49ers defense clamps down on Cardinals


49ers defense clamps down on Cardinals

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A year ago, Dashon Goldson scuffled with Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Early Doucet and got ejected.On Monday, Goldson used legal methods to take out some punishment on the Arizona Cardinals wide receiver. Goldson flattened Doucet with a textbook hit to break up a fourth-quarter pass."Vince Lombardi would be proud," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said of Goldson's hit.Said Goldson, "That's a compliment. It was a hard, clean hit, and that's something to be proud of. I'm proud of it. And I'm happy for that guy that he's OK and he got back in the game."Doucet had the wind knocked out of him. He remained on the turf for a few moments before leaving under his own power. Last year, Goldson was fined 25,000 for his role in a fight with Doucet, while Doucet received a 10,000 citation.The 49ers dished out a lot of hits Monday, as they held their fourth opponent this season without a touchdown."We are for real," 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers said. "Our thing is just to continue to get better and continue to play week-in and week-out."The 49ers were dominant against the run. The Cardinals gained just 7 yards rushing on nine attempts. It tied the best performance by a 49ers run defense in franchise history. In 1972, the 49ers held the New Orleans Saints to 7 yards, too."It's good," 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith said. "That's part of what makes us good on defense is stopping the run and making them one-dimensional. We started to get back to that tonight."
Cardinals quarterback John Skelton completed 32 of 59 passes for 290 yards. Skelton's passer rating was just 68.6, as Chris Culliver intercepted a pass at the end of the first half. The 49ers also sacked Skelton four times.Outside linebacker Aldon Smith recorded two sacks, which he punctuated with a swing for the fence to pay tribute to the San Francisco Giants' World Series title."We have a great defensive line and they did a great job of putting presure on him and getting him off his spot," 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. "We were able to get some sacks on him and make some big plays on their wideouts."The 49ers held Cardinals All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to five catches for 52 yards. Skelton targeted Fitzgerald with 11 passes."It was not the way we wanted to perform," Fitzgerald said. "On Monday Night Football, you want to perform better. It really was rough."

Reports: Former 49ers wide receiver to visit Bills


Reports: Former 49ers wide receiver to visit Bills

Aquan Boldin is looking for a new football home.

And the former 49ers wide receiver is visiting with the Bills on Monday, according to multiple reports.

Boldin started all 16 games with the Lions last season, recording 67 catches for 584 yards and eight touchdowns.

From 2013 to 2015 with the 49ers, he racked up 237 receptions, 3030 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns.

The three-time Pro Bowler will turn 37 years old in October.

Boldin entered the NFL as the 54th overall pick in the 2003 draft.

Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan


Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan

There is no shortage of blame to go around for the Atlanta Falcons’ collapse in Super Bowl 51.

The Falcons built a 28-3 lead in the middle of the third quarter and let it slip away, ultimately falling to the New England Patriots, 34-28, in overtime.

Matt Ryan voiced one previously undisclosed factor in the collapse this week in an interview with Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, pointing the finger at the new coach of the 49ers.

Kyle Shanahan has been the focus of a lot of the blame, but critique from the league MVP was a new one.

The Falcons quarterback faulted his former offensive coordinator for taking too much time to relay the play calls. Ryan said he did not have enough time to change any of the plays – presumably checking out of called pass plays to run the ball.

Here’s what Ryan told Prisco:

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in. As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

The 49ers can point to mismanagement of the clock for their own Super Bowl heartbreak. The 49ers’ offense had the perfect play call at the perfect time against the Baltimore Ravens late in Super Bowl XLVII.

But with the play clock striking :00, coach Jim Harbaugh was forced to call a timeout from the sideline. A split-second later, the ball was snapped and it appeared the quarterback run would have easily ended up with Colin Kaepernick in the end zone.

Much like after the 49ers’ loss, the Falcons left plenty of room for second-guessing.

Two of Shanahan’s plays calls, which directly led to the collapse, will forever be scrutinized.

The first came with 8:31 remaining in regulation and the Falcons holding a 28-12 lead. On third and 1 from the Atlanta 36, Shanahan did not remain conservative with an expected run play. He swung for the fence.

Receiver Aldrick Robinson, whom the 49ers added this offseason as a free-agent pickup, was breaking free past the Patriots secondary for what could have been a touchdown. But just as Ryan was unloading, New England linebacker Dont’a Hightower hit him and forced the fumble. Running back Devonta Freeman whiffed on blitz pickup, which would have provided Ryan with enough time to target Robinson deep.

Ryan’s explanation does not appear applicable on this play, though. In watching the replay, the Falcons broke the huddle with more than 25 seconds remaining on the play clock and the snap occurred with :15 to spare.

The other questionable sequence came after the Falcons – leading by eight points -- got to the New England 22-yard line with less than five minutes to play. The Falcons lost 1 yard on a run play on first down.

On second down, Ryan was sacked for a 12-yard loss. Before that play, the Falcons broke the huddle with :19 on the play clock. The snap occurred with :04 remaining. The game clock was running, so the Falcons had reason to attempt to burn as much clock as possible.

In the fourth quarter, the Falcons never seemed rushed to get off a play. The closest they came to delay-of-game penalties were when they snapped the ball with :04 on the one play and :03 another time. The majority of their snaps occurred with :10 or more seconds to spare.

If the Falcons were guilty of anything when it came to the play clock, it was that the offense did not waste more time. After New England pulled to within 28-9 late in the third quarter, the Falcons ran only six offensive plays while the game clock was running.

On those six plays, the Falcons snapped the ball with :13, :09, :14, :20, :13 and :04 remaining on the play clock. If they’d snapped the ball with one second remaining each time, they could have shortened the game by 1 minute, 7 seconds. The Patriots scored the game-tying touchdown with :57 remaining in regulation.