It was as if linebacker Ray Lewis, safety Bernard Pollard and the rest of the Baltimore Ravens’ defense set out to provide a quarter-by-quarter demonstration of how they do business.
About 11 minutes into the AFC Championship Game against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, Lewis drew a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty for a helmet-to-helmet hit that pushed tight end Aaron Hernandez’s chin strap up near his nose. Read More
The 49ers got everything they needed in the regular-season finale Sunday, overcoming a slow start to beat the Arizona Cardinals 27-13 to claim the NFC West Division crown, then earned a first-round bye in the playoffs after the Minnesota Vikings knocked off the Green Bay Packers.
The win by San Francisco made Seattle’s win over the St. Louis Rams moot, as the Niners claimed back-to-back division titles for the first time since they won four straight from 1992-95. Read More
Patrick Willis believes the 49ers can still be a great defense even without All-Pro tackle Justin Smith.The 49ers might have to spend the rest of this season finding out whether or not Willis, their All-Pro linebacker and defensive leader, is correct.Smith is unlikely to play Sunday in the regular-season finale against Arizona because of a partially torn left triceps. The injury could force Smith to miss some or all of the postseason. Read More
The defense of the 49ers has been the backbone of the team’s success for the past two seasons, and Wednesday, it was handsomely rewarded.
San Francisco led all NFL teams with nine players selected to the Pro Bowl team, including six from the league’s second-ranked defense. Read More
Patrick Willis had no chance in December to do his part in stopping Marshawn Lynch and helping keep the 49ers’ impressive streak alive: 36 straight games without allowing a 100-yard rusher.
The All-Pro linebacker missed last season’s second meeting with the division rival Seattle Seahawks, sidelined for three games with an injured right hamstring. Read More
NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis will harass the quarterback. The defense will probably force a turnover. Frank Gore will run for around 100 yards and Alex Smith will protect the ball.
Everybody pretty much knows what to expect from the 49ers by now.
That’s hardly the case with the Buffalo Bills. Read More
The fortunes of professional sports teams are fickle. Take the Bay Area, for example. The Giants are early into what appears to be another decade of success following the disappointment of 2011. The frugal A’s are in the midst of an unlikely playoff push following years of inadequacy. The Warriors, largely hapless since the 2006-07 “We Believe” season, have rebuilt virtually their entire program in the past year. Read More
Despite the 49ers turning away the Minnesota Vikings on Friday and keeping the Vikes from invading the end zone, Vic Fangio was not pleased.
“We were not sharp at all,” said San Francisco’s defensive coordinator of his starting squad, which allowed two field goals along with a 52-yard pass and an offsides penalty on its opening two defensive drives. His players didn’t disagree. Read More
Don’t downplay these 49ers. It’s safe to dream a little bigger.
Sure, simply reaching the playoffs serves as a huge step forward based on their play in recent years, but the 49ers have compiled a 2011 résumé that gives them as many — or more — reasons to reach the Super Bowl as any of their NFC counterparts. Read More
The 49ers had three defensive players and two specialists, placing an NFL-best five on The Associated Press’ All-Pro team Friday.
Linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman and defensive tackle Justin Smith along with punter Andy Lee and record-setting kicker David Akers were voted onto the honor squad. Smith also received votes at defensive end, finish third and missing All-Pro status at a second spot. A panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL votes on the team. Read More