Tagged in: NFL

49ers improve 11-2 with road win over Saints

The Saints scored a go-ahead touchdown with 53 seconds remaining, the fourth lead change of the day, and had the 49ers on the ropes with a fourth-and-two with 39 seconds remaining.

But New Orleans missed on two two-point conversions, including one after their final touchdown, and the 49ers kicked the game-winning field goal on the final play.

Jimmy Garoppolo hit George Kittle on for a 39-yard gain on that fourth-and-two play, with C.J. Gardner-Johnson missing a tackle that would have ended the game. Marcus Williams added a facemask penalty at the end of the play. It set up San Francisco in field goal range.

Robbie Gould kicked a 30-yarder as time expired to give the 49ers a 48-46 victory in the game of the season in the NFL.

The teams combined for 94 points and 981 yards. The Saints punted once, threw an incompletion on a fake punt that they thought they should have gotten defensive holding and Alvin Kamara lost a fumble. The 49ers punted three times and Garoppolo threw an interception.

The 49ers, who lost a 20-17 heartbreaker to the Ravens on the final play last week, moved to 11-2. The Saints fell to 10-3.

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Tre’Quan Smith scored on an 18-yard pass from Drew Brees with 53 seconds left in what looked like it was going to be the game-winner, but Garoppolo and Gould had the last say.

Garoppolo finished 26-of-35 for 349 yards with four touchdowns and the interception. Brees went 29-of-40 for 349 yards and five touchdowns.

The 49ers picked up a key victory, in terms of their quest to win the NFC West and, potentially, gain home-field advantage in the playoffs.

The Seattle Seahawks entered the day with a 10-2 record but currently are listed atop the NFC West standings because of their head-to-head victory over the 49ers on Nov. 11.

The 49ers can clinch a playoff spot Sunday night with a Los Angeles Rams loss or tie against Seattle. They can take over the top spot in the NFC West — and best record in the NFC — with a Rams victory.

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NY Jets put C.J Mosley on IR, to have surgery

New York Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley, who signed a record-setting free-agent contract last offseason, is done for the season after playing in only two games.

Mosley, who suffered a severe groin injury in Week 1, was placed on injured reserve Tuesday. He will have surgery to repair what he described as a groin/abdominal issue.

“It gives us a chance to get him back in the spring and get him going in the offseason program,” coach Adam Gase said.

After sitting out four matches following the initial injury, Mosley returned Oct. 21 versus the New England Patriots and aggravated it. At the time, the Jets called it a six-week injury, so they gave him an opportunity to rehab instead putting him on IR.

This will go down as one of the most disappointing moves in recent free-agent history.

The Jets lured Mosley away from the Baltimore Ravens with a five-year, $85 million contract — then a record-setting deal for an inside linebacker. It included a franchise-record $43 million in guarantees.

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They anointed him as the “quarterback” of their defense and expected him to galvanize the unit. Without Mosley, the defense has played well; the Jets are ranked sixth in yards allowed.

Mosley got off to a terrific start, scoring the Jets’ first touchdown of the season on an interception return in the opener. He was dominant in that game, an eventual 17-16 beat to the Buffalo Bills, but injured his groin in the third quarter.

His stat line for the season: two games played, 108 defensive snaps, nine tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery. His 2019 compensation is $19 million. Mosley isn’t going anywhere because his 2020 salary ($6 million) is fully guaranteed. So is $8 million of his $16 million salary in 2021.

The Jets claimed safety Bennett Jackson off waivers from the Ravens in a corresponding move Tuesday.

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Jaguars bench QB Nick Foles, go back to Minshew

Things did not go well for Nick Foles in his third game back from a broken collarbone. The Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback looked more than shaky versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and fans quickly grew restless.

How restless? The home crowd in Jacksonville started pining for former starting QB Garner Minshew, breaking out into “We want Minshew” chants before the second quarter had even reached its halfway point. Fans can be quick to want a change when things are going bad, but in this case it was warranted.

Through just 24 minutes of play, Foles was bad. Not just pretty bad, or sort of bad, but straight-up bad. Foles turned over the ball on the first three Jaguars possessions of the match.

