49ers can't hold off Cardinals in 21-19 loss


49ers can't hold off Cardinals in 21-19 loss


GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The 49ers were playing to maintain their advantage in the race to be the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffsThe Arizona Cardinals were trying to hold onto their faint playoff hopes.The Cardinals helped their cause with a 21-19 victory Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium, and gave the 49ers their first true shot of adversity with three games remaining in the regular season.The 49ers (10-3) have the same record as the New Orleans Saints behind the unbeaten Green Bay Packers. But the 49ers still hold the advantage for the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs based on their better conference record. The Cardinals (6-7) remain alive in the NFC playoff hunt.It was a football fight out there, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. I thought we were in position to win this football game really at times during the game. We didnt get it done and we are disappointed about that. We look forward to seeing how our teams responds to some adversity. We havent had a lot of it this year.--Cardinals starting quarterback Kevin Kolb was knocked from the game with a head injury in the first quarter, and backup John Skelton played the rest of the way. Three weeks ago, Skelton started against the 49ers and struggled immensely. He completed 6 of 19 passes for 99 yards and three interceptions before getting benched.Skelton got it going against the 49ers this time with a lot of help from Larry Fitzgerald, who caught seven passes for 149 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown. Skelton figured out the 49ers defense, as he completed 19 of 28 passes for 282 yards with three TDs and two interceptions.--Safety Donte Whitner said the 49ers secondary took full responsibility for the loss. But the 49ers offense was atrocious in the second half after Frank Gore had a 37-yard touchdown run on the teams first play of the third quarter.The 49ers only first down in their final six possessions came on a Cardinals personal foul penalty. The 49ers were 3 of 17 (18 percent) on third downs. Three times the 49ers got inside the Cardinals 10-yard line, and three times they settled for field goals.--The 49ers' pass defense got interceptions from safety Dashon Goldson and Tarell Brown, but they also gave up the big play. The Cardinals got on the board on Early Doucet's 60-yard TD reception in the second quarter.--The game's momentum swung on a three-play sequence in the second quarter. After a Kyle Williams 11-yard reception on third down left the 49ers short of the first down, the 49ers sent out their field-goal unit.The 49ers called for a fake field goal, instead of a 50-yard attempt. Holder Andy Lee hit center Jonathan Goodwin (who lines up as a wing on field-goal attempts) on a long pass and a possible touchdown.But Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt threw the challenge flag and referee Alberto Riveron ruled that the challenge was issued before the snap of the ball. Harbaugh said he was watching from the other sideline, and he disputed the ruling.Riveron went to view the Williams play to see if he got both feet in-bounds. But the replay machine malfunctioned, so the play was never reviewed.Kicker David Akers, who made four field goals in the game, then missed from 50 yards. And on the next play, Skelton hit Doucet for the touchdown.--Left tackle Joe Staley sustained a head injury in the first quarter and did not return. Alex Boone stepped in and played well. Staley must be cleared by an independent neurologist before he is allowed to return to practice.--Linebacker Patrick Willis (hamstring) missed his second career start. It is uncertain whether Willis will be available for the 49ers' next game, Monday, Dec. 19, against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

49ers designate two linebackers waived/injured


49ers designate two linebackers waived/injured

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers are expected to replenish their linebacker to help the team get through upcoming practices and their final three exhibition games.

The 49ers on Wednesday created two roster spots to sign replacements, as the team designated linebackers Donavin Newsom and Jayson DiManche as waived/injured.

General manager John Lynch said the designation was a formality for Newsom, who will revert back to the 49ers after clearing waivers. Newsom will remain under contract to the 49ers after going on injured reserve.

“He’s doing better each day,” Lynch said. “We’re going to put him on injured reserve. It will come across the wire procedurally as a waived-injured, but he’s going to be on injured reserve. And talking with our doctors, he got great care up here at Stanford. It’s the best thing for the kid. Give him time to really get right. So, (I) had a good talk with him this morning.”

Newsom, an undrafted rookie from Colorado, sustained a serious concussion on Aug. 8 and was taken by ambulance off the practice field to Stanford Hospital. He spent two nights in the hospital as a precaution.

DiManche was signed last week and participated in seven plays on defense and 15 on special teams before sustaining a hamstring injury in the 49ers’ exhibition opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. Newly signed linebacker Sean Porter sustained a quadriceps injury in the game against the Chiefs and has also not been available to practice.

Von Miller calls 49ers’ Trent Brown 'the best right tackle in the NFL’


Von Miller calls 49ers’ Trent Brown 'the best right tackle in the NFL’

Von Miller has 73.5 sacks to his name over six seasons in the NFL. He's a five-time Prow Bowl linebacker, three-time All-Pro, Super Bowl champion, and Super Bowl MVP. 

Trent Brown has played 21 games in two NFL seasons for the 49ers, 18 of them as starts. Despite his little time in the NFL and lack of honors, the Broncos' defensive star sees San Francisco's young offensive lineman as the best in the game at his position.

“He’s the best right tackle in the National Football League,” Miller said to the San Francisco Chronicle Wednesday after the first of two joint practices with the 49ers. “And he may even be a top-five tackle, period, in the National Football League. There’s not another tackle who’s that tall, that big and can move he way he moves.”

Brown, at 24 years old and standing 6-foot-8 while weighing 355 pounds, was the only offensive lineman invited to Miller's "Pass Rush Summit" at Stanford in June. Miller says he invited Brown so he could gain more knowledge, but also added, "from my point of view, we could get it (more knowledge) from a premier-offensive-tackle point of view.”

The two went up against each other in the trenches Wednesday in Santa Clara. After Brown held his own, Miller poured on the praise, but he made it clear how the young offensive lineman's future is all up to himself. Brown holds the keys to his potential. 

"He’ll be as good as he wants to be," Miller said. "When he’s on, there’s not another tackle in the National Football League that’s as good as him."

Miller also made a bold prediction. "He’s going to have one of the biggest (contracts) for an offensive lineman."

Brown's rookie deal ends after the 2018 season.