49ers show national audience the light

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49ers show national audience the light

SAN FRANCISCO -- The 49ers were determined to show the light to a national audience Monday night.And that's what they might have done at Candlestick Park, as the 49ers played perhaps their most complete game of the season in a memorable 20-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers."We beat a great team on a national stage," 49ers tight end Vernon Davis said.The game will be talked about for years, for reasons that largely had nothing to do with football. Kickoff was delayed 20 minutes due to a power outage when a transformer blew outside the stadium. Play was delayed again in the second quarter when the lights went out a second time.NEWS: Candlestick struck by two blackouts
But that was just a sidelight to game that gave the 49ers another measure of legitimacy -- a victory over a team that has already clinched a playoff berth and was aiming for home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs.
But more than the respect that victory might have given the 49ers, there was something much more tangible at stake."We needed this game for our own needs because we're fighting for that bye," 49ers receiver Kyle Williams said. "We have another team, New Orleans, that's coming after us. The fact it was on national TV was a bonus. But this was a game we just needed to win, period."
The 49ers (11-3) have the same record as the New Orleans Saints in the race for the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs. The 49ers hold the tie-breaker edge due to a better conference record. If the 49ers win their final two games -- at Seattle and St. Louis -- the 49ers will clinch a first-round playoff bye and a home divisional game."Probably the biggest game, I think, home game since I've been here," 49ers quarterback Alex Smith said. "Two talented teams, Monday Night Football, a lot on the line. Both teams still playing for playoff spots and playoff implications, and a lot of respect on the line."The 49ers' defense set the tone on the Steelers' first two possessions when defensive backs Carlos Rogers and Dashon Goldson intercepted quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, playing with a high ankle sprain.Roethlisberger completed 25 of 44 passes for 330 yards. But the 49ers' pass defense made more plays. He threw three interceptions, including Tarell Brown's late-game pick, and he was sacked three times.Rookie Aldon Smith recorded 2.5 sacks, giving him a team rookie record of 13 sacks for the season. Charles Haley recorded 12 sacks in 1986 as a rookie.
"We played a good football team," Roethlisberger said. "It is very frustrating to feel like you down your team, the fans and the coaches. It's tough. I'm not going to make any excuses. I played a bad football game. I turned the ball over. That one is on me."And the 49ers' offense put together two timely touchdown drives in the second half to put the game out of reach."We played good football tonight," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "I'd really like to focus on that -- not the lights, not the locker room before the game."The 49ers settled for two field goals in the second half. But after the Steelers cut the 49ers' lead to 6-3 in the third quarter, the offense responded with a well-timed touchdown drive.Alex Smith engineered a five-play, 79-yard drive that featured a 31-yard pass to Davis, a 27-yard screen pass to Kendall Hunter and a 21-yard throw to Davis.From the 1-yard line, Smith faked an inside handoff to running back Anthony Dixon and threw to a wide-open Davis for the touchdown."You'd love to come away with sevens all the time," Smith said. "But any time you can get a couple down there in a game like this, it really changes the nature of the game. All of a sudden, you put them in a hole and make them one-dimensional."
The 49ers put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter when defensive end Ray McDonald forced a fumble while sharing a sack with Aldon Smith. Justin Smith recovered at the Steelers 17-yard line.Harbaugh took points off the board after Pittsburgh's Lawrence Timmons was penalized for leaping on a David Akers field-goal attempt. Two plays later, Frank Gore scored on a 5-yard run.Alex Smith completed 18 of 31 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown, and he received one Pro Bowl endorsement from his coach."He was just right on the money all night long," Harbaugh said. "Played great. There's no doubt in my mind that he deserves to go to the Pro Bowl. He's had that kind of season."The 49ers' offensive line rebounded with a strong performance after surrendering 18 sacks in their past three games. The 49ers held the opposition without a sack for the fourth time this season."I thought they played a heck of a game," Harbaugh said. "They were really square in pass protection, picked up a lot of pressures. Alex did a nice job of stepping up."Said left tackle Joe Staley, "I think the main factor was the pregame work that everybody did across the whole offensive line."The 49ers managed another strong defensive showing despite playing without linebacker Patrick Willis, who missed his second game with a right hamstring strain. Larry Grant stepped up in Willis' absence and recorded five tackles with four passes defensed."It's a pride thing," Aldon Smith said. "It's a mentality. It's just something that we live by: Stop the run, stop the pass, play good defense."Just call it a lights-out performance.

After signing with Giants, Draughn pens long thank you to 49ers

After signing with Giants, Draughn pens long thank you to 49ers

Shaun Draughn is now a member of the New York Giants, but he won't ever forget his brief stint with the 49ers. The running back posted a long thank you to the organization and its fans on Thursday:

"I want to say thank you to the @49ers for giving my family and I a place to call home, a chance to be apart of an organization with rich history, class and a passion for family and community," Draughn posted on Instagram. "You guys gave me my first EVER NFL start on November 8,2015 and I will cherish that moment and milestone forever.

"Thank you to all the support staff, cooks(man Ima miss those crispies in the morning lol Travis and the fellas) , custodians (my man Joe keep planting those spiritual seeds my brotha), equipment (Doc, Steve, Gilby, and the crew) trainers( Ferg, ryan, Laura) pastor Earl thank you so much for your time and pouring into us spiritually. Coaches(coach Tom Rathman thank you for having a high standard for your players and forcing me to get better at my craft) and to the Niner Faithful you guys are great and very passionate about your team you made this a great experience as well!! To my teammates I love y'all like brothas and thank you for welcoming me in with open arms and making it a pleasure to go to war with y'all no matter the record!!"

Draughn, 29, averaged 3.1 yards per carry over two seasons with the 49ers, totaling 459 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. 

I want to say thank you to the @49ers for giving my family and I a place to call home, a chance to be apart of an organization with rich history, class and a passion for family and community. You guys gave me my first EVER NFL start on November 8,2015 and I will cherish that moment and milestone forever. Thank you to all the support staff, cooks(man Ima miss those crispies in the morning lol Travis and the fellas) , custodians (my man Joe keep planting those spiritual seeds my brotha), equipment (Doc, Steve, Gilby, and the crew) trainers( Ferg, ryan, Laura) pastor Earl thank you so much for your time and pouring into us spiritually. Coaches(coach Tom Rathman thank you for having a high standard for your players and forcing me to get better at my craft) and to the Niner Faithful you guys are great and very passionate about your team you made this a great experience as well!! To my teammates I love y'all like brothas and thank you for welcoming me in with open arms and making it a pleasure to go to war with y'all no matter the record!! To the @nygiants I want to say thank you for allowing me to be apart of such a first class organization!! I am excited to go to work in the quest for #5 and to the Fans I can assure you, you will get my ABSOLUTE best and nothing less, put a stamp on it‼️‼️ thank you God for ALWAYS making a way!! #Proverbs3:5-6 #BigBlue #GMen

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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.