On the first series, after going 48 yards down the field, Foles threw the ball directly to Bucs rookie linebacker Devin White. Foles fumbled the ball on the second possession, and did the same on the third.

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All three turnovers led to points for the Buccaneers.

The Bucs went up 7-0 on a touchdown after the Foles interception. The first fumble was recovered and immediately run in for a touchdown, putting Tampa Bay up 15-0 after a two-point conversion.

The second fumble was recovered by the Bucs, and they marched 63 yards down the field to score their third touchdown of the day. A field goal (which had nothing to do with Foles) put Tampa Bay up 25-0 at the half.

Foles is obviously being given more latitude by head coach Doug Marrone because of his injury and the four-year, $88 million contract he signed in the offseason. However, Foles is in his third game back from the broken collarbone, which should be enough time for him to shake off the rust and stop losing footballs like they’re coated in grease.

Fans can sometimes be unreasonable, but in this case, the “We want Minshew” chants are warranted.

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Saints defeat Falcons to clinch third straight NFC South title

Taysom Hill blocked a punt to set up his 3-yard touchdown catch, later scored on a 30-yard run and the New Orleans Saints clinched their third straight NFC South title by defeating the Atlanta Falcons 26-18 on Thursday night.

With Julio Jones out due to a shoulder injury, the Falcons had too little offence to keep pace with Drew Brees and the Saints. Atlanta recovered two onside kicks in the closing minutes, including one with 1:54 remaining, to make things interesting.

Matt Ryan was sacked by Cameron Jordan on a fourth-down play from the New Orleans 44 with 38 seconds remaining. Ryan was sacked nine times, including four by Jordan.

The Saints (10-2) atoned for their 26-9 home loss to the Falcons on Nov. 10. It was the Saints’ only defeat in their last 10 games. The versatile Hill blocked Ryan Allen’s punt to end Atlanta’s first possession.

The Saints took over at the Falcons 30, and four plays later Hill scored his first touchdown on the short pass from Brees.

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Hill took a direct snap and ran 30 yards for his first rushing touchdown of the season to give New Orleans a 17-6 lead late in the first half.

The disappointing Falcons (3-9) solidified their hold on last place in the division with their second straight home defeat.

With Jones missing a game for the first time since 2016, and Atlanta tight ends Austin Hooper and Luke Stocker held out with injuries, Ryan had to look for new targets.

Ryan threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Russell Gage with less than four minutes remaining. Christian Blake had six catches for 57 yards.

The Saints return home to play San Francisco on Dec. 8. The Falcons play their fifth straight game against an NFC South rival when they face Carolina on Dec. 8. The Falcons defeated the Panthers 29-3 on Nov. 17.

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Ravens center Matt Skura to have season ending surgery

The Baltimore Ravens offense suffered a tough setback Tuesday.

Ravens center Matt Skura, one of the NFL’s best offensive lineman, reportedly will miss the remaining of the 2019 season due to a knee injury suffered in Monday night’s Week 12 road victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

The Ravens will turn to rookie Patrick Mekari in Skura’s absence.

Mekari, a California product, had never played center before taking over Monday night for Skura. He spent training camp mostly playing guard, but sometimes center as well.

Skura’s excellent play is a major reason why the Ravens offensive line is graded No. 1 in pass blocking and No. 4 in run blocking by Pro Football Focus entering Week 13.

The Ravens face their toughest remaining test of the regular season Sunday at home versus the NFC-leading San Francisco 49ers. Baltimore is one game behind the New England Patriots in the race for the AFC’s No. 1 spot but holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over the defending Super Bowl champs as a result of its Week 9 win.

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Skura transformed himself over the offseason and was one of the Ravens’ most dependable players, helping lead the way to the NFL’s best rushing attack. 

He was originally diagnosed with a sprain, but further tests revealed the injury was more serious than thought.

Skura, a fourth-year pro out of Duke, will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season.

Skura’s absence will be the first major injury the offensive line will have to face all year — Bradley Bozeman and Orlando Brown Jr. have yet to miss a snap, and Ronnie Stanley and Marshal Yanda have been consistent all season long. 

Skura is an unheralded member of an offense that averages 35.1 points per match and produces an NFL-best 210.5 yards rushing. He had started 27 straight games at center and totaled the second-most snaps in the NFL (1,812) over the past two seasons.

