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

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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."

49ers assistant GM Gamble leaving organization

49ers assistant GM Gamble leaving organization

The San Francisco 49ers Wednesday announced that Tom Gamble is leaving the organization. 

“The 49ers organization has tremendous respect and appreciation for Tom Gamble and his many years of service,” said General Manager John Lynch. “He is a class act who has helped a great deal in this transition, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him. After working together over the last month, Tom and I agreed that it would be in both of our best interests for him to pursue other opportunities. Tom is a true professional and we wish him and his family great success in the future.”
 
“I must thank Jed, the York family and the entire 49ers organization for the wonderful memories they provided me and my family, but it is time I move on,” said Gamble. “This past month, I have had the pleasure of working alongside John Lynch and the talented staff he has assembled. The team is in capable hands and I wish them nothing but the best.”

Gamble, who recently completed his 29th NFL season and 10th with the 49ers, returned to the team in January of 2015 as the senior personnel executive and was later named assistant general manager on July 25, 2016. He spent the 2013-14 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles as vice president of player personnel. Gamble originally joined the 49ers in 2005 and spanned eight seasons with San Francisco including two as the director of player personnel (2011-12). He oversaw both the college and pro personnel efforts of the 49ers. As the 49ers director of pro personnel from 2005-10, Gamble monitored every NFL roster with an emphasis on scouting talent of upcoming pro free agents, while also maintaining continuous depth of personnel on the team’s roster.

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Lynch, Shanahan hold 'positive' discussion with Kaepernick

Lynch, Shanahan hold 'positive' discussion with Kaepernick

General manager John Lynch confirmed during a radio interview that he and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan met with quarterback Colin Kaepernick at his office Wednesday morning at the team headquarters in Santa Clara.

“I would characterize it as just a really positive discussion,” Lynch said during an appearance on KNBR, confirming a CSNBayArea.com report the sides met for the first time since Lynch and Shanahan were hired in their new roles.

Lynch said he and Shanahan have committed to being completely honest with Kaepernick, who can opt out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent as early as next week.

Lynch did not divulge the topics of conversation. He said a commitment was also made to Kaepernick to not speak publicly about the specifics of their conversations.

“I do think that there are some things that are sacred,” Lynch said. “We did have a great discussion and I think Colin left excited and we left excited.

“And I think as Kyle and I believe, the evaluation process is still very much fluid. We’ve only been on the job a couple of weeks and I can tell you we both very much enjoyed being around Colin, and he seems like he’s in a real good place.”