49ers, not Romo, experience late-game meltdown


49ers, not Romo, experience late-game meltdown

Follow @MaioccoCSN
Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, he of the fourth-quarter meltdown in the Cowboys' season-opening loss, made amends with an incredible comeback on Sunday.

The 49ers blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead, and Romo had a fourth quarter and overtime for the ages in the Cowboys' 27-24 victory on Sunday at Candlestick Park.Romo's remarkable performance came after he sustained a fractured rib early in the game. He sat out most of the third quarter. But in the fourth quarter and overtime, Romo torched the 49ers' defense. He completed 12 of 15 passes for 201 yards in the fourth quarter and overtime.

"He made some really good plays there at the end," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "So did their receivers. So did their team -- made some big plays."Romo finished with 345 yards and two touchdowns on 20-of-33 passing, as the Cowboys (1-1) rebounded from squandering a 14-point fourth-quarter lead to the New York Jets a week earlier.
"As a secondary and a defensive unit, we have to go back to the drawing board and understand our technique and our responsibilities," 49ers strong safety Donte Whitner said. "Until we do that, we'll continue to give up big plays."On the decisive play of the game, Whitner bit hard on a play-action fake, allowing receiver Jesse Holley to get behind him. Holley's 77-yard reception set up Dan Bailey's 19-yard field goal to end the game after the 49ers stalled after receiving the overtime kickoff.
"He sold it (the play-action fake) well, along with the tight ends (Martellus Bennett and Jason Witten)," Whitner said. "They sold it really, really well. And he got wide open."Holley originally signed with the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 2007. Prior to his three-catch, 96-yard performance, he had never caught a pass in an NFL regular-season game. He was pressed into action because of a thigh injury that kept Dez Bryant out of the game.
Holley might have scored the game-ending touchdown if he did not hold the ball aloft in a premature celebration at the 5-yard line. That gave Whitner the opportunity to make the tackle in the field of play.
"I wanted to strip the football from him," Whitner said. "That's what he's expected to do. That's what offensive guys do: They get the ball and then they celebrate. So next time, hopefully, we see them in the playoffs he'll have nothing to celebrate about."The Cowboys rolled up 472 yards of total offense in the game.After the 49ers (1-1) got out to a 14-0 lead, cornerback Tramaine Brock fell down in coverage against Miles Austin, allowing him to score on a 53-yard catch and run. Austin also scored on pass plays of 5 and 25 yards against the coverage of free safety Madieu Williams. Austin finished with nine catches for 143 yards and three touchdowns."We're always going to look to play better," Harbaugh said. "I'm proud of our guys. There were spots where the good majority of the time we played well enough to win. We played well. But not well enough to win the game, so that's really about as much as there is to say about it."

Report: 49ers free agent ILB signing with rival Seahawks

Report: 49ers free agent ILB signing with rival Seahawks

Michael Wilhoite has spent his whole five-year NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers.

But now the free agent inside linebacker is reportedly switching sides in the NFC West rivalry. Wilhoite is set to sign with the Seattle Seahawks, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. 

Terms of the deal are unknown at this time. 

Wilhoite, 30, played in all 16 games last season for the 49ers, starting in only six. In 2016 he recorded 55 tackles, 30 less than 2015 in four less games, and forced one fumble. 

After earning a promotion from the 49ers' practice squad in 2012, Wilhoite's career in the Bay Area comes to an end with 268 tackles and three interceptions in 65 games. 

NFL owners mull cutting regular-season OT to 10 minutes

NFL owners mull cutting regular-season OT to 10 minutes

NEW YORK -- NFL owners will consider proposals next week to cut regular-season overtime from 15 minutes to 10; eliminate players leaping over the line on kick plays; and expansion of coaches' challenges and what can be reviewed by officials.

In what promises to be a busy annual meeting next week in Phoenix that will include discussing the Raiders' potential relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas, the 32 owners also will vote on changing the mechanics on replay reviews and other items intended to reduce downtime during games.

The Eagles proposed four rules changes, including abolishing the leaping techniques that league football operations director Troy Vincent said Thursday "don't belong in the game."

Seattle and Buffalo co-authored a proposal allowing a coach to challenge any officiating decision, whether a foul is called or not.

"That is a significant change to our current replay rule and it is something that will be on the floor and will be debated next week," NFL officiating chief Dean Blandino said.

Another major change would be the reduction of overtime in-season; the extra period in the playoffs would remain at 15 minutes. The powerful competition committee, of which Vincent and Blandino are members, believed it's a player safety issue, noting that number of snaps for games going to OT - especially deep into the overtime - is excessive. Especially if a team has a quick turnaround.

"We don't know where a team is going to be playing the next week, it could be four days later," said committee chairman Rich McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons. "We felt we should put an end to it. We don't think it will lead to more ties. Could it? It could, but we are not concerned with that."

As for changing the format of overtime to ensure both teams always get a possession - a popular topic after how the Super Bowl ended - Blandino said the league's wants to keep the element of sudden death in the extra period.

The "leaper rule" has taken some priority among competition committee members, the players' union and coaches. Vincent said coaches have begun scheming how to defense it, which can "create a real safety issue."

"It is really in the best interest of the game" to outlaw leaping on kicks," Vincent added.

McKay noted that the NCAA is in the process of passing a similar ban on the technique.

During the meetings that run from Sunday to Wednesday, the teams will be shown plays the competition committee believes should result in suspensions or ejections. Game officials already have had the leeway to eject players, but it rarely has happened; there were three in 2016.

"They don't happen very often, let's give the players credit," McKay said. "We have 40,000 plays in a year. We'll show a tape that will have four or five plays that would warrant suspension. This is not a widespread situation."

Added Vincent, a former NFL defensive back: "When you see the plays, they are catastrophic. We had two players who did not return for the season. They are high-impact plays that belong out of the game. It will be a real point of emphasis this season."