This season, Skura ranked 14th among centers in ESPN’s pass block win rate. He was also second in the AFC in Pro Bowl voting.

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Eagles release Jordan Matthews, ending WR´s third sting with team

Jordan Matthews’ third stint with the Eagles has come to an end. 

On Monday, the team stated that they have waived Matthews, who signed with the team just two weeks earlier. Matthews, in two matches with the Eagles, caught four passes for 33 yards. He caught three of six targets for 27 yards in Sunday’s 17-9 loss to the visiting Seahawks. 

The Eagles’ second round pick in the 2014 draft, Matthews caught 225 passes for 2,663 yards and 19 touchdowns during his first three seasons in Philadelphia. Matthews spent one season in Buffalo before returning to Philadelphia last season, catching 20 of 28 targets for 300 yards and two scores in 14 matches.

He started this season with the 49ers before being released by the team for the third time in October.  Matthews was signed to help the Eagles deal with their injuries at the receiver position. Alshon Jeffrey has missed three games this season due to injury, while fellow wideout Nelson Agholor missed Sunday’s game with a knee injury.

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On Monday, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said both players are “trending in the right direction” with regard to their status for this Sunday’s game versus the Dolphins. 

Pederson also confirmed on Monday that quarterback Carson Wentz sustained a finger injury in his right hand during Sunday’s loss.

Pederson does not expect Wentz to miss any practice time leading up to Sunday’s game.

Pederson also addressed the recent play of his quarterback, who threw a pair of interceptions in Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks.  “There are times when it’s just a matter of setting your feet as a quarterback and just delivering a short throw, or getting your eyes on target a lot sooner than you do,” Pederson said, via Alexis Chassen of SB Nation.

“He’s such a great thrower of the ball down the field, and these are the things that we continue to work on with him and we have to make sure Miles is in the right spot, too.´´

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49ers overcome 16-point deficit to defeat Cardinals

Banged up and shorthanded, the 49ers rallied back from a 16-point first-quarter deficit Sunday to defeat a hot Cardinals start for a 36-26 Week 11 win.

Jimmy Garoppolo once again enjoyed success in the passing game versus Arizona, but, as he did in San Francisco’s first loss last week, suffered costly turnovers.

Without the likes of Joe Staley, George Kittle, Ronald Blair, D.J. Jones, Robbie Gould and Matt Breida, the 49ers (9-1) limped into Sunday’s matchup coming off a heartbreaking defeat on Monday night.

Two weeks ago, Kyle Murray and his then newly-acquired running back Kenyan Drake picked apart the 49ers defense.

Ahkello Witherspoon made his return to game action for the first time since Week 3. Kyle Shanahan said that Witherspoon would get his starting job back from Emmanuel Moseley once healthy enough to take on a full week of practice. The 49ers’ first drive on defense featured Moseley starting over Witherspoon.

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Dwelley had a great game Sunday, with the absence of Pro Bowl tight end Kittle. Dwelley is not on the same level as Kittle, but there was one similarity: Touchdown receptions called back due to penalties.

Down 16-10, the 49ers got the ball to start the third quarter. Garoppolo found Dwelley to end a six-play, 84-yard drive and the 49ers had suddenly taken a 17-16 lead after half time.

After the thrilling come-from-behind victory, Shanahan discussed how he felt about this game, and how it felt similar to last weeks loss to Seattle.

“I mean, a lot of ups and downs. There were definitely some good things and then there were some really bad things. It actually reminded me a lot of Monday night, where there were some things where we got really excited about, and then it felt like we blew it a number of times, to where we get crushed. The guys are just resilient, just kept coming, and we were able to finish it off the right way, unlike last week. Two similar games like that, by no means was it perfect, but I was really proud of the guys for how they just kept fighting and found a way to get it done.”

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Colin Kaepernick to workout Saturday, NFL invites teams

NFL teams were on Tuesday invited to join a private workout by Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco quarterback who ignited controversy by kneeling during the US national anthem to protest in opposition to racial injustice.

Kaepernick’s protests triggered a political firestorm in 2017 — after the quarterback had left the league — when US President Donald Trump described players who knelt during the US anthem as “sons of bitches” who should be sacked.

