Big brother's Ravens beat up on little brother's 49ers


Big brother's Ravens beat up on little brother's 49ers

BALTIMORE -- The 49ers' eight-game win streak came to an unceremonious end Thursday night to the Baltimore Ravens.And the ultra-competitive 49ers coach, Jim Harbaugh, was transformed into a gracious loser.Big brother John's Ravens pummeled the 49ers, 16-6, on Thanksgiving night to win the NFL's first encounter that matched brothers as head coaches.The Ravens sacked quarterback Alex Smith nine times and forced an intentional grounding in a game in which the 49ers were outschemed and, simply, outplayed."There's a saying that 'As iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another,'" Jim Harbaugh said. "And let's say my brother John is the sharpest iron I've ever encountered.
"This game was about the players. It was highly competitive and it didn't go our way. We're disappointed about it. But our team has steel in our spine, and this will make us stronger for our ultimate goal."The 49ers (9-2) lost for the first time since a Week 2 defeat to the Dallas Cowboys. And they will have to wait at least another week to clinch the NFC West title."To the 49ers, I just can't say enough," John Harbaugh said. "The job that he's done building that football team. That's a good football team. When you try to figure out a way to play those guys and beat those guys the way they're built, it's pretty hard."It didn't look so hard, as the Ravens dominated key areas on both sides of the ball.Smith completed 15 of 24 passes for 140 yards and one interception for a season-low passer rating of 61.1. He was sacked nine times for minus-44 yards. And running back Frank Gore managed just 39 yards rushing on 14 attempts.
Coincidence or not, the 49ers offense struggled as they reverted back mostly to their lineup of the first two-and-a-half games of the season when Chilo Rachal played right guard and Moran Norris was at fullback. Guard Adam Snyder sustained a hamstring strain that knocked him out of action in the first half. And rookie fullback Bruce Miller was not active due to a concussion he sustained Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.The Ravens (8-3) were playing without future Hall-of-Fame linebacker Ray Lewis, who missed the game with a toe injury. But it didn't seem to matter. Rush linebacker Terrell Suggs recorded three sacks and defensive tackle Cory Redding added 2.5 to lead a defense that limited the 49ers to 170 total yards.
The 49ers converted just two of 12 third-down opportunities, and they never drove into the red zone. The deepest finishing point of a 49ers drive was the Baltimore 27-yard line. David Akers made field goals of 45 and 52 yards to account for the only 49ers points."First and second downs, we weren't very good," Alex Smith said. "And on third downs, we were worse."Meanwhile, the 49ers' defense wasn't so hot on third downs, either.Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio decided to play coverage, in much the same fashion as the 49ers had success Sunday against Cardinals quarterbacks John Skelton and Richard Bartel.Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco made the 49ers pay the price for their inability to record a sack -- or much pressure.Given ample time to throw, Flacco converted all six of his second-half pass attempts on third downs. The Ravens finally broke into the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter when Flacco tossed an 8-yard scoring pass to tight end Dennis Pitta.The 49ers' best offensive and defensive plays on this night never happened.Smith hit receiver Ted Ginn on an apparent 75-yard touchdown early in the second quarter. But the play was wiped out when running back Frank Gore was called for a chop block on blitzing safety Bernard Pollard.Gore's portion of the play, a cut block, was legal. But what drew the penalty was when Rachal got his hands on Pollard after Gore made the block. That high-low action is illegal, and a call that Jim Harbaugh did not dispute."It certainly was a chop block and a good call," Harbaugh said. "You had one guy going low and then Chilo put his hands on the defender, which turned into a chop block. (That) took away a big play and that was unfortunate."Another big play occurred on the next series when cornerback Tarell Brown appeared to intercept a deep pass intended for rookie Torrey Smith. But Brown, instead, was called for a 50-yard pass interference penalty.The Ravens converted that huge chunk of yardage into a field goal for a 6-3 lead.Before returning home with his team late Thursday, a clearly disappointed Harbaugh spoke with his parents, Jack and Jackie, outside the 49ers locker room for several minutes."I think it will harden up our club," Jim Harbaugh said. "I know our guys to be a resilient, tough bunch. And I think it will make us stronger even more."Said 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis, "Tonight, I don't see it as anything bad. We lost tonight. But I don't think it's anything detrimental. It only breaks us down to build us up stronger for what we have ahead of down the road. I feel like we're a good football team."Who knows, maybe we'll get to see them again this season."

