49ers key matchup No. 2: Vernon Davis vs. Malcolm Jenkins


49ers key matchup No. 2: Vernon Davis vs. Malcolm Jenkins

Editor's note: This is the second part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Saints matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m. (FOX), at the Superdome.

49ers TE Vernon Davis vs. Saints FS Malcolm JenkinsTale of the tape
Davis (85): 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, seventh season, Maryland
Jenkins (27): 6-foot, 204 pounds, fourth season, Ohio StateTight end Vernon Davis reappeared in the 49ers' offense Monday night when he hooked up with quarterback Colin Kaepernick for six receptions, 83 yards and a touchdown."I felt like somebody took the handcuffs off me," Davis said afterward. He had caught just nine passes for 101 yards and no touchdowns in his previous four games combined.One of the major points of emphasis for the New Orleans Saints on Sunday will be to get the handcuffs back on Davis. Or, at least, the Saints will try to prevent a repeat of Davis' dominating performance in the playoffs last season.Davis caught seven passes from Alex Smith for 180 yards and two touchdowns, including several plays in which he beat the man coverage of Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins in critical situations late in the game. Davis' 14-yard scoring catch with :09 remaining provided the winning points in the 49ers' 36-32 victory in the NFC divisional round."I'm not worried about what we did to them last season, during the postseason," Davis said. "It's just another game, pretty much."One of the oddities in last year's meeting was that then-Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams left Jenkins in coverage against Davis when the 49ers had very few other weapons in the passing game.This season, the 49ers enter the game with a healthy and productive group of wide receivers, including Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams and Randy Moss. And Jenkins has graded out as the second-worst starting safety in the NFL in coverage, according to Pro Football Focus' rating system.Another big difference is Kaepernick got most of the practice snaps this week and is expected to begin the game at quarterback. Davis said he has confidence in both of the 49ers' quarterbacks."Colin, he's a leader. He's just like Alex. He's been under Alex's wing for the longest (time), so he's had a chance to learn and figure out this game," Davis said. "I'm very confident in both of them. That's just something that's always been there."Kaepernick will look to nail down the 49ers' starting job for the rest of the season with a performance similar to what he exhibited Monday night against the Bears."He went out and showed the world what he can do," Davis said. "He's gotten so much better since last year. It's like night and day. I take my hat off to him."There should be opportunities for plenty of success against the Saints defense, which ranks last in the league in total defense, last in passing defense and 31st in run defense. The opposition is averaging 321.4 yards passing and 27.3 points per game against the Saints, who have won five of their last six games.

Bills sign two former 49ers

Bills sign two former 49ers

The Buffalo Bills have signed two 49ers free agents within the past two days.

After signing wide receiver Rod Streater on Wednesday, the Bills announced the signing of linebacker Gerald Hodges on Thursday.

The 49ers acquired Hodges in a 2015 trade with the Minnesota Vikings for center Nick Easton and a sixth-round draft pick. Hodges started 12 games last season and ranked second on the team with 92 tackles.

Hodges left the 49ers shorthanded for a late-season game against the Atlanta Falcons when he violated team rules. Then-coach Chip Kelly did not disclose the nature of Hodges infraction. Hodges offered no explanation or apology.

The 49ers entered the game against the high-powered Falcons with just two healthy inside linebackers due to Hodges’ deactivation. Starter Nick Bellore sustained an elbow injury on the third play of the game, and the 49ers were forced to use safeties Antoine Bethea and Vinnie Sunseri, and outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks at various points of the game.

The 49ers showed no interest in re-signing Hodges as a free agent.

Streater, a five-year NFL veteran, saw action in all 16 games last season after being acquired in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs in September. He caught 18 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns.

Harbaugh takes blame for 'premature celebration' during 2011 incident

Harbaugh takes blame for 'premature celebration' during 2011 incident

It was Jim Harbaugh's first season as head coach of the 49ers.

The 4-1 49ers were in Detroit and scored 10 points in the final 5:29 to beat the Lions 25-19.

An excited Harbaugh got a little too agressive during his postgame handshake with Lions coach Jim Schwartz. The two had words for each other and had to be separated.

Six years later, Harbaugh took the blame for what happened and said that he and Schwartz have patched things up.

"I went in too hard on that, too aggressive on the handshake. I've since changed that. Not doing that anymore. Can't blame him. I went in too hard. And you respect him for taking exception. We've talked, and we're good. We're back to friends. There is a protocol in a postgame handshake. I've been there as the winner. I've been there as loser. You just, 'Hey, nice game,' then go celebrate. Premature celebration there, in the wrong," Harbaugh said Tuesday on Barstool Sports' Pardon My Take podcast.

Harbaugh sounds like he's learned his lesson from that incident with Schwartz.

"The postgame handshake isn't the place for anything. If you're bitter, than change the I to an E. Don't get bitter, get better. Nothing's really changing at the postgame handshake. Just professionally shake hands and go on your way," Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh moved on from the 49ers to coach the Michigan Wolverines. Schwartz coached the Lions through the 2013 season and currently serves as the defensive coordinator for the Eagles.