Last January, the 49ers entered the playoffs with a strong defense and consistent offense. They have neither this January, and it would be a big surprise if they get past a better and strongly motivated Green Bay team at Candlestick Park on Saturday.
The defense was anchored by Justin Smith, but he has a partially torn triceps that has sidelined him for most of the past three games. Early assessments said he would need months of recovery time, but Smith is determined to be in the starting lineup Saturday. Most likely, he won’t last beyond the first series. Read More
David Akers is keeping his job as the starting kicker. For now, anyway.
Jim Harbaugh made the announcement after practice Thursday, two days ahead of the 49ers’ NFC divisional playoff game against the Green Bay Packers at Candlestick Park.
“Suffice it to say we feel confident in David giving us the best chance to win,” Harbaugh said. Read More
The 49ers proved last season was not a fluke in the 2012 season opener by beating the Green Bay Packers 30-22. If they want redemption after the shortcomings in last year’s playoff run under coach Jim Harbaugh, they will need to duplicate that season-opening effort Saturday.
San Francisco has changed dramatically since the Sept. 9 opener, most dramatically at quarterback, where Colin Kaepernick took over following an injury to Alex Smith on Nov. 11. Read More
Even at less than full strength, Justin Smith’s presence on the 49ers’ defensive line is enough to instill plenty of fear in opposing offenses.
Or even his own teammates, for that matter. Running back Frank Gore endured his toughest training camp yet last summer while facing his defensive teammates each day — Smith, in particular.
“I’d take a 75 percent Justin ahead of anybody,” Gore said Wednesday. “At 75-80 percent, he’s better than anybody at his position. ... I’m not scared, haaa! But he’s a beast, man.” Read More
There’s no questioning how badly Billy Cundiff wants another chance in the playoffs after the way last season ended.
Cundiff and the Baltimore Ravens stayed home after he missed a potential tying 32-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the AFC Championship Game and New England went to the Super Bowl last season instead.
These days, Cundiff has no qualms discussing his greatest career disappointment. He hopes to soon make a new impression on the NFL’s postseason — succeeding as San Francisco’s starting kicker. Read More
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Just ask the 49ers.
One year ago, the Niners needed a quarterback making his first NFL playoff start to stand toe-to-toe against an elite, Super Bowl-winning QB in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. Now, the scenario is playing itself out once again.
While the opponent is different, and the name on the back of the jersey for San Francisco’s QB will say Kaepernick instead of Smith, what was true last season remains true today. Read More
SANTA CLARA — David Akers and Billy Cundiff were taking their competition to be San Francisco’s playoff kicker to Candlestick Park on Monday.
Coach Jim Harbaugh said there’s a “good chance” both kickers will be on the roster for Saturday’s NFC divisional playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, though he didn’t specify whether each would be among the 46 active players but did say “that’s conceivable.” Harbaugh indicated one of the two has already earned a lead for the job but wouldn’t say who it is. Read More
SANTA CLARA — Andy Lee’s nerves came on a full day before the 49ers’ playoff opener a year ago, not just leading up to his first punt as is typically the case each game. Tight end Vernon Davis was surprised at his butterflies stepping onto the NFL’s big stage for the first time, too.
Last January, most of the 49ers had never been part of a playoff game and were suiting up for a rookie NFL coach. So much was made of the playoff inexperience at the time. Now, it’s just the opposite. Read More
Did the 49ers catch a break by drawing the 2010 Super Bowl champions for next week’s NFC divisional-round playoff game at Candlestick Park?
With the uncertainty surrounding Justin Smith’s health, some are suggesting that the 49ers are actually better suited to take on the high-flying Green Bay Packers than the ground-gashing Seattle Seahawks. Here’s the argument in a nutshell: Vic Fangio’s run defense is vulnerable with a one-armed Cowboy on the line; thus, Marshawn Lynch’s legs pose a greater threat than Aaron Rodgers’ one-dimensional Packers. Read More
The 49ers can toss their film from the season opener against Green Bay in the trash for as much good as it will do now.
Cedric Benson is gone, and the Packers’ running game is now powered by DuJuan Harris and Ryan Grant — neither of whom was on the roster Dec. 1, let alone back in September.
Randall Cobb, whose 75-yard punt return gave the Packers a fleeting chance late in the 30-22 victory by San Francisco, is now one of Aaron Rodgers’ favorite receivers. Read More