He has not played since opting out of his 49ers contract at the end of the 2016-2017 season and has been repeatedly ignored by teams in the years since.

In 2017 he filed a grievance versust the NFL alleging he was being unfairly denied employment, a case that was settled in February.

He has continued to train in the hope of being able to keep his readiness to play and the NFL-arranged workout

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“I’m just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday,” Kaepernick wrote.

“I’ve been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday.”

The workout will take place at an undisclosed location in Atlanta. Clubs that don’t attend in person will have access to video of the session. The event will be closed to media.

Kaepernick, who led the 49ers to the 2013 Super Bowl, played his last match on January 1, 2017, in the 49ers’ loss to the Seattle Seahawks. During that season, in which the 49ers were 2-14, Kaepernick threw 16 touchdowns and had four interceptions. He rushed for 468 yards on 69 attempts. He opted out of his contract after the season and has been a free agent since.

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49ers fall to Seahawks

Despite a spirited, fourth-quarter comeback and a wild overtime period, the San Francisco 49ers experienced their first loss of the season Monday night at Levi’s Stadium, a 27-24 overtime beat at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks and quarterback Russell Wilson.

And with that, the 1972 Miami Dolphins could celebrate again, as they still the last NFL team to win a Super Bowl with a perfect record.
With the defeat, the Niners became the final team to lose a game this season, dropping to 8-1. They also became just the third team to win its first eight games and lose its first one in overtime in the Super Bowl era, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

“You’re always disappointed when you don’t win, especially when we felt we had a number of chances,” Shanahan said. “I was very proud of our guys. I thought we competed very hard. Guys left it all out there. I know guys are hurting right now. I thought all three phases played hard. I thought our defense played unbelievable. I thought the offense played hard as they could but made way too many mistakes to be able to pull out a win in that game.”

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On a night when the Niners turned the ball over three times and allowed five sacks and 10 quarterback hits, they still had their chances to win the game. None was more tailor-made for a storybook ending than kicker Chase McLaughlin’s 47-yard field goal attempt in overtime.

More than the rare defensive miscue, the Niners’ offense struggled to take care of the ball and protect quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

San Francisco entered the game without tight end George Kittle(knee/ankle), and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders departed in the second quarter with a rib injury that will require an MRI on Tuesday morning.

More than maintaining an undefeated record, a win Monday would have put the Niners firmly in control of the NFC West division. Instead, Seattle now sits just one game back in the loss column and holds the early tiebreaker.

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Lions QB Matthew Stafford out with broken bones in back

Matthew Stafford’s streak of consecutive starts came to an end, with broken bones in his back sidelining the Detroit Lions’ quarterback for Sunday’s game versus the Bears in Chicago.

Doctors will not allow Stafford to play, despite the fact that he was practicing and throwing 60-yard passes on Friday. He is now contemplated week-to-week with the back injury, with one source telling ESPN that he could be out “this week or three weeks.” Jeff Driskel will start Sunday in his place.

The injury brings an end to Stafford’s impressive streak of 136 consecutive regular-season starts, the sixth longest for a quarterback in NFL history. The last time someone other than Stafford started at quarterback for the Lions was Shaun Hill in Week 17 of the 2010 season.

Stafford’s injury dates back to last season, but he has been playing through the pain. Doctors insisted on further testing that revealed the extent of the damage in his back. When asked about the injury on Wednesday, the quarterback said he was “fine.” He was listed as questionable on the injury report and practiced every day on a limited basis this week.

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Stafford is fourth in the NFL with 2,499 passing yards. Driskel started five games for Cincinnati last season, where he completed 59.7 percent of his passes for six touchdowns and two interceptions.

Stafford, who also has had a hip injury, is no stranger to back issues. Last season, he played through the fracture of one of the bony protrusions that extend from each vertebrae. This injury is not, he said last week, related to that, and he was planning to start yet another game. Only Philip Rivers, with 218, has more consecutive starts among active quarterbacks, and the streak is a matter of pride and competitiveness. 

Signed by the Lions in September, Driskel started five games for the Cincinnati Bengals last season, completing 59.7 percent of his passes and throwing for six touchdowns.

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