Barkley continues work with personal coach of Brady, Ryan

Barkley continues work with personal coach of Brady, Ryan

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan spent last offseason working with Tom House and Adam Dedeaux on his throwing mechanics.

Ryan went on to set career-bests in completion percentage (69.9), yards passing (4,944), touchdowns (38), interceptions (7) and passer rating (117.1).

New 49ers quarterback Matt Barkley worked with House and Dedeaux for the fourth offseason in Southern California before reporting to Santa Clara for the team’s offseason program.

“Kyle (Shanhan) is on board with what House and those guys are doing – I think, really, because of the year Matt Ryan had,” Barkley said on “The 49ers Insider Podcast” on NBC Sports Bay Area.

“He’s a believer in that. He saw the benefits of what Matt did with some of his drops and the timing on routes, how he changed his feet on some things. So we’re kind of sticking with that plan. Everyone is a little different, but for the most part we’re all on the same page when it comes to what our drops are looking like, our footwork and how the ball is coming out.”

House is a former major league pitcher and pitching coach who founded the 3DQB training facility in Los Angeles. Dedeaux pitched at USC and is the grandson of USC baseball coaching legend Rod Dedeaux. Former NFL quarterback John Beck is a motion mechanics instructor.

Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Alex Smith and Carson Palmer are among the NFL quarterbacks who have worked with 3DQB.

“I believe in those guys and what they’re doing,” Barkley said. “They’re at the top of their game, working with Brady and a bunch of other guys. They’ve helped me.

“He won’t change your throwing motion or really tweak how the ball comes out, but he’s going to try to maximize velocity and ground force production and torque -- a lot of sports science terms. But, really, just maximizing efficiency with your motion and making sure you’re sequencing is right.”

Barkley had never played for Shanahan before signing a two-year contract with the 49ers on the first day of free agency. But there are two obvious connections. Barkley’s offensive coordinator last season with the Chicago Bears was Dowell Loggains, Shanahan’s quarterbacks coach in 2014 when Shanahan was the Cleveland Browns’ offensive coordinator. The other connection is House.

"It’s kind of funny, he worked with Atlanta’s staff all of last year, helped Matt Ryan, kind of build his base from the ground up and helped him a lot and he had an MVP year," Barkley said of House.

"There may have been talks down the pipeline, who knows. I don’t think that was the deciding factor by any means, but it never hurts.”

John Lynch hires new 49ers director of pro personnel

John Lynch hires new 49ers director of pro personnel

General manager John Lynch made his third high-profile addition to his personnel department on Friday with the announcement of Ran Carthon as director of pro personnel.

Carthon assumes the position that Mike Williams held with the 49ers through the draft. Williams worked 14 seasons in the 49ers’ scouting department, including the final four as director of pro personnel. Assistant director of pro personnel Quentus Cumby was also fired after the draft.

"We want to welcome Ran Carthon and his family to the 49ers," Lynch said in a statement. “Ran has a clear vision for how he plans to run our pro personnel department, and was excited about the opportunity to blend his approach with ours. Having previously directed his own pro department, we expect Ran to hit the ground running and help us build the strongest roster possible.”

Carthon spent the previous five seasons with the Rams organization in the same position he now holds with the 49ers. The Rams fired Carthon three weeks before the draft.

According to the 49ers, Carthon’s role will consist of managing “the coordination and day-to-day operations of the pro personnel department, including assistance with the coordination of free agency, the evaluation of the unrestricted free agent market and oversight of the evaluations of NFL players.”

He will be asked to provide input into all personnel decisions when the addition of veteran free agents is considered. He will also provide input into personnel decisions concerning the team’s acquisition of veteran talent through free agency, trades and the waiver system. Carthon will also oversee the scouting reports for upcoming opponents to help prepare the coaching staff prepare its game plan.

Lynch hired two key members of the personnel department immediately following his appointment to the position. He hired former Denver Broncos executive Adam Peters as vice president of player personnel and former Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew as senior personnel executive.

Carthon, 36, had a brief NFL career with the Indianapolis Colts as a running back. He also spent time with Green Bay,  Seattle and Detroit.

His father, Maurice Carthon, played eight seasons in the NFL as a running back with the New York Giants and Indianapolis.