cardinals defense, led by former Steelers assistant Ray Horton, came after Alex Smith & Co. with fervidity and dimension. Horton’s panoply of blitzes brought rushers from all four linebacking spots and, on a few occasions, the secondary. San Francisco’s offensive line, particularly inside with LG Mike Iupati, C Jonathan Goodwin and RG Adam Snyder, floundered in their identification and reaction speed. Two weeks before, those three linemen, along with backup guard Chilo Rachal, were physically manhandled by Haloti Ngata and the tough Ravens front three.

The Niners spend most of their time in base offensive personnel, which has them line up against base defensive personnel. The Steelers are less aggressive than the Cardinals when it comes to blitzing out of base personnel (most of Dick LeBeau’s blitzes come from nickel and dime packages). And, physically, the Steelers defensive front three is not as powerful as the Ravens’.

That said, the trenches mismatch will still be glaring and hard for the Niners to avoid (see items 2 and 3).

2. Niners run game
Jim Harbaugh’s is a run-oriented offense in the purist form. On first and second downs, the 49ers align almost exclusively in 21 or 22 personnel (i.e. two backs and one or two tight ends). The Steelers, at times, even in their base defense with vociferous nose tackle Casey Hampton, have uncharacteristically struggled in run defense this season. But those struggles have come against zone-blocking teams like the Texans, Ravens or Bengals.

The 49ers are a power-blocking team. Their ground game is predicated on size and force, double-teams and interior pulls (Iupati is very mobile; Snyder is often ineffective off movement but can at least physically execute the plays). Power-blocking is not a good formula when facing the Steelers. Their defensive line cannot be consistently driven, and inside linebackers Lawrence Timmons and James Farrior play too fast for slow developing pull blocks to work.

3. Niners pass game
If the Niners do try to stick with their power ground game, they’ll inevitably face a handful of third-and-long situations. That will compel Harbaugh to spread into three-receiver sets. That’s when LeBeau will take advantage of San Francisco’s interior pass protection issues.

One of the hallmark blitzes in LeBeau’s portfolio is the Fire-X, which is when both inside linebackers crisscross and attack the A-gaps. The Steelers execute Fire-X’s better than any team in football. James Farrior is brilliant in timing his blitzes and setting up pass-rushing lanes for teammates. Lawrence Timmons is more explosive than Acetone Peroxide when firing downhill.

What’s more, Troy Polamalu’s versatility becomes more pronounced in passing situations. That’s problematic given how much trouble Adrian Wilson (a poor man’s Polamalu) gave the Niners last week.

Because rushing yards could be tough to come by, it’s very likely that the Niners will throw on early downs out of base personnel (they had success with this formula against the Giants a few weeks ago). To help Alex Smith thrive in these scenarios, Harbaugh has implemented several changes this season – such as using play-action and specific route designs that allow for one-read throws, eliminating sight adjustment routes to ensure that the receivers and quarterback are always on the same page and being very judicious in calling “shot plays” downfield.

But in most games, there are points when a quarterback and his receivers simply have to make things happen. Smith doesn’t have the dynamic tools to consistently do that against a D like Pittsburgh’s. His primary wide receivers don’t have the speed and quickness to regularly separate outside (especially against a star cornerback like Ike Taylor). And, most concerning, his offensive tackles, particularly lackluster second-year pro Anthony Davis, are not formidable enough in pass protection to stave off LaMarr Woodley or even Jason Worilds.

4. Niners defensive line vs. Steelers O-line
The good news for Harbaugh is his defense is capable of posing nearly just as many problems for the Steelers offense. Obviously, Ben Roethlisberger’s health will have a significant impact on this game. You already know the advantages Big Ben gives the Steelers.

Almost as important is the health of center Maurkice Pouncey. Like Roethlisberger, he’s battling a Grade 1 high ankle sprain. Pouncey could not finish the game against Cleveland but says he’ll play Monday night. That’s huge. Without Pouncey, the Steelers would have to slide Doug Legursky from left guard to center, which poses a substantial drop-off in mobility and strength (even if Legursky has been somewhat of an overachiever the last year).

What’s more, Chris Kemoeatu would be forced back into the lineup at left guard. Kemoeatu has been a top ten player at his position the past few years. But for whatever reason, he’s fallen flat on his face this season – mainly in pass protection, where he’s shown poor lateral agility and a proclivity for holding.

Even at full strength, the Steelers offensive line is average and, thus, incapable of completely neutralizing the 49ers front line over four quarters. Left end Justin Smith is as good as they get. Nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga has blossomed into a plugger who’s mobile enough to make plays anywhere in the box.

Right end Ray McDonald is healthy again and flashing uncommon initial quickness. And on passing downs, Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith are lightning fast, supple edge-rushers with versatile short-area explosiveness. It’s highly doubtful the Steeler tackles can contain them one-on-one.

5. San Francisco’s defensive back seven
Even if Patrick Willis’ hamstring keeps him out a third-straight game, the Niners have enough speed and burst with NaVorro Bowman and strong safety Donte Whitner to answer Pittsburgh’s methodical rushing attack. The key will be whether San Francisco can hold up in pass defense. The Niners like to play zone in base D and man in nickel or dime.

Without Willis, San Francisco’s zones become somewhat vulnerable inside (we saw this on Early Doucet’s 60-yard touchdown last week). In man, Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown and Chris Culliver are all capable of hanging with Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Mike Wallace, but not if Roethlisberger is able to extend the play (Brown is simply too good at making late adjustments to his route, Sanders is similar and Wallace obviously has lethal speed if he can get downfield).

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 15 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: December 13, 2011 8:00 pm

Harbaugh: Frank Gore is 'not 100 percent'

By Will Brinson

Sunday, the 49ers suffered a surprising 21-19 loss to Arizona, and thought it doesn't affect San Francisco's standing in the division, there's a good reason for concern, since running back Frank Gore was limited late in the game.

Gore carried the ball just 10 times Sunday, and only twice after a 37-yard touchdown run put the Niners up 19-7 in the third quarter. On Tuesday, Harbaugh admitted, per our 49ers Rapid Reporter Michael Erier, that not all was right with Gore.

"He’s got some things," Harbaugh said on Tuesday after practice. "He’s not 100 percent."

The good news for the 49ers is that they've already locked up a playoff berth, so Gore will have an opportunity to rest over the next three weeks or so.

The bad news is they still want to try and lock down the No. 2 seed, and if Kendall Hunter only produces a 2.5 yards-per-carry average like he did on Sunday against the Cardinals, winning games down the stretch is going to be tough.

Week 14 Recap

Unlike many of the other top-tier teams in the NFL, the 49ers don't depend solely on their quarterback for success. That's a blessing sometimes, but when the health of the running back is an absolute necessity it can be problematic.

And though Harbaugh didn't say what's bothering Gore, a quick glance at his game log makes it pretty obvious when he started dealing with an injury. After getting white hot during the middle of the season, Gore suffered an ankle injury against the Giants and left with zero yards on six carries.

In the four games since, Gore hasn't crossed the 100-yard mark and only crossed into the end zone once. Given his ineffectiveness, the 49ers standing in the playoff race, his injury and how critical he is to the offense, it's somewhat surprising the team didn't start giving him more rest sooner.

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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