49ers move to 9-1 with 23-7 win over Cardinals


49ers move to 9-1 with 23-7 win over Cardinals


SAN FRANCISCO -- When the 49ers stopped settling for field-goal attempts Sunday, the NFC West leaders ran away with a 23-7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals at Candlestick Park.The 49ers improved to 9-1, the organization's best start since 1997 with their eighth consecutive victory. The 49ers, who face the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night, will have a chance to clinch their first division title since 2002.The 49ers remained one game behind the Green Bay Packers (10-0) in the race for home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs.The 49ers piled up a lot of yards in the first half but had only three field goals to show for it. The 49ers had 249 yards of total offense, but settled for David Akers field goals of 22, 43 and 29 yards.But the 49ers took all drama out of the game in the third quarter when quarterback Alex Smith threw two touchdown passes. Smith finished the game with .Takeaways galore: The 49ers forced five turnovers in the game, as they continue to excel in the takeawaygiveaway category. Linebacker Patrick Willis had an interception and forced a fumble. Donte Whitner recovered a fumble and had an interception, and Dashon Goldson recorded his third interception of the season. Also, NaVorro Bowman recovered a fumbled punt.FG struggles: Akers entered the game with 23 field goals in 25 attempts, but he missed three attempts in the first half. Two of the kicks were blocked, and Akers was also wide right from 49 yards.Williams emerges: Second-year player Kyle Williams took advantage of his chances on Sunday, as he replaced Ted Ginn as the No. 3 receiver. Williams had five catches for 54 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown catch from Smith. Williams has two touchdown catches on the season, and that leads all 49ers wide receivers.Crabtree's best: Miichael Crabtree had a season-best seven catches for 120 yards, including a 38-yard reception on the firstDavis' milestone: Tight end Vernon Davis caught an 18-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to give the 49ers a 23-0 lead. It was Davis' 34th career touchdown to give him the sole lead in franchise history for most touchdowns by a tight end. He had previously been tied with Brent Jones.Gore starts: Running back Frank Gore returned to action after behind held to zero yards and sustaining a right knee injury against the New York Giants. Gore started and carried 24 times for 88 yards before being removed with the 49ers holding a sizable second-half lead.Shortage of fullbacks: Rookie fullback Bruce Miller sustained a concussion in the first half and did not return. So the 49ers used backup tight ends Delanie Walker and Justin Peelle in that role the remainder of the game. Veteran fullback Moran Norris has not suited up since the second week of the season when he sustained a fractured leg. While Norris was out of the lineup, Miller took over and held onto the starting fullback job.Goldson ejected: The game figures to have been costly for Goldson, who was ejected for retaliating in the fourth quarter against Cardinals receiver Early Doucet with a flurry of punches. Goldson is subject to a fine and possible suspension. "We will not make any determinations today on game-related discipline," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.

49ers head coach Shanahan: Lynch going in the right direction

49ers head coach Shanahan: Lynch going in the right direction

SANTA CLARA -- General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan sat down with 49ers pass-rusher Aaron Lynch shortly after assuming their new roles to give him an outline of what was expected.

Aaron Lynch entered the NFL in 2014 as a fifth-round draft pick despite having the talent worthy of a much-earlier selection. There were concerns about his commitment and character.

Lynch showed plenty of promise in his first two seasons. He tied for the club lead both seasons with six and 6.5 sacks, respectively. Last year, Lynch reported to the offseason program 30 pounds overweight. He was suspended four games for violating the league’s policy of substances of abuse. Then, he missed considerable time with an ankle injury. In seven games, Lynch recorded just 1.5 sacks.

John Lynch and Shanahan told Aaron Lynch his past transgressions would not be held against him, but he had to work hard and prove himself. As Lynch enters the final year of his original four-year contract, his spot on the 49ers' 53-man roster is anything but a certainty.

“Basically, everybody on this team, no matter what has happened before you came into the league or when you’ve been in the league, they’re not holding that against you and it’s a new clean slate,” Lynch said. “So I need to do everything I can to make sure I have a clean slate with them.”

Lynch is currently working with the second unit at the “Leo” position on the 49ers’ defensive line, behind Arik Armstead.

“’Leo’ is a lot of damn fun, so, yeah, I like it a lot,” Lynch said. “You get to set the edge and go get the quarterback.”

Lynch said he is in better physical condition than he was a year ago at this time. He said his target playing weight is in the 260-270 range. He said he is currently in the 280s.

“I came in heavy, but I’ve been working my (butt) off to get down to where my coach wants me to get down to, and where I feel I would be best to give everything I can for my team and do what I can for my team,” Lynch said.

While the 49ers did not witness any improvement in Lynch's commitment at the beginning of the offseason, things seem to be turning around. Shanahan said Lynch has missed only one day of the team's voluntary offseason program -- an excused absence to deal with a situation concerning his wife.

“There’s no doubt Aaron’s going in the right direction for us," Shanahan said. "He came in in the offseason, we challenged him hard with just the way we worked and stuff. He hasn’t shied away from any of it. He’s jumped in on all of our stuff.

"So he’s gotten better each day. He’s gotten more in shape each day and I’m seeing it on the field each day.”

Report: Free-agent Kaepernick to meet with Seahawks

Report: Free-agent Kaepernick to meet with Seahawks

Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick reportedly flew to Seattle on Tuesday night and will meet with Seahawks officials on Wednesday.

Kaepernick and Austin Davis, who spent the past three seasons as a reserve quarterback with the Rams, Browns and Broncos, will visit with the Seahawks, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. It will be Kaepernick’s first visit to meet with a team since opting out of his 49ers contract in March to become an unrestricted free agent.

Kaepernick, 29, has likely not been signed for a variety of reasons, including his decision to kneel during the national anthem last season to protest racial inequality in America. His representatives have said Kaepernick will stand for the national anthem this season, as he continues to donate his time and money on programs to assist disadvantaged individuals.

The 49ers have shown no interest in re-signing Kaepernick, opting to add veteran quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley.

Kaepernick, a second-round pick of the 49ers in 2011, played six seasons with the club. Beginning in the middle of the 2012 season, when then-starter Alex Smith originally left the lineup due to a concussion, Kaepernick started 58 games. The 49ers were 28-30 in games in which he started.

In the playoffs, the 49ers posted a 4-2 record with Kaepernick at quarterback, including a trip to Super Bowl XLVII in February 2013.

Kaepernick is coming off his best season since 2013, his first full year as a starter. He completed 59.2 percent of his passes with 16 touchdowns, four interceptions and a passer rating of 90.7. He also rushed for 468 yards.

The Seahawks have three quarterbacks under contract. Russell Wilson is the starter and second-year player Trevone Boykin served as the backup last season. Jake Heaps, whom the Seahawks cut before the start of the 2016 regular season and spent less than a month on the practice squad, was re-signed in May.