SANTA CLARA — San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith and linebacker Aldon Smith are working back from offseason surgeries, and general manager Trent Baalke expects each to be at full strength and ready for the start of training camp this summer.Running back Kendall Hunter, who underwent surgery late in the season for a torn left Achilles, also plans to be full go by training camp after he recently resumed sprint work. He was injured in a Nov. 25 win at New Orleans. Read More
Frank Gore ran for a pair of second-half touchdowns and the 49ers rebounded from a 17-0 deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons 28-24 in the NFC championship game Sunday, sending San Francisco to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1995.
The top-seeded Falcons (14-4) tried to pull out another season-saving drive at the end, but Matt Ryan's fourth-down pass for Roddy White with 1:13 remaining was knocked down by San Francisco linebacker NaVorro Bowman. Read More
In reaching the NFC Championship Game two years running, the 49ers have had to topple two of the best quarterbacks in recent years.
But if San Francisco is to be Super Bowl-bound for the first time in 18 years, they’ll have to down one more today.
“He fits right in with that group, the elite ones,” 49ers defensive end Justin Smith said of Atlanta’s fifth-year quarterback, Matt Ryan. “And he’s playing awesome football right now.”
His teammates agree. Almost. Read More
Justin Smith, a veteran of 12 NFL seasons, may not be willing to give his left arm in the quest for professional football’s greatest prize. But he’s willing to put a brace on it.
“It’s a love-hate relationship right now,” San Francisco’s premier defensive end said of the brace holding his partially torn left triceps together, as he and the 49ers head into Sunday’s NFC Championship Game in Atlanta.
“But it’s one of those things and it’s doing its job.” Read More
Niners wide receiver Michael Crabtree said after the regular-season finale that he wanted to make up for his lack of production in last year’s playoffs, when he totaled just 28 yards on four catches over two games. 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. 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? Read More
Nobody can dispute the incredible fortune that came the 49ers’ way last Sunday. Not only did they take care of business against the lowly Cardinals in a game that was all but won before kickoff, they saw various other cards fall in the most beneficial of ways.
The Vikes over the Pack? Yeah, you had that in your knockout pool, right? No, you didn’t. As phenomenal as the Adrian Peterson story in Minnesota has been, Green Bay’s midseason resurrection was every bit as impressive. Read More
The 49ers’ defense is that much more stingy with Justin Smith on the field.
Anyone in his own locker room or elsewhere will emphatically say as much. So, perhaps the most important part of San Francisco securing a first-round playoff bye is the chance to get the defensive menace back for its playoff opener. Read More